or: Why a Persephone Magazine Roseannearchy Will Bring About the Grandmother Revolution.
You’re the woman my mom always wanted to be.
My mom grew up in a tiny farm town in Indiana. She was born right after The War, in a time and place when women from small farm towns in Indiana grew up to be obedient, church-going wives and mothers. If those women worked, it was either as a nurse, a secretary or a teacher. My mom chose nursing, much to the displeasure of her mother, who wanted her to be a teacher. My grandmother also wanted grandsons, and my mom only managed to give her one granddaughter. This, however, was the extent of my mom’s rebellion until she was in her forties.
Watching your show changed my mom. It took me a while to figure out the catalyst that turned my mom from the quiet, meek lady she was in her youth to the outspoken badass she became in her 40s. It was you.
I lost my mom last year, which indirectly led to starting this magazine for outspoken, opinionated, independent, bookish and clever women with something to say. Which leads us, the long way, to why I’m writing. We need a mentor and a guide who’s as outspoken, opinionated, et al., as we are to help us evolve our ladyblog from a volunteer project to one where we can create jobs.
Earlier this month, The Nation ran a piece on the future of ladyblogging, “You Are the NOW of Now!: The Future of (Online) Feminism.” In it, the author advocates for more investing in online feminist media by folks in a position to do so:
Blogs like Feministing, of which I am an editor emeritus, have operated without any formal structure for years. Third-party advertising networks, like Google Adwords, provide the majority of our revenue, but most often there is no money left over–after tech and hosting fees–to pay any of our eleven bloggers. We’ve been caught in a seven-year chicken-or-egg-cycle; at annual retreats, we discuss next steps for formalizing our structure and focusing on becoming financially sustainable, and then our full-time jobs (largely as communications consultants at feminist nonprofits and freelance journalists) crowd out any time to follow up. We’re too busy trying to make ends meet to figure out how to make ends meet.
To me, Roseanne, this seems right up your alley. While your fellow celebrities are investing in tech companies founded and staffed by the same boring old white dudes as all the other tech companies, recycling the same ideas and engaging in a boys’ club circle-jerk, you could be investing in independent women’s media like Racialicious, Feministing, Tiger Beatdown, Angry Black Woman and, yes, our blog, Persephone Magazine, as well as dozens of other independent, women-centered sites.
The folks who are supposed to be the job creators are sleeping on the goddamn job; let’s show them what kind of magic can result when smart women are given the same opportunity. Feministing has been around for seven years, how many Silicon Valley start-ups backed by ungodly amounts of money fizzled and died in that time? We’re relatively new at just over a year old, and we’ve got 4,000 articles to prove what we’re capable of when we’re just volunteering. We don’t want to build a waterslide and a sushi bar in our office; we don’t even want to pay for an office. We just want to pay talented people what they’re worth to create a continuous stream of interesting, no bullshit content.
For the amount of money you made to make one episode of Roseanne, any one of the above ladyblogs or others like them could keep a team of people employed for a year. With a powerful feminist investor behind us, we could expand our audiences and our ability to generate revenue through ethical advertising that doesn’t cheapen our content or our message. With a big enough audience, we could promote other like-minded independent businesses. We’re not going to change the economy by bitching about it, help us kick-start our own little corner.
While chances are good you’ll never lay eyes on this piece, we’re emailing you and posting it on our blog, hoping our network of the most awesome readers, writers and commenters on the Internet can spread the word and that it will eventually reach you. (Hint: @TheRealRoseanne) I know my mom would be proud of me for trying. Our chances, as ladybloggers, of getting funding through traditional means are about as likely as finding a unicorn in my backyard. Help us Roseanne-Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope.