Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:39 PM
When the women I know belly-up to a bar, they’re more likely to order a pint of beer than a glass of wine or a frilly cocktail. I’m a sucker for Surly’s CynicAle and Fulton’s Sweet Child of Vine, both from the rollicking Minneapolis beer-brewing scene. Still, drinking and brewing beer continue to be viewed as primarily male territory.
As it turns out, this split of the sexes is all wrong, says Bitch magazine’s Celena Cipriaso: Women have brewed beer since Babylonian times and female brewers permeate world folklore. Historian Alan D. Eames reinforces the depths of women’s claims on beer, explaining, “From its very inception some 8,000 years ago, every ancient society’s beer-creation myth tells the same story: The drink was a gift from a female deity to the women of that community.”
Cipriaso laments the loss of women’s roles as brewers and beer lovers. “For many years, women have been relegated to the background of the industry,” she writes, “both as targeted consumers and in terms of their place in beer history.”
But now, beer mugs are getting back into the fists of women. Gallup polls indicate that women account for a quarter of national beer sales, and what Cipriaso calls “female beer advocacy” is growing: Regional craft-beer brewers now include women in their ranks, organizations like the Pink Boots Society promote women’s involvement in the industry, and beer-centric social groups like Girls’ Pint Out keep the culture fun.
A new documentary, The Love of Beer, celebrates the women who are breaking into the Pacific Northwest’s brewing arena. Watch a trailer here and check the website to find out if the film is screening in your city. Cheers!
Sources: Bitch(audio only), The Love of Beer
Image by Ryan Bieber, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011 5:05 PM
Our library contains 1,300 publications—a feast of magazines, journals, alt-weeklies, newsletters, and zines—and every year, we honor the stars in our Utne Independent Press Awards. We’ll announce this year’s winners on Wednesday, May 18 at the
MPA’s Independent Magazine Group conference
in San Francisco. From now until then, we’ll post the nominees in all of the categories on our blogs. Below you’ll find the nominees for the best Social/Cultural Coverage, with a short introduction to each. These magazines are literally what Utne Reader is made of. Though we celebrate the alternative press every day and with each issue, once a year we praise those who have done an especially exceptional job.
The only print magazine dedicated to feminist critiques of pop culture, the exuberant, indestructible Bitch enlists dauntless writers to carry out its mission by combining serious study and a healthy sense of humor. The Portland-based quarterly also showcases indie art, music, film, and literature.
invites “thinking mothers” to share everything—the joys of parenting, the sorrows, the hiccups—in each exquisitely written, sharply edited issue. There’s no sugarcoating here, but neither is there complaining: just reflection and wisdom to spare.
is a magazine about food, but it brings much more to the table—from scholarship on cuisine-related culture, history, and literature to provocative visual imagery. Like the best kind of dinner partner, the magazine is sophisticated and charming, a skilled conversationalist, and always introduces us to something new on the menu.
The editors at Goodbring a fresh eye to a diverse range of weighty subjects—like the rebirth of New Orleans, the reinvention of our neighborhoods, and the renewal of a meaningful workplace—and wrap them all up in a snappy package. Serving a progressive community motivated to move the world forward, this magazine is beyond good.
tagline is “feminisms in motion,” and they whip through the pages of this biannual like an intellectual storm. Each issue hosts bold, one-of-a-kind arguments and creates a lively community of writers, artists, and activists who stretch the boundaries of gender politics.
The editors at Mental_Flossamaze, astonish, and educate with the quirkiest of topics and attention-grabbing headlines to make The Onion envious. (Our favorites: “How Lasers Can Protect You from Pirates” and “Amish Baseball: The Greatest American Pastime”) Masters at the art of magazine making, the irreverent but ever intelligent editors always give us something to talk about.
Striving to change lives and transform communities, Oregon Humanitiesgives us blissfully clear, thoughtful reportage on the things that make us human, including history (ancient and contemporary), literature and language, ethics and philosophy, and various cultural, religious, and folk traditions. No matter its subject, the insightful quarterly challenges us to reconsider the day’s most vital issues.
