Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mag hag: the alternatives

Just before Christmas, I devoted a post to magazine reviews.  As much as I love whiling away the hours reading things online, it's just not the same as holding a magazine in your hand and having something tangible, beyond an internet bookmark, to keep.  But as my reviews showed, I had been feeling dissatisfied with what was on offer in terms of womens mags.  Even though this great post on sung the praises of mainstream media, this time round, I tried to seek out some genuine alternatives.

Oh Comely
Recommended to my by commenter Laura after my last magazine post, it took me a while to track down the independently-published Oh Comely in my local Smiths.  Issue 8 was finally located last weekend - yay!
Coverlines ... well, no traditional coverlines as such, just a blurb announcing, "We wondered how biscuits began, photographed tattoos with stories, confessed our secret crushes, talked about kindness with old and young, and dyed scarves with fennel and onion."
For women who aren't afraid of all things winsome and twee, and who dislike the term 'hipster', but (let's face it) are a little bit hipster themselves.
Wants you to buy a Lomography camera; Tatty Devine's new book How To Make Jewellry. 
Reading it I feel like I want to get another tattoo.  I was worried Oh Comely would leave me feeling like Mollie Makes - stressing about the number of craft projects I want to complete, and depressed that my house and life isn't as lovely as the ones shown - but it really didn't.  One to buy again.

I let my subscription to American feminist mag Bitch lapse a couple of years ago when I bought my house and was cutting out all non-essential expenditure.  A recent 20% off deal led me to renew again, and I'm so glad I did.  Bitch has been struggling to stay afloat over the past few years (a fact which is reflected in somewhat cheaper production values).  But I'm pleased to say that it's as interesting, thought-provoking and brilliant as ever.

There are articles about lifestyle blogs and the competition they can engender between women; a feminist summer school here in the UK (I take back everything I said about it being US-centric in my last post!); the always-amazing San Francisco writer and activist Michelle Tea; how disability activism has been helped and hindered by online communities... SO much great stuff.

Coverlines are short and sweet, not giving too much away: Busting out fatshion; Gunning for women; Michelle Tea.
For women who have any small ounce of feminist or political urge and want to read something amazing.  Can you tell I love it?!
Wants you to buy columnist Lesley Kinzel's new book about fatshion and fat activism, Two Whole Cakes; the latest album by St Vincent.
Reading it I feel excited, informed, politicised... and sorry I stayed away for so long.  Subscribing again is the best $40 I've ever spent: please support them at

The Big Issue
Not a womens magazine, obviously, but still worth a mention.  Since I stopped working in the city I buy it less, and haven't been too impressed with it when I do manage to get it.  However this recent issue (February 27-March 4) was a veritable treasure-chest of interesting articles: secularism vs. religion; community groups regenerating areas in Liverpool and Margate; a great, gossipy interview with Dame Eileen Atkins.
Coverlines... just one: rhetorical question 'The opium of the masses?' alongside a TV screen. 
For women  people who want to support the ideals of the Big Issue, giving homeless people "a hand up not a hand out", while also reading about activism, politics and entertainment.
Wants you to buy tickets for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; rechargable batteries.
Reading it I feel engaged and interested in the issues it raises.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you enjoyed oh comely, bitch sounds good too. And i never buy the big issue as i bought it before years ago and didn't find it that interesting but maybe i should give it another chance!