Venus Zine, a Chicago-based magazine dedicated to covering everything indie, grrrl and feminist for the last decade, has been sold to the 47-year-old Ms. Beardsley who believes that feminism or the “f word” as the new publisher refers to it, is “old-fashioned” (as reported in the Chicago Reader: http://www.chicagoreader.com/gyrobase/venus-magazine-amy-schroeder-sarah-beardsley/Content?oid=1570058&storyPage=1.)
From a grass-roots zine paid for by the young creator Amy Schroeder’s side jobs to the next “Oprah magazine for hipster ladies” as one loyal reader refered to the new Venus design, it seems Venus magazine like the third wave of feminism is headed for the mediocore town of mainstream consumerism.
Quoted from the Chicago Reader article about the “new” Venus, Ms. Bardsley has this to say about that dreadful “f word.”
“That’s such a word fraught with interpretation and meaning,” she said. “We don’t use that particular F word around here. It just doesn’t seem relevant.” She called feminism “an old-fashioned concept” and explained that “it doesn’t enter into our discussions about what we’re going to cover and what have you.” She said, “We’re much more into discovering trends, talent, whatever they are, and they can come in all shapes, sizes, genders, and forms.”
Or she is discovering that you can’t sell feminism but you sure can sell American Apparell to any quasi-hipster girl who wants to be “different.” (For proof of this thought just see the zine’s new website: http://www.venuszine.com)
And what does the creator have to say about all this change headed for her zine?
“That’s the unfortunate thing about feminism,” she said. “People are scared of the F word. I think when a lot of people nowadays think of feminism they think of sort of the 1970s version of feminist women burning bras and being very intense and setting up lots of rules and structures. I have a great deal of respect for all the feminism movements. It was a very strong political movement and a lot of good came out of it and it took years and years for that good to occur. But I don’t know that people make a direct correlation between that and their doing feminist things—like working.” She laughed. “And getting an education. Today more women are getting educations than their male counterparts…In my time at Venus, my goal was to make feminism acceptable. When there’s a day when women get the recognition they deserve in the arts that will be a wonderful day and maybe Venus will no longer need to exist. But until then Venus does need to exist.”
Unfortunetly for young women in Chicago, the feminism they crave from Venus is being replaced by mainstream, socially acceptable, hipster-ridden version of “female power” Beardsley is selling.
And for this 24-year-old FEMINIST writer, feminism is not “old-fashioned” ; it is not out of date and it is not mainstream. Unfortunetly for feminists everywhere it is also not marketable nor cool enough to be seen in skinny jeans. For those feminists of us who don’t want to wear anything spandex from American Apparell that costs $45.95, I guess you are just out of luck for this wave. Maybe the fourth wave will be more forgiving with its fashion trends.