As 2010 draws to a close, it's the time of year that nonprofits ask for donations. Bitch Media is no different; we need ongoing financial support. Usually, we would ask you to make a gift after telling you why you should support us. However, Bitch Media is lucky. We don't need to tell you why Bitch is important because we can let our supporters tell their own stories. This week, former intern extraordinaire Sara Stroo explains why she ♥s Bitch.
When I came across this secret on postsecret.com, I was reminded all over about the reasons I ♥ Bitch. Not only do I love every word of the magazine as a subscriber, but it's even richer for me since I know the behind-the-scenes story of this awesome organization too. I had the chance to intern in the Bitch Media office for 13 months in 2009 and 2010, and I saw firsthand, every day, how much thought, effort, creativity, and spunk goes into producing each issue, blog post, podcast, and community event. I know that each new sustainer and every dollar that comes in as a donation elicits cheers from the entire office. I know that the operations team, the development team, and the executive director all work together to ensure that the organization is always innovating, while staying true to its mission. These happy memories add an extra layer of love to everything I enjoy from Bitch, and they make the necessity of supporting the organization all the more pressing.
But let's go back to that postcard for a minute. How many of us have stood in line somewhere and idly absorbed the "Fat celebrities in swim suits!", "Five things your man wants that you don't do!", "Lose those last ten pounds and finally love yourself!" teasers that are plastered all over the periodicals at the checkstand? Or, for that matter, how many of us have watched commercials of boobs talking to each other or guys in love with lite beer, or detergent ads that show laundry as women's work and thought, "Doesn't anyone else think this is RIDICULOUS? Am I alone in the universe here?"
Well, that's another reason I love Bitch Media and the magazine: I no longer feel alone. Instead of making you a consumer of tips on self-destructive unhappiness and holding your body and soul up to false standards of Photoshopped perfection, Bitch asks you to absorb media with a critical eye and fight back with your words and ideas—it invites you to join in a dialogue which shows others that feminism is still very much alive, strong, and important. For me, that's the definition of a community service: creating a forum for dialogue and education that produces healthier, happier, more engaged citizens (of Poplandia, of course).
So, to whoever sent this secret in, and so many others who share the same sentiment, let me assure you: There is a community for you. It's one that urges you to use your brain as much as your body, to become a judicious consumer of both things and media, and to see your time as valuable. This is a community that redefines beauty, love, and sexuality in ways that reflect the values of real life—not airbrushed images and the stories and concerns of only straight, Caucasian twentysomethings. And the Bitch Media community is promoting these values with every blog post, every download, every issue that goes out in the mail and on newsstands—but it isn't free and it takes the support of the community to stay a healthy and strong source of inspiration. Bitch can't do it alone, and that's where we come in as supporters, sustainers, and subscribers.
It may seem discouraging at first, to realize that the same magazines who exploit self-doubt and try to convince us that an $800 sweater is the "must-have item this season" actually have huge print-runs, headquarters on both coasts, and staff members who each have their own offices. But let's see the positive instead: This is your chance to put your support behind the little gal, where every dollar will be cheered for.
So please, join me in supporting Bitch Media! Make sure that, for every person who agonizes over the nonsense on the cover of Cosmopolitan this month, there is a copy of Bitch on a newsstand somewhere close by to balance it all out with a truth that is exciting, engaging and, honestly, for you.
Please share the love and post your own story about why you ♥ Bitch in the comments, and support what you love—donate now!