Some of the things This Magazine was about in 2010: bamboo, Iraqi cartoonists, the Black Panthers, and pirate snobs. With those topics and cover stories ranging from Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan to voting reform, This Magazine finds a way to cover a vast swath of territory intelligently and accessibly.
our complete list of 2011 nominees
Image by Nimbuzz, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 12:05 PM
Whether you like it or not, technology is a boy’s pursuit. Exploiting gender stereotypes, Google portrayed its Droid as a masculine “can-do” smart-phone, in comparison to Apple’s “tiara-wearing, digitally clueless beauty-pageant queen” iPhone. Until recently, most of the video game market was directed towards boys. Also, consider the term for the room of the house with the 8-foot flat-screen plasma television, state-of-the-art hi-def surround sound stereo system, and Energy Star-rated mini-fridge: a “man cave.” Girls are absent from the frontier of technological sophistication.
Professionally, the status quo is shocking. According to Tammy Oler’s article in Bitch:
Efforts to get more girls and women involved in tech are taking on a new sense of urgency these days. According to statistics compiled by the National Center for Women and Information Technology, only 18 percent of all computer science degrees earned in 2008 were earned by women, down from 37 percent in 1985. And while more than half of all professional occupations are held by women, only 25 percent of computing-related professions are—and women are executives at only 11 percent of Fortune 500 technology companies. Additionally, only a very small percentage of women working in technology professions are African-American, Latina, or Asian.
A handful of DIY designers, craft-enthusiasts and fashionistas are trying to literally makeover the appearance of girls in the landscape of technology—by outfitting them with chic, wired clothing and accessories. Oler writes, “‘tech crafting’ may just be the key to getting more women and girls involved in technology.”
Of course, digi-couture is a problematic solution to a cultural conundrum. “While tech crafting and girlcentric offerings may offer welcome alternatives to BattleBot building,” Oler warns, “they do little to ameliorate existing gender stereotypes around technology . . . . The downside of the tech-crafting push is that it risks ascribing women’s interest in technology to the domains of fashion and craft, and may inadvertently support the gender divide at the heart of the problem it seeks to help overcome.”
Similarly, Jeff Severns Guntzel recently wrote about girls’ exclusion from online file-sharing culture.
Image by whiteafrican, licensed under Creative Commons.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 3:56 PM
If you've ever dabbled in the world of BitTorrent file sharing, you know the deal: You find the file you're looking for on some BitTorrent file tracking site and no matter what that file is it is surrounded by naked or half-naked women.
"I just want to file share without being bombarded by naked women and offers to meet ladies in my neighborhood," says Anita Sarkeesian in the latest offering from Bitch magazine's Mad World Virtual Symposium. "I also don't want to download a virtual stripper who takes her clothes off on my desktop!"
Sarkeesian's sharp video commentary makes it plain:
Women are systematically left out of techno-geek culture. It's a boys club that's reinforced socially and culturally ... just look at the fact that less than three percent of open source programmers are women. Or how about the fact that only 13 percent of Wikipedia contributors are women.
Here's the video. It's definately NSFW, which conflicts with my instinct to tell you to hit play now and crank it.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010 2:38 PM
Over at the Bitch blogs, Jessica Yee has a short burst of analysis on the fight over Arizona immigration law. Here's the nugget that caught my attention:
What's been happening in Arizona is horrific on so many levels to so many people and communities – but it has really had me reflecting. When do certain issues get considered "feminist" and when do they not? And when do they require a real feminist response in action?
There have been several excellent female responses to the situation in Arizona by way of intersecting the impacts to women and children, sexuality, and even religion (read all of the amazing stuff the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is posting here), yet so much of the mainstream media we've been hearing is of course way too predictably patriarchal in nature; people making excuses for enacting racist legislation, utilizing fear-based tactics to legitimize white supremacy to "protect" the women and children, etc., etc.
So here I am responding to it and asking you frankly: Does an issue have to have an identified or presenting woman involved to truly be considered feminist? When abortion rights are threatened, we're out in the masses online and offline to protect them repeatedly, blog post after Facebook link, clinic defense after pro-choice club initiation, without question–and we certainly come together on it even if we disagree on tactics.
Image by Fibonacci Blue, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010 1:32 PM
Our library contains 1,300 publications—a feast of magazines, journals, alt-weeklies, newsletters, and zines—and every year, we honor the stars in our Utne Independent Press Awards. We’ll announce this year’s winners on Sunday, April 25 at the MPA’s Independent Magazine Group conference in Washington, D.C. and post them online the following Monday. We’re crazy about these publications, and we’d love it for all of our readers to get to know them better, too. So, every weekday until the conference, we’ll be posting mini-introductions to our complete list of 2010 nominees.
The following eight magazines are our 2010 nominees in the category of social/cultural coverage.
