Issue 2.3

Editor’s Letter

Me and Curtis Sittenfeld. Photo by Matt Carlson. I loved playing with Barbies when I was a kid. Because it was the seventies and my mom subscribed to Ms., I was as familiar with the feminist critique of beauty standards, “girls” toys, and mandatory high heels as I was with Malibu Barbie’s intriguing tan lines. But by the backlash eighties I had a tight perm and an aching sense that feminism was history, literally. Or

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Poetry Comment

I’ve been reading and loving Marilyn Hacker’s poetry ever since her first book, Presentation Piece (1974), which means just about my entire adult life. I can’t think of another poet who combines so many opposites: she’s a swashbuckling formalist, a love poet who’s obsessed with politics, a Francophile (she’s lived in Paris for many years) whose continuous self-making is quintessentially American. Whether she’s writing about lesbian love or croissants in the shop down the block or

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Missionaries: Sex in the Nineties Was Crazy, Right?

Priscilla & Elvis Herselvis, San Francisco, 1991. Photo by Phyllis Christopher. AT AGE TWENTY, estranged from my family back in Boston, I ran away to the desert with Kym, my opinionated and authoritative girlfriend who, being like five years older, seemed to know how to live. Kym, like me, had recently gone gay with gusto. I would follow her anywhere: Provincetown, Tucson, back to Provincetown, then back to Tucson, where I flipped a coin to

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Joyful Girls: Listening to Ani DiFranco Alone

Ani DiFranco at the University of Hartford, 1996. Photo by Susan Alzner. IN 2003, I WAS the only twelve-year-old in northern Illinois bedroom-dancing to Little Plastic Castle. I would put money on that. That album, released in 1998 and re-released this summer in its 25th anniversary edition, was perhaps the peak of Ani’s DiFranco’s mainstream fame. The song “Glass House” was nominated for a Grammy (ironic, given the song’s conceit: “trapped in my glass house

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In Harmony: On ‘It’s Only Life After All,’ Directed by Alexandria Bombach

Emily Saliers and Amy Ray c. 1990. Photo by Michael Lavine. ONE OF THE most powerful revelations in Alexandria Bombach’s new documentary about the multiplatinum, still-touring-and-recording Indigo Girls is the fact that Amy Ray and Emily Saliers met when they were twelve years old. I fucking knew it! I screamed at the screen. I didn’t know it in the wikipedia sense of knowing, but more so knew it in my bones. I didn’t go to

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Rock-a-bye

The original 2001 “Rockin’ Road Map,” a guide for campers, volunteers, and parents, created by Misty McElroy. BETWEEN COVID AND kids, parties had fallen off my must-do list. It was an exotic feat that I, en famille, managed to travel across town this past Christmas Eve to a Hanukkah party where, noshing on smoked fish and sugar cookies, I learned that the original Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls was kaput. I was shocked. Misty

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‘Comedy Is Not Pretty’: Q & A with Curtis Sittenfeld

AS A TWENTY-SOMETHING feminist in the early-nineties recession, I hit the job-jackpot: Ms. magazine. I’d grown up with the magazine. I’d internalized its references to back- alley abortions, men who “just don’t get it,” and workplace discrimination. The fact that nothing we published was by or about feminists of my generation or younger who’d grown up taking women’s rights for granted was, weirdly, not weird to me. One fateful editorial meeting, Barbara Findlen circulated “Your

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Montpeyroux Sonnets IV

October 2021 The sun is out, and Julie’s still in bed at noon, one, three, and still at half-past four. Another bright October day, one more spent walking, writing e-mails, solitude become habitual, there, here. My mood depends on the temperature outdoors, and if the sky is bright or going dour. I take one of two morning walks, once I’ve had mint tea. Coffee, awakening’s elixir, leaves a sour taste in my mouth now, a

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Project Live Through This: A Nineties Op

I met Jimmy and Troy at a Santa Barbara gay bar on a trip back home for my dad’s eyelid surgery. I had been back the month before, too, trying to score a job on the set of my My So-Called Life—the lesbian therapist who seduced me when I was sixteen arranged a meeting with one of the producers—but had returned to New Mexico when I got the call that the show was cancelled. Now

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So Fucking Beautiful

In 1991, a fat teenaged girl with a prosthetic leg named Nomy Lamm wrote and distributed a xeroxed-and-stapled, passport-sized zine called i’m so fucking beautiful. Part manifesto, part personal essay, it offered a nuanced critique of Fat Is a Feminist Issue, the 1978 self-help best-seller that theorized the psychological and political context around women and eating. That book’s glamorous British author, Susie Orbach, the co-founder of the Women’s Therapy Centre, was therapist to none other

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