Who We Are
Bitch Media is a nonprofit, independent, feminist media organization dedicated to providing and encouraging an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture.
We are best known for publishing the magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, which started as a zine distributed out of the back of a station wagon in 1996. Today, in addition to the quarterly magazine, we publish daily online articles, and weekly podcasts. We house a community lending library at our HQ in Portland, Oregon, and work with students and educators through our Bitch on Campus program.
Bitch seeks to be a fresh, revitalizing voice in contemporary feminism, one that welcomes complex arguments and refuses to ignore the contradictory and often uncomfortable realities of life in an unequivocally gendered world. We have a diverse audience, which keeps the dialogue and the movement we’re a part of dynamic and strong. We are also uniquely situated to draw in young readers who are at a critical moment in their lives—a moment when they are discovering feminism and activism, finding answers to who they are, and questioning the definitions of gender, sexuality, power and agency prescribed by the mainstream media. Bitch not only plays a role in exploring these topics, it also provides a toolkit for engaging in analysis that promotes activism and impels social change. Bitch Media has a broad reach, with a community that has grown to over 6 million readers around the globe. Click here for a timeline of Bitch Media’s history!
A Feminist Response to Pop Culture
Bitch looks at the media and its products through a lens that takes into account the historical and cultural representation of gender in pop culture. Movies, television, news magazines, fashion magazines, blogs, comics, advertising, music, computer games — all are media that have traditionally reflected a narrow vision of what women and girls are and can be, whether it’s the dumb blond, the needy wife, the castrating mother, “the I’m-not-a-feminist-but…” woman, or the heartless, man-shunning domestic media mogul (to name but a few). We seek to look at all pop culture through an analytical-yet-witty, sharp-yet-sympathetic lens, as well as to celebrate the feminist culture-makers who are transforming the media with their unique contributions.
Bitch aims to put a lucid, balanced face on feminism for all kinds of folks, including people who aren’t really aware that feminism refers to more than women who don’t want to shave their legs, or simply getting more women into positions of power. Similarly, we encourage people to consider feminism as a necessary part of the broader social justice movement.
For as long as we’ve been publishing Bitch, there’s one question that gets asked over and over. And over. “Why did you choose that word as the name of your magazine?” While we’re aware that the magazine’s title, and the organization’s name, is off-putting to some people, we think it’s worth it. And here’s why. The writer Rebecca West said, “People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” We’d argue that the word “bitch” is usually deployed for the same purpose. When it’s being used as an insult, “bitch” is an epithet hurled at women who speak their minds, who have opinions and don’t shy away from expressing them, and who don’t sit by and smile uncomfortably if they’re bothered or offended. If being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, we’ll take that as a compliment. We know that not everyone’s down with the term. Believe us, we’ve heard all about it. But we stand firm in our belief that if we choose to reappropriate the word, it loses its power to hurt us. And if we can get people thinking about what they’re saying when they use the word, that’s even better. Bitch. It’s a noun. It’s a verb. It’s a magazine. It’s a feminist media organization.