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Fantasy (#87) 

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS 

Open: December 5, 2019 to February 24, 2020

What’s the first fictional place you ever escaped to? For some of us, it was a bridge to Terabithia. For others, it was through a wardrobe and into a fantastical, frozen realm where children are tasked with saving the day. For millions of us, it was the wizarding world of Harry Potter and his friends, who learned how to cast spells in a school that resembled a castle and had a treasure trove of its own secrets. But whatever the entry point we have all delved into a fantasy at some point in our lives.

But our everyday lives, too, are infused with fantasy, whether we’re daydreaming about someone we pass on the street or envisioning lives free of crushing capitalism, climate change, and political clown cars. In this issue, we bring together the imagined and the real to get at the heart of a single question: What purpose do fantasies serve in our lives? We are excavating the very concept of “fantasy”—how they develop, what we do with them, and how we decide who and where is worthy of being fantasized.

This is one issue that shouldn’t be taken literally—we’re sure your imaginary psychedelic sex romp with Idris Elba and Helen Mirren is awesome, but this isn’t the place for it. Rather, we’re interested in criticism, reporting, and analysis that take an unconventional approach to the above mentioned question and consider a few others. What would a world where people earn more while working less look like? What lessons can be gleaned from Afrofuturism, Indigenous futurism, and other genres that envision oppressed communities in worlds of their own making? How has social media and other ever-changing avenues of communication blurred the line between our fantasy personas and our real selves, and is that line even possible to delineate in this time? Who is able to access fantasies and who is excluded from being one? In pop culture, who gets to decide how much “reality” should go into building fantasy worlds? What happens when your erotic imagination is at odds with your real-world beliefs and politics? Who is prioritized and excluded from our fantasies? Whose fantasies are prioritized and whose are excluded?

KEY WORDS: Afrofuturism, Indigenous futurisms, science fiction, sex, clothing, pleasure, vacation, bondage, mystical, astrology, magic, lust, Hollywood, Instagram, novels, planets, wizardry, Hollywood, paintings, social media, beauty standards

SECTIONS: Features, Culture, Front-of-Book

Front-of-Book

Dispatches (1200 words) are missives from the frontlines. We’re looking for underreported and fascinating stories from across the country, the globe, and the realms of fiction that introduce Bitch readers to stories and topics they might not have encountered before. A great dispatch could be from Argentina or Tennessee just as easily as Westeros or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Features

Features are deep dives into the intersection of feminism and culture. Everything is culture to Bitch, including pop culture, social-justice movements, and technology. Longform and essay writers examine, ruminate, and push boundaries. The writing is tight, top-notch, and original. We are looking for pieces that not only dive deep, but dive where no one else is looking.

Investigative Essay (2500) You smell a buried story and want to tell the world what’s going on. Complete with research, reporting, and clear, concise writing, this piece braids information and intrigue and takes the readers on a journey through something underreported, unknown, or in need of a spotlight.

Cultural Feature (2200) Nonfiction feminist critical essays are not about the “I” statements—a Bitch essay critiques a larger systematic or cultural problem by centering a marginal community and exploring the impact of that issue for a particular demographic.  At its heart, it's a soaring cultural critique. This feature establishes your chops as a writer who is unafraid to go there. It’s an essay that demonstrates that you have cultivated your own distinct voice and your work unapologetically expresses an unforgettable message that centers your community, resistance, and establishes new ground with unchartered possibilities for how to live free.

Culture

This section is where Bitch brands and solidifies its cultural authority. From celebrating significant pieces of pop culture that are turning 20 to analyzing the Impact Of directors, producers, and screenwriters (600 words), Culture examines elements of our lives that show up in books, on screens, in music, and all over the internet. 

Culture features three essays (800 words) that look at themes springing up in books, screen, and music, and explore the cultural context for that theme and why it’s significant. Are multiple TV shows depicting abortions? How is YA literature handling sexual assault? We want to know. 

Culture wants to know the people behind-the-scenes who are making television and movie magic (1000 words). Who’s the next Ava DuVernay, Joi McMillon, or Shonda Rhimes? These interviews highlight voices that are rarely tapped into.

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