Feminism and publishing

I’m currently studying a writing degree and have decided to share some pieces I’ve been writing in class. I hope you find these as interesting as I do.

Which part of the publishing has had the most influence on the modern era? Or vice versa?

Publishing and feminism have developed hand in hand as women sought a greater role in society. Louisa Lawson produced the journal The Dawn, which grew over its 17 years to employ ten female staff. During the late 19thcentury, she offered articles addressing household advice, fiction, poetry as well as local and global reportage from a strongly feminist perspective.

As the suffragette movement grew across the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, activists looked to writers, and subsequently publishers, to tell their stories and educate people with their books, journals, newspapers and more. Writers were concurrently looking for the opportunity to communicate with their audience and publishers provided the mechanism to connect these two whilst making money. A combination of the 1870 Education Act and growth of public libraries, led to a growing literacy among the lower classes. Suffragettes, though originally mostly from the upper classes, would end up advocating for the rights of all women.

Printed in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, is a ground-breaking feminist work, which is often regarded as the jumping off point for the second wave of feminism. This movement gained real traction throughout the late 1960’s and 70’s with female led and feminist publishers growing throughout this time. Virago was born of this era to explore women’s stories and histories. Printed on the second page of every book they released, their purpose was clear – ‘Virago is a feminist publishing company.’

In this current digitally infused era, platforms such as Patreon provide modern feminists a ready-made outlet and simple way to convert social media attention to earnings. Podcasters to erotica writers use this platform to publish their own content for subscribers, garnering income along the way.

Until now feminism and publishing have developed symbiotically. Into the future, how feminism and publishing intersect remains to be seen as both struggle to stay relevant with new technologies.  

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