The only print magazine dedicated to feminist critiques of pop culture, the exuberant Bitch enlists dauntless writers to carry out its mission by combining serious study and a healthy sense of humor. The Portland-based quarterly also showcases indie art, music, film, and literature. www.bitchmagazine.org
Brain, Child invites “thinking mothers” to share everything—the joys of parenting, the sorrows, the hiccups—in each exquisitely written, sharply edited issue. There’s no sugarcoating here, but neither is there complaining: just reflection and wisdom to spare. www.brainchildmag.com
Oversized and stuffed, The Brooklyn Rail opens with an eclectic blend of cultural discourse and political debate, then segues into an engaging array of art reviews and down-to-earth interviews with both up-and-coming and established artists. http://www.brooklynrail.org
In setting out to cover the world’s colleges and universities, The Chronicle of Higher Education has become a must-read source for news and analysis of the “millennial” generation. It also features the volcanic opinions, underreported grievances, and groundbreaking research of those who teach them. www.chronicle.com
The hip, irresistibly designed Hyphen explores Asian American culture with wit and zeal, tapping the seemingly boundless energy of its all-volunteer staff to cover everything from eco-friendly nail shops to America’s obsession with MSG. www.hyphenmagazine.com
The editors and researchers at Intelligence Report are all over this country’s toughest and ugliest news beat. Published quarterly by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the investigative juggernaut tracks hate groups, which have become larger, and racist extremists, who have grown increasingly volatile. http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report
Make/shift’s tagline is “feminisms in motion,” and they whip through the pages of this biannual like an intellectual storm. Each issue hosts bold, one-of-a-kind arguments and creates a lively community of writers, artists, and activists who stretch the boundaries of gender politics. www.makeshiftmag.com
Urbanite has all the flavor and color of Baltimore, but its appeal is much broader. Its best stories explore the relationship between cities and their inhabitants, through the lenses of art, education, architecture, and grassroots action. Reading this monthly is the quintessential urban experience. www.urbanitebaltimore.com
Want more? Meet our
health and wellness,
science and technology nominees.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 10:34 AM
Too often when we talk about accessibility issues for people with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive disabilities we're talking about physical infrastructure only. What about the web? There is a great post over at Bitch called The Transcontinental Disability Choir: How to make your blog accessible in five not-very-complicated steps. The five steps, in short, are:
1. Transcribe video and audio
2. Describe your pictures
3. Make your link-text something relevant
4. Don't over-ride browser defaults for your text
5. Look at your blog/site in a different browser, at least once.
The Bitch blogger, Anna Palindrome, also suggests a web access evaluation tool called WAVE. There you can plug in the URL of your site or blog and see how accessiblit is. I plugged in the URL of a recent Utne Reader blog post and it triggered this message: Uh oh! WAVE has detected 28 accessibility errors. The Bitchpost about accessibility has 13 errors. We've all got some work to do.
The WAVE tool is a service provided by an organization called WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind). Their introduction to web accessibility is an important read. Here's an excerpt:
The internet is one of the best things that ever happened to people with disabilities. You may not have thought about it that way, but all you have to do is think back to the days before the internet to see why this is so. For example, before the internet, how did blind people read newspapers? They mostly didn't. Audiotapes or Braille printouts were expensive - a Braille version of the Sunday New York Times would be too bulky to be practical. At best, they could ask a family member or friend to read the newspaper to them. This method works, but it makes blind people dependent upon others.
...Despite the web's great potential for people with disabilities, this potential is still largely unrealized. For example, some sites can only be navigated using a mouse, and only a very small percentage of video or multimedia content has been captioned for the Deaf. What if the internet content is only accessible by using a mouse? What do people do if they can't use a mouse? And what if web developers use graphics instead of text? If screen readers can only read text, how would they read the graphics to people who are blind?
As soon as you start asking these types of questions, you begin to see that there are a few potential glitches in the accessibility of the internet to people with disabilities. The internet has the potential to revolutionize disability access to information, but if we're not careful, we can place obstacles along the way that destroy that potential and which leave people with disabilities just as discouraged and dependent upon others as before.
Friday, October 09, 2009 6:12 PM
Simpsons fans, brace yourselves. The Huffington Post picked up an AP report that Marge Simpson will be on the cover of the November issue of Playboy, available on newsstands October 16, apparently in an attempt to attract 20-something readers into the audience—whose average age is 35.
