Missfits Because the future is female
Letter from The
EDITORS “Wow.” How surreal. As I write this, I am putting the finishing touches on this issue. Only a few months ago, I was brainstorming with my best friend and co-editor, Courtney King, on how amazing it would be to start our own feminist fashion magazine. After listlessly turning pages of mainstream fashion rags, we decided it was time for a change—one we had to manifest ourselves. The majority of publications offered to young women today are mindless, cliché trend catalogs. The only intellectual stimulating or political articles are on eating disorders and the terrible affect that the fashion industry has on young girls through emaciated models (and, then, followed by pages of editorials with the use of just those). We wanted rejuvenation. Allow me to introduce us. My name is Maddie Maschger. I am a sixteen year old student and freelance writer, artist, and fashion photographer. My co-editor, Courtney King, is also a writer and aspiring fashion stylist. To those of you who are uninformed: This is what a feminist looks like. Together, we have created a publication that combines not only feminism, but fashion. Not only politics, but poetry. Art, photography, writing. You name it. Missfits Magazine is an open collaboration. We are written for women, by women. Anyone may submit their expression by emailing email@example.com. We are the alternative. We serve as a place for not only trends, but empowerment. Each quarterly issue will be packed full of politics, current events, world affairs, photoshoots, music, art, fashion, etc! We are here to destroy the stereotypes. The word “feminism” has developed a multitude of connotations throughout the years; some being very positive, and some extremely negative. One of my favorite quotes of all time captures our essence perfectly—feminism is the radical belief that women are people. Who says we can’t wear dresses and don red lipstick with style? Who says we can’t attend protests, poetry readings, and marches? Who says we hate men? Who says we’re anti-sex? Anti-marriage? What we’re missing is a key generation. We’re missing a generation of riot grrrls. And that is precisely what Missfits Magazine is here to fix. Revolution grrrl style now. Peace out, girl scout,
Maddie Maschger & Courtney King 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS Reader Outfits……………………………………………………………...Page 4 Esteem: A Piece on Self Image……………………………………………...Page 5 Ask Rosie……………………………………………………………………Page 6 More Than Quiet, Yet Not So Riot Grrrl…………………………………...Page 7 Queens of Noise: An Editorial………………………………........………...Page 8 The Women are Coming! The Women are Coming! …………………………….Page 12 Photos by Lauren Poor……………………………………………………..Page 13 Ladylike: A Poem…………………………………………………………….Page 20 Mirror, Mirror………………………………………………………………Page 21 An Interview with St Mannequins………………………………………….Page 22 Examining Femininity……………………………………………………..Page 26 Blaming Women for the Obesity Epidemic………………………………….Page 27
Why “”Missfits ”? After a long and difficult search for the perfect name, (as well as several unfortunate suggestions that happened to share names with indecent adult publications), Maddie decided to hold a contest on her blog for whomever could concoct the best title. Linda of Lost in Switzerland entered with several snappy names, but the winner was clear, and Missfits was born. Missfits represents the struggle of conforming to society, and how strenuous being a young woman can truly be. This is for the girls who don’t quite fit in. Visit Linda at linda-lostinswitzerland.blogspot.com
“We are the nonconformists. We are the riot grrrls. We are the Missfits: Because the Future is Female.” 3
Hello, dear readers! Welcome to Reader Outfits. Each issue, we will be showcasing a sample of our readers' fabulous individual styles. It can be a daily outfit, something formal, or something creative that really only defines you. Would you like to have your photo up next issue? Each image will have a brief comment about the person and something about their style that we noticed.
Guidelines! • •
Give your name or alias If you own a website or blog that you think is relevant to our magazine, give your link! (Accounts like MySpace, Facebook and LJ do not count)
Share one clear, well-lit photo of your outfit. It needs to be properly cropped with you as the focus. If you want your identity protected, we can hide your face, but we'd prefer to receive pre-edited photos or unedited photos you don't mind sharing with other readers. We prefer images that follow this rough format (some variation is fine, just nothing extravagant): Width: about 250 pixels Height: about 500 pixels Format: Portrait (i.e. vertical).
