Scripps College Celebrates Ms. Magazine’s 40th Anniversary With Panel Discussion

No one is more surprised by Ms. Magazine’s enduring success than its editors. “Who knew Ms. Magazine would survive this long? It has survived 40 years because we believe in its ideals,” said Kathy Spillar, executive editor of Ms. Magazine and executive vice president of The Feminist Majority, at last night’s panel discussion.

Spillar was joined by Michele Kort, senior editor, Michel Cicero, managing editor, and Scripps juniors Amy Borsuk and Dana Shaker, student bloggers of Ms. Magazine and The Feminist Majority, respectively. The panel spoke about the 40-year history of the magazine and their own histories with the famed and often controversial publication to a near-capacity crowd in the Malott Commons Hampton Room.

Ms. Magazine has always been ahead of its time,” said Spillar, “defining the issues, naming the problems, and moving the feminist movement forward.” Kort concurred, adding, “We put a feminist lens on everything. Ms. Magazine defined feminism in the 1970s.”

Managing editor Cicero, who describes her job as being the hub of a wheel that keeps everything moving, said, “Working with smart women every day at Ms. Magazine is addictive.”

Borsuk, editorial intern and blogger for Ms. Magazine, has worked for the publication for two summers. All interns work as fact-checkers, she noted, an important, although tedious, part of the job. “Fact-checkers are unappreciated!” laughed Borsuk. “It’s very exciting for me to work on the blog where I get to see what everyone is passionate about.”

With a bit of nostalgia for her childhood, Borsuk tells of a blog posting she wrote that holds special meaning for her. “I wrote a piece on Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series as a feminist social media character. I’m really proud of that piece.”

Anthropology major Shaker interned with The Feminist Majority, the foundation linked with Ms. Magazine. “I had a really eclectic internship—I worked on ‘Get Out the Vote,’ global women’s health and reproductive rights issues, the girls international project, and I was able to blog for Ms. Magazine.

Shaker and other interns were able to pitch their ideas to the magazine at weekly meetings. “I loved working as a blogger, and it’s great to have so many female role models to look up to,” she said.

Rounding out the panel was moderator Linda Perkins, associate university professor of cultural studies, educational studies and history, and director of applied women’s studies at CGU. Many in attendance asked poignant and thoughtful questions to the panelists, provoking discussions that could have gone well into the night.

 

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