Apparently if you are a media publication focused on women who are kicking ass, you will be considered “radical”. That’s the feedback the founders and editors of a new long-form magazine called ‘The Riveter’ received when they announced the launch of their project.
The Riveter Magazine is of course a strong play on the symbolism of Rosie the Riveter, who has become an inter-generational icon of women rising above the status quo and taking on an identity that allows them independence, power and autonomy in society, albeit not without some pushback and struggle.
Riveter was founded in 2013, and successfully raised funds from a Kickstarter campaign early in 2015. It is a quarterly publication (a yearly subscription is $60) featuring long-form articles and features, all under the umbrella of feminism. It was also borne from a frustration of the lack of equity in the publishing world when it comes to distinct female voices.
“A Nieman Report, [from] 2013 [shows that] only 37.2% of journalism jobs were held by women, whereas women received 62.5% and 67.6% of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications respectively — statistics that were consistent with what we noticed in journalism school. Never mind the almost $10,000 income gap in the industry. So, where did all of the lady-journos go?” asks the campaign.
In the video shared on the Kickstarter page, the all-female team of founders say they are sick of women writers being lumped with the reputation of only being able to talk about one topic, or a certain number of topics, so they want to break out of that stereotype.
“The Riveter is…dedicated to exposing the power of women as long-form journalists. It is an effort to fill the void that exists in women’s media and to diversify the narrative surrounding women in publishing. The Riveter publishes stories that can’t be summed up in a sell line, because women, as writers and readers, deserve more from a women’s magazine,” says a description.
Founders Kaylen Ralph, Natalie Cheng and Joanna Demkiewicz are based in Minneapolis but have a national readership. Each of them currently still has other full-time jobs while The Riveter is building its readership but eventually they plan on working full time at the magazine.
In a feature on the Star Tribune, the trio who all studies journalism said they want to fill the gap that other big women’s magazines don’t necessarily fill. Cosmopolitan being one of the most popular women’s magazines in the world, as well as other publications like Elle, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire and Glamour, there seems to be an increased amount of female empowerment (and in some cases explicit feminist) content in some of these well-known brands, but they are more commonly known for their focus on fashion, beauty, celebrities and trends.
To find in-depth feminist content you’d have to go elsewhere like Ms. Magazine, Jezebel, Bustle, etc. Where the Riveter comes in is at a time when there is a huge need for intelligent, savvy and engaging feminist content that seeks to redefine why the movement is relevant for today’s women, in a way that isn’t just clickbait or another throwaway article in a magazine that is doomed to be relegated to the doctor’s surgery waiting area.
“We look like what you might consider a traditional magazine to be, for sure. But we wanted it to appeal to this broad audience to show that our women’s content is not specifically for women, or just one type of woman,” said co-founder Joanna.
Everything is by design and on purpose. In their Kickstarter video they explained that they want to follow the model that Esquire magazine has created, which is a publication targeting women and feminists, but which men can also read and be interested in.
A quick look on the website and you will find a diverse array of topics which already gives you an idea of the expanse of what feminism is focused on today. Comedy, sex, business, art, reproductive rights, sport, food, and sexual harassment just to name a few. Riveter already has some pretty strong support from within the feminist community, including HBO ‘Girls’ writer Sarah Heyward, The Onion writer Ziwe Fumudoh, and Hairpin editor Haley Mlotek.
“I support women in publishing because our voices deserve to be heard, and our stories deserve to be told,” said Sarah in a video submission shared on Riveter’s Kickstarter campaign.
“With more representation in the media, women can better construct their own image,” said Ziwe in another video.
The Riveter is part of a growing number of online platforms and publications looking to provide women with a unique, authentic and different perspective on what it means to be female today, outside of the fashion, gossip and celebrity boundaries we are often confined in in the media. Hannah magazine was launched by a group of African American men and women in order to give black voices their own platform in a way that is unhindered by expectations of society and traditional media. They get to dictate the narrative.
Riposte Magazine was started by a woman in the UK who wanted to give herself and other women a chance to be challenged, engaged and provoked by the articles they read, as she was sick of other magazines peddling the same old superficial things toward women.
Also out of the UK is Magnify Magazine, created by a woman who found no platform that distinctly combined her passion for faith and feminism, so she created it herself.
And of course many people are familiar with Verily magazine, created to disrupt the beauty and lifestyle magazine genre by launching with the promise they will not photoshop or alter their images in any way.
In Riveter magazine, readers can pick almost any article and not have the issue of feminism measured against some celebrity opinion or a popularity scale, the way it seems to be happening in mainstream media.
“Feminism can’t be a marketing tool, but it has become one,” Joanna said.
“It doesn’t come from a genuine place. It comes from what can sell,” added Natalie.
It is clear that women don’t want to be confined to one or a few stereotypes by the media, and with the rise of magazines like The Riveter, women’s voices are being given a public platform like never before. We encourage you to support women in publishing and magazines like this which are not built around selling us an idea of what a woman should look like, but around the idea of encouraging us to shape our own narratives by reading articles written by women who have done the same.
Check out the three founders talking about why they created The Riveter Magazine below: