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Slate - The Eleventh Hour #278, Ms. Magazine, Rec: 1/3/90, Dir:Andrew Wilk
Reel opens to the song, "I Am Woman" and photo of Ms. Magazine covers. Lipsyte announces story for tonight's show.
Funding for the show by announcer and overlay The Eleventh Hour graphic.
The Eleventh Hour graphic and show opener.
Host Robert Lipsyte opens show and introduces tonight's topic, Ms. Magazine. Copies of Ms Magazines displayed on small TV screens behind him.
Host Lipsyte welcomes viewers and introduces himself. He continues talking about Ms. Magazine - smart, slick , and trendy in the 70s and 80s but was shut down. However, a new owner promising to bring it back as a bi-monthly newsletter with no ads, for committed feminists.
Host Lipsyte announces upcoming guests and introduces Barbara Ehrenreich, an author and contributor to Ms., speaking offsite about the Magazine's legacy.
Cut to writer Barbara Ehrenreich standing in a bookstore.
she talks about the feminism movement.
Cover of National Review Magazine featuring an article, "Feminism Hits Middle Age" with cartoonish rendering of a woman, eyes and mouth wide open, and hands holding her face in horror.
Other magazines overlay National Review - Time ("Women Face the '90s"); The New York Times Magazine ("Voices from the Post-Feminist Generation") with narration.
Ehrenreich continues speaking of the post feminist movement.
Photo of Betty Friedan and copy of her famous book, "The Feminine Mystique" (displayed on a hot pink background)
Ms. Magazine cover with a depiction of a woman with many octopus like arms each hand holding something different
Ehrenreich stilll standing in bookstore and speaking of the new generation of women in the '90's who have grown up and come of age and states many people think it's time for the women's movement to fade out. She refers to the Suffragettes from the 1920's and the differences between them and today's feminists.
Vintage clip of women Suffragettes from the 1920's in uniform marching - with narration by Ehrenreich. She states they fought for one thing - the Vote!
Historic clip of two Suffragettes right arms up, taking the oath for Voting Rights. Ehrenreich narrates it took 72 years for women to get the vote!
1920's Suffragettes proudly holding large banner reads: "No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex"
Fade in - slate reads "Here She Comes"
Historic footage of Miss America contestant parading the stage in a one piece bathing suit.
B&W footage, scenes at a Women's Liberation rally, large cutout cartoonish image of woman in Stars and Stripes bathing suit, woman wearing large "women's liberation" sign, women dancing with police looking on, a lamb on a leash and wearing a Miss America banner.
Back with Barbara Ehrenreich in the bookstore, talking about the Feminism Movement and some of its achievements.
Young African American girl around 10 or 12 years old marching and holding up a women's liberation banner
Little baby girl , arms held up and out by mom, and with a big smile wearing a t-shirt "The ERA is for my future".
Woman at a women's liberation rally holding up two very large round signs: "NOW Organization for Women"; "Reagan's Wrong Women's Rights"
Photo of a magazine article entitled: "We Want a Woman!"
Geraldine Ferraro speaking at podium, American Flag in bkgd, and "National Press Club"
Statistics showing the increase over the span of 20 years of women students in law, medical and business from 1970-1990 - overlay women marching in a liberation parade. with narration
Ehrenreich in bookstore speaking about what has NOT been achieved (1990)- like the ERA, reproductive choice still contested
Photo (circa 1970's) Southern Baptist Evengelist, Jerry Falwell with overly photo of anti-feminist, Phyllis Schlafly, and headline clip "The Lady Who's Killing ERA" (1980's)
Little girl and little boy playing in a business office as Ehrenreich narrates (unseen) about how hard it is to find child care and how few employees offer paid maternity and parental leave.
Men picking up little boy and placing him in bunk bed as Ehrenreich unseen narrates about how men still haven't learned to change diapers.
Copy of a poll from the New York Times highlighting statistics that over 60 percent of women still feel a strong women's movement is needed. Ehrenreich narrating unseen.