We are sensitive with the information that you provide, and will not share anything without your permission. There will be a selection process, but if you follow our guidelines, you have a very good chance of getting your photo posted!
Mina To send your photos into Missfits, simply e-mail them to: firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: Reader Outfits!
Esteem Article by Courtney King
You can do so much better than this. Than this fear, this self hate. You can love..see how you love others? That unconditional love? Why can't we find this when we see ourselves in the mirror? Why can't we look at our bodies and just say, "Damn I look good"? Why are we scared of our voices? Of our makeup smearing? Of our clothes not being 'good enough.’ Who makes these rules? I say that mascara is made to run and self style is the only kind of style. That we should smash our mirrors and burn our magazines. I think we should live as one. Everyone. The whole planet and beyond. We can all do so much better than we give ourselves credit for. When you see your friends, your family, anyone with value to you; what do you feel? Love? Unconditional love? Now, when you see yourself in the mirror, when you look through a million Facebook photos from last night, when you turn on your webcam; what do you feel? What do you see? Do you feel that unconditional love for yourself? Do you see yourself and see only good qualities? The majority of us girls would say that we do not see this at all, but the opposite. If we are so capable of loving so many people, then what changes that as soon as that person becomes our self? What is so hard to love? When I see people at school, at the grocery store, or anywhere really; I do not look at them with nearly as much scrutiny as I do when I look at myself. I am too harsh on myself. Today, I am going to promise myself something—something that I hope will change my life and my attitude forever. Today, I will not be afraid to hear my own voice. I will accept my body, my hair, my skin, my face. All of it. If I look in the mirror and think something negative, I’ll smash the mirror and walk away. Today I'm going to make this change. And tomorrow? There is a revolution for all the young women out there who chose to join with me. Hold on tight, because I'm not letting go until the very end. By the time I'm through, the world will be one.
ASK ROSIE Salutations! My name is Rosie. I’m a girl with a passion for listening and providing advice and support for those that need it. As a recovered anorexic, I too know what it’s like to suffer and hurt. But through my treatment, I have been reborn. I feel alive again, and I have experienced what it’s like to live again. And trust me, it’s the most beautiful thing anyone could ask for. So, I encourage you to confide in me and share any problems, drama, or secrets that you would like my help with. I understand how it’s difficult to go and talk to those you know and that’s why I’m here: to help and provide an alternative to those troubled souls who don’t know who to go to. You can talk about anything, whether it pertain to your life, a friend, family, school, etc. I want you to know what it’s like to experience the freedom of that untold, hidden pain. Don’t be shy, your secrets are safe with me. Love,
Rosie To submit questions that will be published anonymously, email missfitsmag.com, subject: Ask Rosie!
MORE THAN QUIET YET NOT SO RIOT GRRRL. Piece by Emily Freyer Spliedt I want to be revolutionary, but I am very bad at it. I am attempting vegetarianism for the second time in my life (two weeks in). The first time was a short stint the summer of eighth grade, which lasted until I went to summer camp. This time, it's not so hard. Still, I feel like a fake and a phony. Although I truly do love those fake chicken nuggets. I will never make a good revolutionist because food is a rather uninspired interest to waste time with. I don't listen to obscure unknown music. Mainly because I have a bad internet connection and cannot download anything. Partly because I believe that music snobs are the worst kind of people and I aspire never to become one. Partly because I am clueless about it, being the most musically untalented person you will ever meet. I can make chopsticks sound awful. I will never play the guitar. I cannot be revolutionary because I have no inspired thoughts and if I do, they are lost almost as soon as they appear. I depend too much on my jobs, to make sure I go back to school, to make sure I can buy myself low fat yogurt and movie rentals, to fill my gas tank on the old clunker so I can go back to work. I cannot be revolutionary because everything I create is full of holes, like all my half-finished knitting projects. Like these zines that I doubt and doubt, but people read. I wonder how many copies last & why I keep producing them. Why I bother writing where there are a million other people who will get their dreams before me. And it seems unfair, but very, very fair at the exact same time. I cannot be revolutionary because although I am female, I sadly know little about grrrl power or feminism. It's not necessarily the first thing us Midwestern girls are taught. Still, this becomes a mere excuse, because I'm sure many do know lots on the subject. I cannot become revolutionary because although I shop at thrift stores, my look is never very eclectic. The boys I fall in love with are not the earthy granola type very often at all. I have never been to detention. I have never watched Daria. I have never picketed or protested anything. I'm too young to vote. I have never done anything to change the world. I have never owned Chucks. I will never be revolutionary because my vapid brain has no obvious concept of what being one would entail. and for that, I am sad.
