Feminist publishing is about to lose another good one. Bitch Media has announced that its “quarter-century of legacy of shaping contemporary feminism through provocative dialogue” is coming to a close. Bring out the booze because we could really use a drink right now.
Bitch Media made the heartbreaking announcement today, April 13. “Since 1996, we have provided nuanced, thoughtful, and resonant media criticism and have never wavered from our original mission to look at popular culture through a feminist lens—and encourage others to do the same,” wrote the non-profit organization. “It is with very heavy hearts that we tell you that Bitch Media will cease all operations in June, 2022.”
The closing of Bitch Media follows a series of independent publication shutdowns and women’s magazines going exclusively digital. In 2020, for example, the website formerly known as Man Repeller bid us goodbye. But with over 25 years of analytical-yet-witty, sharp-yet-sympathetic writing in its bag, Bitch’s prominence as a feminist voice that relied solely on subscriber support inspired many publishers.
Founded by Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler, Bitch started as a hand-stapled zine made by two friends and would evolve into an independent media organization. Its growth is proof enough of how its staff and readers treasured it as a transformative space that went against the mainstream and celebrated feminist culture-makers. In the age of media conglomerates and fake news, Bitch’s closing sucks even more.
Among the many writers who are mourning Bitch and contextualizing its importance in the feminist media landscape is Autostraddle co-founder and CEO Riese Bernard. “Bitch’s work has undoubtedly shaped later debuts like Jezebel, Feministing and Teen Vogue. When they began publishing, nobody was doing this kind of work. If you wanted to read a feminist response to pop culture, the best place to find that was in a Sociology of Gender course pack, chock-full of academic articles about TV shows from the 1960s,” Bernard writes.
The name says it all. Bitch reappropriated a misogynistic term and encouraged so many women to speak out through its print magazine, website, podcasts, and writing fellowships, as well as on campuses. Let’s all raise a toast and say, “Thanks, Bitch.”