Copies of several polls showing the feminists amongst women aged 18-29 years old feel the strongest about the movement.
Large group of Media cameramen, reporters at a feminist women's rally
Young women feminists at a feminist rally in front of a government building, holding signs "Keep Abortion Legal", "If Men Got Pregnant They'd Make Abortion a Sacrament"' "A Kinder Gentler Nation"
Both women and men at a Feminist rally, chanting and holding up big signs reading: "Keep Abortion Legal", "ERA YES"
Ehrenreich standing in bookstore summing it up and stating, "Yes we still need a Women's Movement" and it will grow and change...
Back with Host Robert Lipsyte in studio standing in front of small TV's with MS magazine covers, introduces guests on the show, Jane Pratt, Editor in Chief Sassy Magazine; Robin Morgan, Feminist Poet and Editor Ms. Magazine;
Wide shot of the studio with Host Lipsyte sitting with Morgan and Pratt.
INSERT INTERVIEW WITH MORGAN AND PRATT
to get it straight. Ms was always in trouble through all its various phases of ownership. But it was sassy. That was the final straw that seemed to have brought it down. sassy in its first incarnation two years ago, publishing articles that advertisers and the so called right wing found offensive. Could you explain what happened? Exactly?
Jane Pratt 9:21
Yeah. What happened was that there were when sassy came out. We were dealing with subjects that the other teen magazines had not been dealing with. Things like birth control, homosexuality, lots of lots of issues that the other teen magazines were shying away from. Because of that we got attached not really by our advertisers but by some very extremist right wing individuals who then started letter writing campaign to our advertisers and ask them to pull their ads from the magazine right.
Robert Lipsyte 9:53
And in the stands Ms. At that point was depending on sassy to help it
Robin Morgan 10:00
Well you have to talk about which ms phase is this?
Robert Lipsyte 10:02
This has been this phase when,
Jane Pratt 10:05
when and summers was the editor
Robin Morgan 10:08
the original original ms, which was for the first 17 years, to which I was a contributing editor
Robert Lipsyte 10:17
Were you a little surprised by that reaction to sassy because one of the things one would have supposed, was that Ms magazine had created a climate, certainly by covering such stories.
Robin Morgan 10:28
Well, I have to say that in the, in the during the first 15 17 years, even before the first sale, to Fairfax, the magazine was always being targeted by you know, right wing fundamentalists, religious fundamentalists, etc. I mean, anytime that you would even talk about non traditional roles for women, I mean, somebody would get terribly upset somewhere, and they would write their, you know, letters with their little stubby crayons, as we used to say, and that, in turn would impact on distributors or on advertisers. And, and this was something that, you know, that Ms sort of knew came with the territory, and in the sense that you say it was always in trouble. That's true, but it was good trouble. It was the trouble that we always knew came from making waves. The The sad thing to me just personally, as a feminist activists and as a writer was that, that that has a kind of over a period of time, despite enormous courage, and eroding, exhausting effect on a magazine much more so I think even then, on readers themselves
Robert Lipsyte 11:29
here and had a very specific effect. First of all, it put ms down. And second of all, sassy did withdraw, from a certain extent, for the kind of articles that you were doing.
Jane Pratt 11:41
I guess what it's made me do is not, it's not that I don't tackle certain issues anymore. When we've tackled those issues. I'm not going to do the same articles again, in any case, but it's made me as editor to look much more closely at every article before it goes in to make sure that it doesn't have some of those key phrases that might upset these groups. And then, you know, start this again,
Robert Lipsyte 12:02
well, that must be troubling.
Jane Pratt 12:04
Yeah, it's it, it means that I no longer look at things just from the perspective of my readers, but I also have to look at them from the perspective of all these other people who were who are watching the magazine closely.
Robert Lipsyte 12:15
But what else does it also mean? Does it also mean that that climate that Ms created that women could boldly look at those kinds of issues, that advertisers were basically male might shrink away from that that climate has been eroded?