An editorial by Cassidy Scanlon
“Being a riot grrrl means being fearless, or simply not caring, about people’s judgments. It means creating noise and chaos about female rights and fighting for what you believe it. It means wearing leather jackets with baby doll dresses, lots of eyeliner, sequins, and black lipstick. It’s within every woman and girl. It’s an alter-eco that allows females to voice their thoughts, expresses their anger and frustration, and look good while doing it. We need to a new generation of riot grrrls.” 10
THE WOMEN ARE COMING! THE WOMEN ARE COMING! Article by Cara Fogel “Sometimes the best man for the job isn’t.” Right on! Who says women aren’t as strong, or worthy, as men? Who says we should be paid less for the exact same job? Who says women cannot lead an empire? Feminism in the arts is doing just that – creating an empire of creativity! Women taking part is not only important for individual self expression, but benefits a whole society. In the mid 1990s, a whopping 61% of the Top 20 consisted of women artists! Isn’t it amazing how we, as women, once started off with a ‘softer’ voice? Not only are women and the arts inspirational themselves, but together they are bigger than anything imaginable! They can no just move one person, but the whole world. It’s a chain reaction – a fashion designer may inspire a song writer to write something amazing. That same song writer may inspire a poet to create one of the most beautiful poems of all time. Then, hearing that poem, a painter may be so inspired, that it gives her a great career! There are 3,428, 196, 000 women in the entire world, imagine all the possibilities for motivation! Imagine all the little girls and teenagers looking up at the world’s most creative – and successful – women! Imagine how when they grow, they will affect the next generation. It goes on! Inspiration can move a whole generation. Just look at Sarah McLachlan! She, with the help of a few important friends, created the Lilith Fair. The Lilith fair is a music festival that celebrates women. Female artists travel all across the country, performing and raising awareness for certain key issues and campaigns. It began in the summer of 1997, and lasted through the summer of 1999, and was recently revived for the first time in ten years over this past summer. So celebrate! Let’s jump for joy at all the things women have achieved. Let’s dance around and throw a party for all the poets, authors, musicians, dancers; let’s appreciate. Nothing can stop us. Martina Navratilova once said, “I think the key is for women to not set any limit.” Don’t be afraid to show who you are, or stick up for what you believe in! The most important thing you can get out of life is not to care what anybody thinks. Do not let someone tell you what you can and cannot do, just because you are female. Do not let anyone bring you down—whatever you want to do, do it! Make art, sing songs, dance on stage, be inspired, but most importantly, follow your dreams. Think about Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony. Think about Sarah McLachlan, or even Beyonce! Just continue to be inspired, and then you can keep the empire of creativity – and the chain reaction – going!
