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Becoming More Inclusive in 2014

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Morning, everyone.

It’s a new year now, and for 2014 Broad! has resolved to be more actively supportive of those who are trans* or otherwise outside the gender binary. When I founded the journal, for lack of a more suitable phrase, I resorted to the language “female-bodied and/or female-identified” to mean that we would publish cis women, trans women, trans men and individuals outside the binary (essentially, anyone who wasn’t a cis man).  However, as our readership––and submitter pool––has grown and diversified, it’s become clear that this terminology isn’t as applicable, fair, or accurate as it needs to be.  Though I had intended Broad! to be a space where non-binary-identified individuals could feel comfortable, it’s come to my attention recently (thanks, T.R.!) that, well, it isn’t.  Not to the extent it should be.  And for that, I am sorry.

I’d like to ask you for feedback on your experiences with Broad!, your suggestions as to how we can become more inclusive in 2014, and any other ideas you might have to throw our way.

This journal is meant to promote and support the work of people whose genders have been (and still are) marginalized, particularly in the publishing world, where their work is either neglected by the mainstream culture––unpublished, unregarded––or demarcated as Other.  We publish people who are not cis men.  Limiting publication to individuals who don’t identify a certain way, however, has its own logistical issues; largely, that a submitter’s gender is often assumed based on the name heading their manuscript.

Since Broad!’s inception, we have received several submissions from cis male authors, all people who either hadn’t read our guidelines closely enough or didn’t care about adhering to them.  In these cases, I used to click on the link the submitter included to his website/Facebook in order to to confirm that he was cis (and thereby exclude his work from our submission pool).  This is not something I am proud of.  While, each time, it turned out that the authors were cis male-identified and blanket-submitting their pieces across publications, that’s not the point: that doesn’t resolve the problem of what to do when a male-identified person (or even someone with a masculine name) submits to our publication.   And it reinforces another problem: the idea that one can “tell” someone’s gender by looking at them.

We should not be policing the gender(s) of others, ever.  Full stop.  Particularly not as a way to promote the demarginalization of other genders.  Submitters who are trans or outside the gender binary should not have to feel as if they have to “out” themselves in their cover letters in order to send us their work.

Any feedback you could give us on making Broad! a better, more inclusive, friendlier place to those who are trans* or otherwise outside the binary would be greatly appreciated.  You can leave your comments here or at our Facebook page, where this will be posted as well.  I hope to hear from you soon.

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Announcements!

Heather, News

Hello, gentlepeople!

I’d like to start the new year with some announcements, and a request.

This fall has brought a lot of changes to the Broad! staff.  Two of us moved across the country in the past few months!  I started grad school, while Brittany began an exciting and promising career in literature.  Unfortunately, however, she no longer has the time to devote to Broad! she once did, and she has decided to step down as fiction editor.  We wish her the best of luck in her new job and new city.

Though we’re sad to see Brittany leave her position, we are happy to announce the addition of new fiction editor Kendra Fortmeyer: she’s an excellent writer, a lovely friend, and a recent MFA graduate from UT Austin.  Kendra’s brimming with ideas and I look forward to hearing each one of them.

The major life changes which overtook us this fall have only emphasized the difficulty of running a website and litzine with only three people.  The time commitment Broad! requires has multiplied substantially since its inception––which, while super exciting, is sadly growing unmanageable with the size of our staff.  You may have noticed that Broad! hasn’t been updating this blog as much as we used to do, for example.  I would like to take this opportunity to ask for volunteer readers: people we can send batches of (anononymized) submissions for their recommendations.

Submissions to the journal reopen on January 1.  I’m thrilled to announce that Summer 2014 will be our first themed issue (!!), with a prompt of “mothers.”  Do with that what you will; submissions will be open from January to April 1.  As always, email your subs to broadzine@gmail.com, and guidelines can be found via the Submissions tab above.

We can start sending out submission batches to volunteer readers by mid-January.  If you are interested in volunteering, please send me an email at broadzine@gmail.com with a brief cover letter that includes your name, any relevant background, and which genre you would prefer to read for (e.g., prose or poetry).

Thanks for sticking with us, and a happy New Year!

Love,Heather

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Readers Write for September

Readers Write

 

UPDATE: The deadline for this contest has been extended to September 30. Extra time to write something on the theme alchemy and send it to us!

 

Good morning, Gentleladies!  We’re back on the blog after a hectic summer in which two of us moved to new cities and one of us completed a super-smart course load for smartypants. Post Labor Day, I’m feeling like it’s time to get back in the writing game. So here is a Reader’s Write contest for you: up to 500 words in any genre, and the theme is alchemy. The deadline is September 24. Update: The new deadline is September 30. The winning entry will be posted on the blog. Email your entry as an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .pdf) to broadzine@gmail.com with the subject line “Readers Write”.