Robin Morgan 12:33
No, I don't think it means that I think what it means is a substantial vocal and well financed ultra right, which, in fact, since pearly gate, and all the scandals of the religious right, is, in fact diminishing, but the climate out there with the real folks, you know, as Barbara mentioned in the essay, I mean, poll after poll, even by your time and your Newsweek, which are hardly radical feminist rags, are showing that that women and men of conscience regarding these issues that that population is growing, that they are more women are calling themselves actually using the F word feminist, that, you know, any poll that's been taken on the basic issue, you know, bottom line issues like era or reproductive freedom, the population of this country, and that's only speaking domestically in the US is their hearts are on the side of the angels you agree with I don't think advertisers are listening to that
Jane Pratt 13:27
I do. I think, you know, when I keep hearing this post feminist thing, too, I think what we're talking about is it's semantics. When if you were to ask my readers, give me five adjectives to describe yourself, I'm not sure that the word feminist would be at the top of the list. But I think that that's because they, they are able to take for granted a lot of things that the feminists of the 60s and 70s have achieved. But I also think that they are now in a spoiled period, because my readers are still in school. So they're still in a situation where they're, they're being told that they can be whatever they want to be, and they can study and now, yeah, they can have it all. And I think once they get out there into the workforce, they're gonna see that that's not really true
Robert Lipsyte 14:06
Are you telling your readers that?
Jane Pratt 14:09
As matter of fact, I am? Yes, I am. And I think that also there's, the 90s are going to be a really strong time for Ms. Because that's when my readers are going to be getting out into the workforce facing these things. And they are, I think, the most active group of teenagers we've had since the 60s, see,
Robin Morgan 14:25
and Bob, I think it's, it's, you know, when when the phrase post feminism is used, you know, I kind of you know, contrary to the myth feminists do have a sense of humor, and I have trouble, you know, not sort of falling off my chair and rolling on the floor, this phrase would, is used by people who would never dare use the term post democracy. And the only thing that I can say in response to it is I mean, I haven't found post feminism, I go to give a speech and and in fact, they have to move it to a larger Hall and this is on a campus and, and there's all these women there, you know, who are in their teens and in their early 20s. If anything, I would counter it by saying maybe we are actually moving into the beginning of post patriarchy. And that is where, where the news MS is going,
Robert Lipsyte 15:09
well, that that will be more apparent when Esquire suspends publication we may work on. Point is, though, that is that, you know, tremendous pool of women who may or may not call themselves feminists, but certainly, you know, are assertive women out there. They didn't seem to have the kind of muscle that one could keep Ms. afloat during that period, or two counteract the kind of pressure from extreme advertisers against sassy. Who when we are these people
Robin Morgan 15:43
I don't think it's a matter of muscle, they're not being listened to either. I think that's part of the problem. And the kind, you have to realize also that that the torpor of the Reagan years, which was which didn't really affect attitudes, of most of the people in this country, the deep attitudes, the ones I referred to earlier in terms of polls, and so but those have always been reflected, but it affected activism. So that, for example, where you had a really active and alive student movements, not not only in terms of the women's movement, but in terms of women of color, men of color, environmentalism, all of that was cooled out. And you had the quote, yuppie period that is now having another polar shift. And I think what happened in that period is that life became very hard just to stay afloat for a whole lot of people. And we know that the audience that Ms. Classically tried to address which was female human beings, the outs, the have nots, poorer people, people of color. Students, were not the most moneyed in this society, so that they were, in a sense, the hardest hit. And when you're hustling just to stay alive. It's not surprising that that even though you write your letters to your advertisers, the advertisers sort of say, you know, who cares? It's the it's the ultra right, who had the much more mobilized forced activism
Robert Lipsyte 17:03
we have an attitude that is a little bit different from yours, Robin Jane, hold on, because I'd like to see this opinion on how feminism has shaped today's women's magazines from writer Diane cruttenden.
Host Lipsyte introduces next segment, off set with writer, Dianne Crittenden, how feminist have shaped today's feminist magazines.
