This letter accompanies our second issue. Subscribe here to get a free copy.
In the spring of 2012, we “established” Bluestockings Magazine. Yet, established is too stable a word—we never mounted a stable monolith. Instead, our process was one of unearthing problems and envisioning possibilities within our work. We were not establishing; we were building. As we present our sophomore effort, we are incredibly proud of our content and grateful for the support we continue to receive. Yet, we also are aware of the challenges inherent in this project.
For one, as a magazine, we are continually contending with the stigma attached to the history of feminism. Like many movements, feminism has a history of excluding and othering. With each wave of feminism, spaces are created that legitimize and empower certain identities while excluding and negating others. This stigma has created access points to this conversation for some, and created barriers for others. As a result we have resolved to approach our work with anti-oppression and anti-discrimination frameworks in mind.
We may call ourselves “Brown’s feminist magazine” but we are not the only space on campus that facilitates gender-aware, anti-oppression discourse. People are “doing” and “living” feminism everywhere in our community. Yet we have found ourselves in the predicament this semester that we have not always intersected with other groups, and, more disconcertingly, that we have unwittingly installed new hierarchies that we did not anticipate.
This spring, the issue of inclusivity has been most salient in our editorial discussions and descisions. We felt inclusivity was essential not only to the community we formed within and beyond Brown’s campus, but also essential to the way in which we organize, edit, and solicit content. We did not want to privilege one voice, one genre, one topic, or one form of writing. This was incredibly enriching for us as editors; by opening up our submissions to include all forms of writing, we received an incredible breadth of works.
We believe feminism must be informed by the problems that intersectionality and inclusivity pose to its practice. To do so, we must realize that we cannot always prioritize feminism in our activist efforts, even while we continually wrangle with it. As feminists, we must forge coalitions between activist groups on and beyond campus and learn to stand in solidarity with the communities we write and think about. We have seen that, far too often, knowledge is power. This creates discourses that can drive power and paradigm shifts at the individual, community, and systemic level.
We acknowledge that we have not always succeeded in our feminism. But as we write in our mission statement, we believe in trying to navigate not what feminism is but what feminism can be. The time and space between what “is” and what “can be” is tenuous. We ask for leeway—for more room to grow. We hope Bluestockings continues on a road filled with more people, experiences, and perspectives. Please join us. This space has always belonged to you.
We thank you.
The Editors of Bluestockings Magazine
Image by Sally Katz. Copyright.