Feminist Times launches to forced sterilisation controversy
Radical women’s magazine that shuns celebrity chatter has been forced to issue a launch-day apology
The Feminist Times, a radical advert - and celebrity-free website aimed at "interesting women", launched yesterday — and was immediately embroiled in controversy about an article on forced sterilisation.
Activists took to Twitter to attack claims made in the article, published in a section called Taboo Corner. An online campaign group called Everyday Victim Blaming issuing a statement saying: "today's issue actually contains an article so full of victim blaming and woman-hating nonsense, I am surprised the editorial team thought it acceptable to publish."
The website's editor, Charlotte Raven, apologised for the article and removed it from the website. "We got it wrong," she said.
In a statement, the publication said it did not condone forced sterilisation. "The article's purpose was to highlight controversial but personal inner battles between deeply held feminist principles and reactive emotions," it said.
Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman tweeted that this was "a foretaste of many battles about offensiveness to come, no doubt."
What is The Feminist Times all about?
In her first editorial, Raven describes the magazine as a place where "people can detox from mainstream media culture and meet interesting, like and unlike minds" and that her dream was to create a "feminist Private Eye". Features include a 'radical agony aunt', a piece on 'sex party politics' and a 'How to be a Man' column, where journalist Garry Mulholland writes openly about his relationship with pornography.
For now the publication will only be available online, but a print magazine will be available in the coming months.
What is their editorial line?
The Feminist Times claims that it is the "only real alternative to normal woman's magazines. It promotes an editorial guideline of "life-not lifestyle" and aims to be open, inclusive and radical. The editorial team admits that it is inevitable that members won't always agree with everything they publish, but they say that "tolerance of different views does not mean lack of debate."
Why launch now?
The Feminist Times faces stiff competition from other successful online feminist publications such as Femusings, Jezebel and Vagenda. However Jane Martinson writes in the Guardian that "a new online magazine for feminists is exciting at a time when feminism itself is enjoying a renewed wave of interest with the success of #everydaysexism and No More Page 3, among others".
How is it funded?
As an 'anti-consumerist' project, it has been launched as a non-profit organisation. The website is free to access and the venture is funded entirely by "members and patrons – who each pay what they can afford. All members will receive a subscription to the print magazine," says the Daily Telegraph.
How has it been received?
Despite the controversy surrounding the article on sterilisation, the magazine has received a stream of positive responses from both the mainstream media and readers. Martinson said that many of the articles feel "fresh and interesting".
Allies and rivals suggested that one challenge for the publication will be to present an inclusive face. Flora MacInnes, editor of rival online feminist website Femusings, told the Independent that if the Feminist Times is to succeed, "it's vital to make it intersectional and inclusive and not to sideline other groups" ·