Photos by Lauren Poor 13
LADYLIKE A poem by Fatima thenewfilo.tumblr.com
They said I should watch what I say because my words aren’t lady like. They said I shouldn’t defend myself because ladies don’t fight. Then they said I should watch what I wear because my clothes are enticing and my short skirt and low-cut shirt and high heels are inviting. They said I should watch what I eat because I must look a certain way And that I should sit up straight at all times as if I were a mannequin on display They said I shouldn’t be flirtatious because I’ll come off as a slut So I changed who I was then I stopped for a minute and thought, ”Wait…what?” So I have to change who I am because of how you think I should be? But… how I dress is no invitation for anyone to put their hands on me This is my body, I will dress how I please You want to justify your perverted mind by putting the blame on me You want to tell me how to act because you fear the woman in me And even if you sleep with more people than I ever have I’m the slut because I’m amazing in bed, your failed logic makes me laugh And when I confront you of how f***ed up the way you think is You try to change the subject to the beauty of my eyes, the softness of my lips Thinking a few empty compliments will make me forget Like changing the subject to something meaningless will make me forgive Like within seconds I can forget about the hardships of women and how we have to live It starts by being told not to curse or flirt Then it leads to being told you deserved to be rape because the length of your skirt Nobody tells a man to be more “gentlemen” like Even if he curses or gets in a fight So the next time I hear someone to tell me to be more lady like I’ll tell them “Go F*** Yourself” because this is my life.
Mirror, Mirror by Gemma Correll
22 Photos by Sarah Cass
ST MANNEQUINS Missfits sits down with folksy duo Melaena Cadiz and Donna Baxter. Article by Maddie Maschger.
When one visits the myspace page of girl band St. Mannequins, they are immediately flooded with optimistic music & adorable photographs, together seeming to radiate a strong never grow up aesthetic. With such a carefree vibe, it’s hard not to fall in love with the gentle humming of Melaena Cadiz and Donna Baxter. The two girls currently reside in Brooklyn, New York, recording their own music & sharing each song with the world. Their sound is self described as, “like frosting on a cake,” & the shoe fits perfectly. St Mannequins sound a bit like a cross between folk band The Ditty Bops and Australian singer Lisa Mitchell. The band formed in February of 2007 after discovering their shared love of “crossword puzzles, kite flying, fireworks, poofy dresses, ferris wheels, and country music.” Such inspirations drift through the imaginations of every listener through their unique sound & harmonic singing.
The two met while working at a dress boutique in West Village, and the band was actually started by a misunderstanding. “[We] took a photo one day that looked like a band photo, and told everyone we were a band,” says Donna, “Then Melaena’s cousin booked us for a show, not knowing we had absolutely no songs. We wrote four songs in three days for the show and continued from there!” The name was cultivated after a promotion photo shoot done in the store windows with all of the mannequins, and as they signed up for myspace, they realized their original idea of Store Window Mannequins was too lengthy—thus, “St. Mannequins” was born! 23
"Its okay sometimes to just focus on the fact that you are a person and you should always do right for yourself and the people around you."
