Posted On: March 3, 2014
Media Organization: The Riveter
Here’s how it happened: It was our junior year at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and we were sitting in our editing class. The day before, the 2012 American Society of Magazine Editors had announced the nominees for their annual magazine awards. Not one female had been nominated in the major magazine categories, including Best Feature Writing.
We asked ourselves, “Why?”
We had been studying magazines that existed in very stereotypically gendered spaces. For example, we studied Glamour’s design tactics — what techniques can we use to get a woman to pick up this magazine? Clever sell lines! Bright colors! We also studied Esquire’s content. Because they had great content. They had great writers.
With countless women’s magazines on the newsstands today, why wasn’t there room for writing that had a fair chance at winning these awards, or at least being nominated?
It was ironic because as we looked around in our journalism classes, we noticed that for every two men, there were 10 women.
Where were the spaces for women to exist after graduation? Because of our magazine writing education, we wondered, and still wonder, where women writers can go to write longform journalism pieces and narratives that aren’t restricted to Beauty, Fashion, Dating and Art.
There’s more to women’s experiences as individuals, as writers, and as a collective than those narrow categories allow.
We were too young and very angry, and we wanted to do something, but we weren’t sure how to begin. We let the idea marinate for a year; we both traveled; we read more; we wrote more. The idea stuck and grew.
On March 3 of this year, we both sat in a conference room and listened to advice from several talented male writers. Walt Harrington and Mike Sager were visiting to discuss their new book: a compilation of longform journalism pieces by “the next generation” of great literary journalists. Only three of the 19 featured writers in the book are female.
It didn’t go unnoticed by the women in the room. When asked why, Sager responded: “There’s no women writing because there are no outlets, even though there are more women’s magazines on the newsstands. It’s like, what the fuck. You gals need to get some shit together. If you bring it, they will come.”
On that day, we decided that in 10 years, when the next “next generation” book is published, there will be just as many female writers as male. We decided to create our own future. We decided our future will be riveting.
The Riveter is just the beginning.
The Riveter, a magazine of longform journalism by women for everyone, is relaunching its website (TheRiveterMagazine.com). We’re looking to fill out our digital edges with exicting, web-exclusive content—anything from book reviews to travel essays, even the odd millennial think-piece (not too many, please).
Send pitches with a short, autobiographical cover letter and any accompanying clips to one of our online editors, Jake (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Paige (email@example.com). New or inexperienced writers are always welcome.