Crittenden, standing amongst mannequins of men and women, holding up a 1950's copy of Ladies Home Journal featuring articles of the joys of being a housewife and mother.
Photo from the pages of a 1950's Ladies Home Journal - a woman holding up a vacuum cleaner, and an article in the magazine, "Can this Marriage be Saved?", woman holding small child and a little girl close by greeting businessman husband.
Crittenden talking about how magazines are still obsessed with women attracting men and getting married, holds up a copy of Cosmopolitan Magazine.
"SELF" Magazine with feature article "Love in the 90's"
Close up bald female mannequin with lipstick and makeup, pan down on naked body holding a magazine (close up) open to an article, "STOP Blaming Men for Everything!"
Var. magazines open to articles: "Feeling Better About Yourself-FAST!"; "Will He Cheat?". Crittenden narrates
Crittenden standing in a mannequin studio refers to recent magazine articles,, "What are Your Chances of Staying Married?"; "Why You Can't Get No Job Satisfaction";
Close up on face of a beautiful fully made up blue eyed female mannequin
Cover of Lear's Magazine (for women over 40) with actress, Ali McGraw on the cover. Crittenden narrates unseen.
Crittenden holding Glamour Magazine and standing next to a naked sculpture of a woman seated, a magazine in her lap and Lear's Magazine propped up next to her.
Copy of early 1970's issue of McCall's Magazine
Crittenden holding up a copy of a 1970's edition of Mademoiselle Magazine and talking about some of the feminist articles from back then, such as, men will no longer be needed for sex.
Crittenden hands holding up cover of a women's magazine and showing off featured article - "Plus! is Everybody Basically Bisexual? An in-depth Report".
A woman's magazine open to a 1970's article on "Woman Loves Work".
Crittenden standing amidst mannequins in workshop. Open magazines scattered about and draped over the shoulder of a mannequin.
Crittenden holding up Ms. Magazine with featured article, "Peace on Earth, Good will to People"
Crittenden walking through mannequin workshop, full mannequins, legs, arms, torsos on shelves. She talks about how women are not willing to pay the $2.50 to read more of the same old articles in MS. Magazine. A MS Magazine with Oprah Winfrey on the cover is displayed on the lap of a mannequin.
Crittenden states, women will however, pay money to read articles about how to cope with the world left in feminism's wake.
Issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine propped up next to a pair of mannequin legs, with article on the Joy of Sex with an October Man
Issue of Glamour Magazine propped up by pieces of plaster hanging on a string
Wide shot Crittenden standing in mannequin workshop, standing amidst legs, busts, torsos with var. women's magazines propped up, she sums up her discussion.
Shots of groupings of mannequin arms, heads, and a hand draped over a shelf.
Back in the studio, Host Lipsyte introduces guest joining the others, Author, Michele Wallace.
that Jane's readers are going to be fed into Robin's new readers for the MS. But do you think that the revolution is dead, that the mess has been left? And that we are in this post feminist age?
Michele Wallace 21:08
Well, I think that I'm actually I actually find the term post feminism a more interesting term. Particularly if I mean, I think that the way in which it's used is generally pretty reactionary politically. But if one takes the term as an extension, of postmodernist theories in general, and the idea that we've moved to another period, I think it's an interesting idea, I think it can be used in a reactionary political way. I think, on the other hand, it can be used in a way to engender multiple critiques of society.
Robert Lipsyte 21:42
Then that actually becomes very acidemic because I think that's the way we've heard that, you know, this, this stuff is over. And, you know, you go back to the sex and service magazines, and I'll go back to chicks and ammo, magazine. And yet we're faced here with a new magazine. What about this new magazine? What will it be exactly the new ms,
Robin Morgan 22:05
the best of the old and utterly new as well?
Robert Lipsyte 22:07
Does that mean Alan Alda on the cover?