The girls realized they were in for more than one gig—after that first show, they never turned back. “We realized [that] working together was 'anything goes,' and a place to be constantly creative. We were able to bring all our crazy ideas to life, & even though were really crazy, people understood them and that was really amazing.” So far, the band has gotten nothing but support. “Donna was in a band for a long time that toured with a bunch of hardcore and punk bands, and [they were] very often the only ladies playing at show. But there was so much support for women to be playing, even in that scene. There were some men who had a problem with it, but the majority backed them. It’s really nice to be surrounded by all different types of ladies at all of our shows.” Melaena & Donna list Dolly Parton, Bonnie Rait, Emmylou Harris, and of course, Jenny Lewis, among their musical inspirations. The silly, twee vibes of their songs create a certain aesthetic—one that’s hard to put your finger on. It’s a mixture of birthday cake, kitten whiskers, and being a kid. The girls are currently working on a children’s album and book; a combo package of sorts. The illustrations are being done by Jenna Mallett, (jennamallett.com), a close friend. Aside from creating music and sharing their work, they hope to accomplish the simple task of showing people it’s okay to be a little bit whacky. Their advice for young women trying to break into the industry is simple; never try to be anything you’re not, believe in your vision, and play your heart out at every show. “One of the best compliments we ever got was when a few people told us that seeing us play, they believed it was sincere because we were having so much fun.” A vibe not difficult to pick up on—when scrolling through their Myspace pictures of polaroids, photobooths, and eclectic set-ups, it becomes increasingly obvious that Melaena and Donna are in
this for more than the music. Their affection for each other is 100% sincere. This sort of sisterhood is extremely important to them—creative women coming together and using their craft as an outlet. “Women are supporting each other in lots of things, like baking, sewing, writing, music, and fashion, which were left out for awhile there.” When asked to define modern feminism, they were slow to answer, choosing their words & definitions carefully. “It’s interesting because there are so many different ways you can think of ‘feminism,’ and some are not so good. We really [feel] that you can still be a feminist and dress girly, and do a lot of things that might have before been the 'traditional role' and the generations before us rejected a lot of that and almost made it seem like it wasn’t okay to do those things if you were a feminist. But really, the first thing about being a feminist is having your own ideas of what that means to you and you make it your own, and then act on it. At the same time, sometimes it can be counterproductive to focus on the fact that you are a woman in society; it’s okay sometimes to just focus on the fact that you are a person and you should always do right for yourself and the
people around you.” They put it precisely how Missfits aspires to do so-- Second wave feminism seemed to portray the idea that femininity was the enemy. But women today are embracing their girly elements and at the same time, creating a community of creative, intelligent, like minded women who care about society. As far as building confidence, “Really believe in yourself—surround yourself with positive people that believe in you. It’s cool if your ideas are a little weird—that’s what makes you special.” Final words of advice? “Whatever you are doing, have fun!”
You can find the music of St Mannequins at myspace.com/stmannequins.
Examining femininity By Mina Armanini
Perhaps you dive into sociological and gender studies; you might feel cynical and lost regarding the concept of an expression of one's gender. You might question why you like things that are "stereotypically female" and "patriarchal gender roles pre-conditioned since infancy". In contrast, you have trouble identifying with "girly". It's not that you aren't a woman, it's just that you have never really embraced the feeling of being, well, womanly. You may even have some traits about you that are normally considered feminine, however, it does not resonate with you in that way. Perhaps you're in the middle. You've done research and you've struggled with feeling womanly from the get-go. Maybe you don't know where to start and you're unsure if you should start to explore your feminine identity. Let's briefly examine femininity. Historically, femininity in many past cultures tied in with submissive and proper social behaviors. It had identity in its own right, but the strings attached caused enough problems, such as extreme standards of beauty, stringent etiquette, and quality of mothering skills. In the US as of now (where your writer hails from), cultural conceptions of femininity have leftovers from these past cultures and ideologies. Usually, mainstream femininity is fragmented, mate-oriented, and media-saturated Fashion, body-image, and sex appeal dominate and portray a shallow image of the depth of what femininity can mean. Pick up any regular woman's magazine and you'll find: sex tips, beauty "secrets", fashion do's and don'ts, gossip, etc. With this particular concept of femininity, intelligence, creativity, or individuality is stifled for something that defines about half of the species. These magazines don't promote self-love or self-reliance. Even with all of this negative stigma, there is a bright side. Realistically, every culture has both damaging and positive views on femininity. Society has changed slowly to help fit what defines the modern woman. A modern woman can be feminine and sexually active with multiple partners. A modern woman can be the head of a company and still be feminine. Most activities are gender neutral. Times are changing, and that means femininity has become very personal. We can shape our gender identity however we want. Reclaim femininity Reclaiming femininity for yourself seems silly, but it's very important. You aren't doing it for anyone else but yourself. You aren't following anyone else's definition (save for "what makes you feel womanly") of feminine, you aren't worrying about society's interpretation of your view of femininity (Say it with me now: "Screw Society exceptforwhenIpaytaxes"). You are simply expanding on things that you are interested in and see how it makes you feel. For some women, it will be through art. For others, it may be skydiving. For me, it was belly dancing. I had the hardest time connecting with others of my gender (and I still do at times, honestly), but in a supportive, all-female environment that celebrates womanhood? It was that experience that helped me start to feel like the young woman I am. Find what you do that helps you embrace yourself as a woman. It will be feminine but unique to you.
