Bitch Media seeks to be a fresh, revitalizing voice in contemporary feminism, one that welcomes complex, intersectional arguments and refuses to ignore the contradictory and often uncomfortable realities of life in an unequivocally gendered world. We are independent, we are feminist. We believe in pop culture as a valuable, dynamic site and we do not shy away from the rich and productive tensions that arise when analyzing and critiquing it through a feminist lens.
(1) We create and curate original, responsive, interrogative, and engaging content that prioritizes the complex and shifting understandings of feminisms as a personal tool and social movement for liberation, justice, identity, and growth.
(2) We celebrate content that best challenges, reflects, equips, and empowers diverse feminist communities who are in robust conversation with mainstream media and pop culture.
(3) We choose and shape editorial content to deliver boldness characterized by originality, depth of insight, savvy, wit, and the practice of claiming an elusive truth that is either avoided by or escapes mainstream media outlets.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Open: September 23, 2019 to November 18, 2019
“Health” is a contested concept for many reasons, but primarily because no single person is born healthy and remains that way throughout their entire life. At some point, we will all become “sick”—whether that’s through genetic or inherited illness, disease acquired in the course of work, or simply the conditions that come with aging bodies and diminished immunity. Still, we exist in a time where people seem increasingly preoccupied with the idea that by doing everything exactly right we can achieve eternal “health,” if not eternal life. To that end, there’s now an entire marketplace dedicated to this goal, with products—smartphone diet apps, step counters, biotrackers, green-juice subscriptions—designed to make our bodies optimized for maximum efficiency. You can pick up most mainstream magazines these days and read about the new frontiers of “health.” But in this issue, we want to examine the definition of “sick,” the ways the word is defined and applied, and the ways so many of us try—and buy—to escape the label.
For more than a year, Bitch has been intentionally publishing stories about chronic illness and pain. In June 2018, we released “In Sickness,” a digital editorial package about what the medical neglect of people with chronic illnesses reveals about sexism and racism in healthcare. The series included stories about the dangers of disbelieving female pain, an influx of new books that focus on chronic-illness patients, feminism’s decentering of women with chronic pain, and the relationship between body positivity and chronic illness. We are not looking to recreate “In Sickness” in print. In issue 86, however, we are invested in focusing on systems from media to criminal justice and beyond, that reinforce injustice, unfairness, and inequality, and to explore the mediums through which we understand the term “sick” itself.
We are seeking features, essays, and interviews that dive deeply into our cultural conception of sickness and its impacts. How does our culture pathologize women, LGBTQ folks, fat people, and other marginalized groups? How does access to social media shape our current era of self-diagnosis? What impact do mass layoffs in media have on the labor movement? Why do we greatly resist aging? How does mass media warp medical research into sensationalized alternative facts? What role does pop culture play in our understanding of the benefits and limits of wellness? What would happen if we all just accepted that none of us are actually healthy?
KEY WORDS: illness, armor, mental health, body positivity, pleasure, health, grief, disability, criminal justice, media, pivot, layoff, economy, aging, climate change, environment, death, diagnosis, alternative facts, medication, inequality, violence, therapy, manipulation, universal healthcare, alternative medicine, pseudoscience, wellness, diet culture, eating disorders, computer viruses
SECTIONS: Features, Culture, 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 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 (2300) 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.
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 or Joi McMillon or Shonda Rhimes? These interviews highlight voices that are rarely tapped into.