Robin Morgan 22:10
Oh, no, I don't think so at least not for starting net, which is not to say that Alan's not terrific and very nice, but Well, for one thing, and I'm not going to go into huge detail, because we're still being in creative seizures at the moment. And the first issue will be out late spring. But what I certainly can't say at this point is that it will be bi monthly, in other words, once every two months. And so there will be double issues. And that it is get this folks with no advertising, it is advertising free. And it will also be reflecting what I will quite blatantly say is one of my obsessions, which is international feminism, it will open the windows out to the vast mosaic of the International Women's Movement, which is enriching and fascinating and inspiring and challenging, and all sorts of other good stuff. It will be able to cover issues, whether they are news issues, investigative reporting, the return of first rate fiction, in depth with longer pieces, because it won't, it will have the space in which to do that. And it will attempt to really reflect in a way that the original Ms. Tried and and I think, given the commercial circumstances in which it was trying to survive, succeeded at beyond its own wildest dreams, but now it can really go further. It must reflect what I can only call a plurality of feminism's, which I think in some way is what is what Michele was touching,
Robert Lipsyte 23:46
Anf obviously more intensely political,because you will not have to
Robin Morgan 23:47
in the broadest sense, though, Bob, I mean, not just inside the beltway, you know, because, in fact, the green belt movement in Kenya, which was women started and and is still women run the chipko movement in India, which is a women's movement. What is happening all across this country with women of color is in the deepest sense of the word political in the deepest, most embracive sense of the word feminist
Robert Lipsyte 24:10
I would like to ask Michele is this what you want?
Michele Wallace 24:12
Oh i think that's ideal that that should be the future of Ms. But I feel like I'm sort of in the position here, reminding everybody, what you must know very well, which is that the mainstream of journalism in this country doesn't represent the plurality of women or the plurality of anybody in the world. I mean, it's a media that's very rigidly controlled by a very small group of people. And it seems to me that the the problem that Ms has to face is the problem of trying to take on itself, the correction of all of that, in that one small space. You know, the movement is that I mean, it seems to me that, you know, the women's movement has been run by a small
Robert Lipsyte 24:55
The, the true alternative publication.
Michele Wallace 24:59
Yeah, I mean, it isn't Alternative publication and that's good and that's necessary. And I absolutely applaud Robin's desire to, to make moves reflect international feminism. But the fact of the matter is, is that as long as the controller the women's movement is centralized among a few women, and they tend to be educated, they tend to be middle class, they tend to be white, they tend to have a certain kinds of concerns, there's going to be a problem. It doesn't matter how tolerant and open they are to the concerns of women around the world. The fact of the matter is, it seems to me that feminism has to become plural as feminism's and the control of the idea of what feminism is, has to be plural as I mean, even Alice Walker talked about
Robert Lipsyte 25:48
the original ms magazine too, wasn't it? Well, kind of narrowness of folks
Michele Wallace 25:54
that would be my criticism now. I mean, actually, my my criticism of MS was conditioned by the criticism of myself on the cover, is when people came along and said, you know, who is this young black chippy, who's now going to tell us what to do and what to think she's being manipulated like a puppet by Gloria Steinem. And it was hard for me to understand
Robert Lipsyte 26:15
That waw when you were selling your book and you allowed yourself to be on the cover
Michele Wallace 26:20
I allowed myself and I'm very grateful to be on the cover of Ms I sold a few books.
Robert Lipsyte 26:25
Was Sassy the feeder. Is Sassy going to be the feeder for this.
Jane Pratt 26:29
I think in many ways it is because what, what I'm seeing among teenagers today, as I said before, is that they're more active than ever, and maybe what they're being active about at the moment may not be feminism specifically, but I see that they're more active about the environment, about homelessness, about AIDS, about racism, all these things.
Robert Lipsyte 26:53
Well, we can't wait for the magazine now. Robin Morgan, Michele Wallace Jane Pratt, thanks so much for being with us.
Interview concludes. Host Lipsyte thanks his guests. Wide shot of studio.
Lipsyte encourages viewers to write in.
Photo of stamped envelope with "Talkback" address.
Host Lipsyte announces the show and introduces himself. show end
Show credits overlay show graphics
Charitable funding by announcer overlay The Eleventh Hour graphic.
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