I hate to ask a perhaps obvious question, but… shouldn’t die-hard Simpsons fans also skew that way? Not that the humor of the longest-running American sitcom doesn’t transcend the ages, but choosing a character from a show that debuted in 1989 and garnered its greatest praise in the 1990s seems a bit of a weird choice for nabbing the 20-something set.
But then there’s really nothing not weird about any of it. Kelsey Wallace over at Bitch catalogs the panoply of unanswered questions:
Honestly, I don't know what is weirdest about this. Is it:
- Playboy thinking that a cartoon character is remotely erotic/sexy to the average reader?
- The Simpsons thinking that putting their animated character on the cover of a nudie magazine is a good idea?
- That the rest of the cover is also laid out in a decidedly creepy “The Simpsons Does Porno” cartoon style? (Sorry Benecio! Bum luck getting in this issue!)
- That Playboy CEO Scott Flanders insists that the three-page spread of Marge inside the magazine contains only “implied nudity”? (Thank goodness, because the real worry here was that we might see a cartoon nip slip.)
- That this all might turn out to be a wild success, proving that I am unknowingly hooked on crazy pills?
Kelsey, you are not hooked on crazy pills. It is Marge, it is Playboy, and it is baffling.
Sources: Huffington Post, Bitch
Monday, August 24, 2009 2:42 PM
Madison-based magazine The Progressive, an energetic voice of dissent and activism for 100 years, has issued an urgent appeal for funds. Longtime editor Matthew Rothschild is very straightforward about the magazine’s plight, explaining how they got there, what cuts they’ve made, and how they will manage long-term survival after this big fundraising push.
“Let me put it to you straight,” he writes on the magazine’s website. “We desperately need to raise $90,000 in the next two weeks to keep going. We’ve got no money in the bank, and we have payroll to meet on August 31, and our printer to pay, and other creditors hounding us.”
Since he posted the appeal last week, they’ve already collected about $60,000—two-thirds of what they need—and you can add to the count by donating here.
Even in a lean economy, such an outpouring of financial support isn’t too surprising (though it is, of course, extremely heartening): The Progressive, which celebrated its centennial earlier this year, has a long, strong relationship with its radical readers. It’s a relationship that matters come fundraising time, as feminist magazine Bitch found out last September, when its readers forked over tens of thousands of dollars in a matter of days to keep the magazine going. Meanwhile, music-enthusiast readers of Paste have donated more than $250,000 this year as part of a longer-term fundraising drive.
Madison’s alt-weekly, Isthmus, has more on The Progressive’s crunch.
Sources: The Progressive, Isthmus
Friday, June 26, 2009 9:55 AM
Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon has spent a decade explaining why he writes such strong female characters for his projects (Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse, the film Serenity)—and in the clip below, he gives a powerful, awesome (and hopefully final) answer to the question that reporters just love to ask him.
If you’re at all interested in women in the media, you must watch this clip, which is from a speech he gave at a 2006 Equality Now event (re-posted recently at the Contexts blog). The best bit is at the very end—I won’t spoil it for you. Whedon begins speaking at the two-minute mark, after a nice introduction by Meryl Streep. (Transcript is available here.)
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 4:55 PM
You know the adage: Sex sells. The wizards who cooked up the low-cal, chocolaty Mars Fling, however, seem to have taken the maxim a bit too, um, literally. In a Bitch-at-its-best take down, the feminist magazine wryly dissects a marketing campaign that urges women to “pleasure [themselves] with this chocolate sensation time and time again.”
Tuesday, September 30, 2008 12:08 PM
In case you hadn’t heard the good news, Bitch has been saved—and then some. On Monday, September 15, the Portland-based feminist magazine issued a red-alert call for donations: They needed to raise $40,000 by October 15, they said, in order to print the next issue.
“Save Bitch!” posts quickly spread throughout the blogosphere, and within three days, they’d surpassed their goal—they were already looking at $46,000. And even then, donations kept pouring in; they’re up to about $55,000 as of last week, according to Bitch publisher Debbie Rasmussen.
If you’re wondering how an independent magazine is able to mobilize that much support in an economy this crappy, look no further than the lovefests—er, comments sections—here and here. People feel invested in Bitch, in its past and present and future; they remember the first time they read it, and what they’ve loved and hated about it; it speaks to them so strongly that they feel it’s worth more than $20 a year. That depth of connection, that strength of community—that is the future of independent publishing.
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