Verge – aka Vagina Magazine – is a new British feminist culture magazine published out of London. Having investigated magazine publishing in the past, I know how difficult it is to even get started; and that’s what makes this first issue so impressive.
An A5 size with a fabulous cover photo of a woman made up to look like Rosie the Riveter, it certainly looks the part. The whole magazine is glossy, inside and out, and follows the established magazine format: contents page, editor’s letter, blurb about the contributors, main articles, interviews, reviews, and even fiction. This all makes it look really professional.
How editor Yepoka Yeebo managed to fund the publishing of a 44-page glossy magazine with no adverts and with a cover price of only £2.50, I have no idea – but I think she deserves a round of applause or possibly a medal.
The magazine’s team have served up a variety of features on topics including international women’s politics, the lad mag debate, airbrushing in magazines, the Home Office consent campaign, women’s equality, anti-abortion tactics, women in rock, and an interview with a lesbian pornographer, as well as reviews and news about upcoming events and a visit to London’s Sh! to shop for dildos. The style of the mag takes influences from popular feminist mags from across the pond such as Bust, Bitch and Ms.
All in all, its a really promising first effort and it deserves to continue further. Whilst the name Vagina Magazine got a mixed reception amongst some feminists, perhaps the mainstreaming of The Vagina Monologues means that this won’t be as off-putting to some feminist-shy women as some might think. And the shortened Verge is quite a cool name anyway.
With even long-standing established feminist magazines such as Bitch and Off Our Backs existing on a shoe-string and regularly calling for readers’ donations, it’s even more important that we support small publishers like this, produced soley by volunteers. In other words: get your copy now – make sure it sells out and help ensure there’ll be a second issue!
Catherine Redfern is editor of The F Word. She can’t simply bear to throw away her old copies of Frank and Nova.