Blaming Women for the
Obesity Epidemic By Luinae McAnish
Blaming women is the easy way out of almost any politically problematic or controversial political situation. Because women’s roles have changed so dramatically in the last sixty years, it’s easy to point the finger at women. It’s easy to say that the negative (and only the negative, never the positive) changes that our society has experienced in the last sixty years are because the role of women in society has changed. Sometimes it’s subtle, like blaming women for the obesity epidemic that is sweeping America. And it is subtle- very few people will outright come and say that feminism is the reason for American’s obesity epidemic. But it’s so clearly insinuated that you can’t help but notice. And as a feminist, I can’t help but wonder why no one is making more of a fuss about it. Surely by now, you, and your grandmother have heard about the obesity epidemic. Fast food restaurants, processed food, super servings, and less home cooked meals. The last one? Somehow, I don’t think that the people talking about cooking meals at home are talking about men all of a sudden deciding that they should cook wholesome meals every night. The insinuation is obvious. Who do you think was cooking those home cooked meals before? Women were. Why? Because the majority of them, especially in the fifties, were housewives and homemakers. Of course, I don’t mean to say that being a homemaker is bad. My own mother doesn’t have a job outside of the home. Then came the sixties, and a feminist revolution. After that, there was the eighties, when the first major peak in childhood obesity happened. At the exact same time that the number of women in the workforce went up. The average American family eats out four times a week, which is a huge step up from the women-athome times of the fifties. It’s been proven that eating home cooked meals are generally more healthy, not to mention less additive and preservatives, as well as far better portion control. If you do any reading on ways to stop childhood obesity, suggesting that families cook meals at home is often a top suggestion. So the basic ideology is this: Women going to work = less home cooked meals = more obese children. This ideology is not only sexist, it’s ridiculous. In a heterosexual couple, if the woman has a job and the man is staying home with the kids, there is absolutely no reason that there should be less home cooked meals. If both parents are working full time jobs, it is highly likely that the family needs both parents to work those jobs so they can have enough money. In that case, how is it fair to blame women for cooking less meals at home? Why aren’t we blaming men as well? Why aren’t men stepping up and also contributing to home cooked meals? These gender roles make no sense. The insinuated (and occasionally broadcasted) opinion that the rate of women working is correlated to childhood obesity is ridiculous. But of course, blaming women is the easy way out. Because if we blame the companies for cutting corners on all of their products and we decide we want more regulations, we’re socialist. Because if we blame the media for supporting traditional gender roles, we’re conspiracy theorists. Because if we blame advertisers for bombarding us with messages, day in and day out from the time we’re three years old, we aren’t strong enough to make our own decisions. Blaming women is easy, and despite the fact that we are in the 21st century, there isn’t a lot of protest. Saying that the “good old days” where we had home cooked meals is like some twisted gender role sitcom, where the man works because he’s responsible, and the woman works because she’s selfish and doesn’t care for her children. It is 100% understandable that people are worried about the fact that America is getting more and more obese. It is also 100% understandable that people want to know where are food is coming from, and whether it is good for us. But if is completely, 100% ridiculous to put the onus on women to provide healthy food. Both women and men should be providing healthy food. The questions (and the answers) surrounding American’s obesity epidemic have nothing to do with feminism or gender, but rather with social, economic, and class issues.
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Published on Nov 30, 2010
We are the alternative; We are a feminist fashion magazine that focuses not only on haute couture, but empowerment. We are an open collabora...