Also, for your brain, a definition of alchemy from good old Merriam-Webster:

Definition of ALCHEMY

1: a medieval chemical science and speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation of the base metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the discovery of a means of indefinitely prolonging life
2: a power or process of transforming something common into something special
3: an inexplicable or mysterious transmuting
— al·chem·i·cal  also al·chem·ic  adjective
— al·chem·i·cal·ly  adverb

Examples of ALCHEMY

  1. She practiced her alchemy in the kitchen, turning a pile of vegetables into a delicious salad.
  2. The company hoped for some sort of economic alchemythat would improve business.

Origin of ALCHEMY

Middle English alkamie, alquemie, from Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French alkimie, from Medieval Latinalchymia, from Arabic al-kīmiyā’, from al the + kīmiyā’alchemy, from Late Greek chēmeia

First Known Use: 14th century

September Readers Write Recap:
Theme – alchemy
Length – up to 500 words
Genre – any
Deadline – Tuesday, September 24   Monday, September 30
Submit here – broadzine@gmail.com, subject line “Readers Write”, entry in .doc/.docx/.pdf attachment
Open to – EVERYONE, regardless of gender or sex
Prize – your words on our blog!

At Gawker, Cord Jefferson writes about Stand Your Ground laws and his experience with racial profiling.

xoJane ran a pieace about renouncing marriage on feminist grounds.

Callie Collins discusses Wendy Davis’ filibuster and what it meant to her for The Rumpus:

What I’m asking is that you do not yield to the truly ugly things about Texas—Kimberly McCarthy’s execution, whatever Rick Perry says today, these inconceivable abortion measures that will pass anyway, the deep red of our electoral map, the fact that the happiest news of the week, the overturn of DOMA, doesn’t completely reach down here—to the extent that they fool you into forgetting the other things, the things that should now be evident. Wendy Davis, the sound of those women, the reemergence of a visible, fevered Texas Democratic party, the very real concerns of 26 million people who have been here all along.

The Fairy Tale Review is a journal that publishes folklore-inspired work and they want submissions soon!

These dogs are facing some tough truths.

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Link round-up

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July is International Zine Month! Read a zine! Make a zine! 

This isn’t a feminist/literary link, but NPR has been doing important coverage of the Trayvon Martin case.

Some time ago, Broad! linked to this essay on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope on our Facebook page. It made me revisit a piece that Rookie published about the stereotype. Both have got me thinking a lot about the significance of the MPDG trope. As someone who, full disclosure, plays the ukulele and really likes to wear thrifted dresses and bake stuff, I appreciate this insight from the Rookie article: 

“My point is, likening real-life women to MPDGs is offensive. It implies that our habits and interests are affectations designed to attract dudes so we can improve their lives. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl does not actually exist—she is by definition a fantasy. We should restrict the use of the phrase to when we’re criticizing one-dimensional characters in fiction. Otherwise it’s just another way to put women down.” 

Safety Pin Review is literary journal that will not only publish your flash fic/short prose poem online, but will also have someone from their “collective network of authors, punks, thieves, and anarchists” wear it as a patch for a week and document people’s reactions! I think it’s neat. 

In a somewhat similar vein, check out these 10 Guerilla Poetry Projects!

SB5

Independence

Feminism, News, Personal, Politics

 

On Tuesday, June 25, I was in Texas.  I was in Texas because in six weeks I will move there for an MFA program, and I needed to find a place to live.

That MFA program is for another post.  I mention it here because a) it’s the truth and b) there was no reason I would have gone to Texas otherwise.  I grew up — and currently live — in New England; I’d never even been in the South before, if you discount the touristy parts of Florida.  But here I was with a three-year promise to write books and study literature and eat a metric ton of Mexican food in the meantime.

I spent the majority of Tuesday, June 25 driving around the town where I would live, getting lost, and getting a parking ticket.  By the time I arrived back at my host’s apartment in Austin, the filibuster Wendy Davis had begun 11 hours before had been shut down by male Republican senators; she remained standing, unable to eat, drink, lean on anything, or use the bathroom until the men decided whether her filibuster had stuck to the topics they deemed “germane.”  (Apparently women’s personal testimony regarding abortion was not.)

My host and I sat in her living room watching the livestream of the Senate special session, unfolding twenty minutes away.  We’d talked about going to the Capitol building ourselves, but by now the crowds had grown so massive that it seemed impossible we would be able to enter.  She was furious, as was I.  Of course, she had been following the SB5 story for some time; I am embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t familiar with the bill at the time.  Watching men argue over the right of a woman to speak in public office, my general anger at the state of women’s rights in this country — “How can people NOT see that the patriarchy is real?!” — gave way to a realization that this bill would affect me personally.

