Yesterday saw the launch of Feminist Times. It has been a long road for the online and print publication. Originally envisaged by editor Charlotte Raven as a revival of Spare Rib magazine, the idea was nixed by Spare Rib founder Marsha Rowe. A name change later and everyone in the feminist sphere, whether supportive or not of the venture, had their mouse poised to click once the site finally went live on launch day.
Speaking to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour on Thursday morning Charlotte said she has begun the new feminist magazine because feminism “feels as if it needs a voice for all the people who aren’t represented in mainstream media.”
Feminism seems to have captured the glossy magazine imagination recently with Red magazine (check out the October issue – we’re in it!) asking the Prime Minister David Cameron if he is a feminist and Elle revealing plans to rebrand feminism. Charlotte is not impressed, however, and hopes that the Feminist Times will be a serious contender for the glossies, “It feels like they’ve co-opted feminism.”
After the interview the site was so overwhelmed with hits that it crashed. The difficult birth of the online site was not without controversy, with an anonymously published piece on forced sterilisation in Taboo Corner causing upset rather than debate. The piece has since been taken down and replaced with the comment “we got it wrong.”
Lynne Parker, founder of Funny Women attended the launch, “Having begun my career in womens magazines in the mid-1970s, so I am a member of the generation of women hugely influenced by the voice and style of publications such as Spare Rib. As a founding member of Feminist Times I am delighted to see it come to life.”
The magazine launch party, or 'restitution ball' was held on Thursday night. There, canapés were served by men in masks depicting Rupert Murdoch, Russell Brand and Jeremy Clarkson. Performance artist Bobby Baker rounded off the evening by recreating Feminist Times with food on a sheet.