Here I’d been thinking of myself as a Bostonian who happened to be in Texas, but in six weeks’ time I will also be a Texas woman.  The extreme restrictions that SB5 — now HB2, in its newest form — would impinge upon the livelihoods and  constitutional rights of women in Texas would impinge on me too.  A strange feeling, because I have always been privileged in that regard.  Never pregnant, never lived in a place that would prevent me from deciding among a full range of options if I were to get pregnant.  I have been lucky.  Even in Texas, I will be lucky; if HB2 passes, two of the five clinics that will remain open are within driving distance of my new town.  I will have a hell of a better chance getting safe, legal care than a woman who lives in West Texas.

The problem is that reproductive rights are called “rights” for a reason.  A woman’s ability to choose is not meant to be a privilege, available to some but not others.  And yet, so often, it is exactly that.  I call bullshit. Abortion is 14 times safer than the process of childbirth, and yet women are permitted to give birth at home in their bathtubs.   Out of the 42 reproductive clinics in the state of Texas, this bill would shut down all but five.  FIVE.  Five in a state that contains thirteen million women.

This is not a debate over women’s safety.  It is a debate over bodily autonomy, and whether women should be allowed to make their own choices.

I don’t know how much we can do to combat a system that believes people without uteri have the right to make decisions for those with uteri.  But to the extent we can — donating money to pro-choice organizations and activists like Senator Davis, protesting in real life and online, making ourselves seen — we must.  If not for ourselves, for others.  For those who can’t afford to drive to the places that give them options.  Independence isn’t something we earned when we became the United States of America; in a lot of places in this country, women still need it from those who would make decisions for them.  Tomorrow’s a work day.  The holiday’s over.  Let’s get started.

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June 2013: Roots

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Christina Matekel Gibson is the winner of our June readers write challenge on the theme of roots. 
Congratulations, Christina! 

You are my Roots

Through the mirror, I watch

your lips purse slightly while shaving,

like a male model from Eastern Europe.

When I roll over, our cat, so childlike, does too.

Last week, I followed a woman and her child shuffling

across an empty parking lot. When they reached

the sidewalk, he shot his hand up toward hers,

knowingly, waiting.

You are the answer to my wiggling fingers in the breeze.

Link Round-Up

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On the feminist/political front:

Wendy Davis is incredible.

And Ruth Bader Ginsburg is notoriously so.

At Autostraddle: queer equality must run deeper than marriage equality and the blow to the Voting Rights Act is a critical blow to civil rights.

On the literary front:

An interview with the excellent Roxane Gay.

Fund socially conscious science fiction lit!

Bookworms cope better with “disorder and uncertainty.” 

Queer literary journals Them and Plenitude Magazine both have submission deadlines next month.

And on the Beautiful Things front: America in rivers. 

Link Round-Up

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VICE Draws Ire by Staging Female Author Suicides Annalisa Quinn, NPR 
Trigger Warning: suicide

The stylist and set designer are women. The models are women. But many famous male writers have committed suicide — David Foster Wallace, Ernest Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson, just to name a few. So why is this spread women only? Is this meant to imply that women are the weaker sex, are frail, are beautiful in their frailness?

I have so many feelings about this piece/this debacle/these issues. I’m not ready to try to articulate them yet. 

To counterbalance that with some actual good art: a lovely story at Recommended Reading:

      Orange is the type of place they recognize. Its downtown is good-natured, doors open, doesn’t judge. There are old people holding hands, and there are children with faces like cherubic peach pies. There is a church on nearly every corner. The cars all stop at the crosswalks and wave pedestrians across. Nobody is in a hurry, but nobody is lazing about either. There aren’t any palm trees. There are maple trees and sycamores. There are valley oaks, blue oaks and black oaks, cottonwoods, aspen trees. She is so sick of palm trees, she thinks, that she could puke. She is so sick of parking lots and freeways and outdoor malls. She is so sick of the dry, flat expanse and how palm trees are just these stupid pillars, holding up the blanched, hot, stupid sky. “I love it here. It makes me want to bake lemon bars,” she says as they walk down the sidewalk. 

 At Tin House: a long-form essay in which Robert Boswell uses the story of how he met his wife to demonstrate different methods of characterization. 

There is a Mystery Book Artist in Edinburgh. 

Heather showed me these Portraits of Grandmas and their Cuisine from Around the World. I think it’s the best thing I’ve seen all week. 

Happy Friday!