Contributors' Guidelines

At Bitch, we’re always looking for pitches that speak to feminist responses to pop culture.

Our definition of pop culture is broad, encompassing cultural attitudes and myths, phenomena of the popular imagination, and social trends as well as movies, TV, magazines, books, advertising, and the like. In addition to our quarterly print magazine, we publish online content 5 days a week. We are looking for discussion-provoking critical essays that are well researched with evidence to back up claims, timely statistics, and connections between one’s personal experience and larger social forces. Interviews with feminist culture-makers are welcome, as are book, film, and music reviews and nuanced analyses of particularly horrifying and/or inspiring examples of pop culture.

First-person essays are great, but please read our print magazine and website to get a sense of how our contributors strike a happy balance between the personal “I” and the larger subject matter at hand. We do not publish fiction or poetry. Ever. Seriously. Nonfiction essays only, though we do not publish experimental lyric essays or anything that reads like a dissertation. Finished work and query letters are both welcome. If sending only a query, please include clips or writing samples. If you have not written for us previously and are pitching a Feature or Dispatch piece, please send either a full draft or a 300 word write up outlining your article.  

submit 

Quick Links:
Print Magazine Guidelines
Themes for Future Issues
Online Writer Guidelines
Illustrator Guidelines
PR Guidelines

Print Magazine Guidelines

If you’d like to pitch to the print magazine, please think about what section of the magazine would be the best fit for your idea.

Features are 2,000 to 2,500 words of meaty critiques, essays, and articles on pop culture from a feminist perspective. We’re looking for sharp-eyed perspectives on pop culture and the media, brimming with personal insight and wit. Features vary in format: interviews, reported pieces, and critical essays are welcome, as are roundups and graphically driven formats like timelines, charts, and comics. Recent features include a look at how abortion is depicted in film, the gendered storytelling potential of a new online gaming platform,  tracing representation of Black women in activism, and celebrating a new literary renaissance of trans writers

Dispatches are 1,000-1,200 word columns on film, television, language, activism, advertising, publishing, and more, with pieces taking the form of reviews, critical essays, Q&As, and activist profiles. Past columns brought attention to critiquing the role “beauty” plays in body positivity, why She-Hulk deserves more feminist cred, and how we talk about dating while fat.

Department of Everything is a new section with fun, short pieces that still carry the heft of feminist critique in an accessible format. This section has a recurring features such as Point/Counterpoint, Reproductive Rights Corner, and Keywords.

Recent Department of Everything pieces have discussed queer representation of kids’ shows, a short Q&A with an electronic artist, and a round-up of X-Files episodes where Scully shuts down mansplaining. 

We also feature film, music, and book reviews. If there’s a review up your sleeve, pitch it our way, keeping in mind the magazine’s release date and the timeliness of your review. We now have special sidebars for these features as well.

Payment varies but is generally $500 for features, $200 for dispatches, and $50 for Department of Everything pieces. All of our writers are paid. Please send all materials through our submission manager. Submit to the section of the magazine that best fits your pitch. We do not accept submissions or pitches through the mail.
 

Themes for Future Issues

Our themes are intended to be nonexclusive jumping-off points rather than limiting factors, and below we’ve included a few key words that may help along your fabulous brainstorms. We encourage you not to interpret the themes too literally, and in fact to go ahead and interpret them as loosely as you wish. Furthermore, if you have an idea you think is right for us but that fits no theme, go ahead and pitch it anyway.

We will be accepting pitches for our Winter 2018 issue from 7/12/17 through 8/18/17.

Bitch Media seeks to be a fresh, revitalizing voice in contemporary feminism, one that welcomes complex, intersectional arguments and refuses to ignore the contradictory and often uncomfortable realities of life in an unequivocally gendered world. We are independent, we are feminist. We believe in pop culture as a valuable, dynamic site and we do not shy away from the rich and productive tensions that arise when analyzing and critiquing it through a feminist lens.

DEVOTION (#77, Winter 2018)

When you ask about devotion, you overturn surprise. What lies underneath fandom, cultural iconic power, cults, religion, advocacy, or activism can be explored by asking what drives devotion. We could investigate realities about what drives some LGBTQ folks to stay in religions that have harmful ideologies, or make connections between creative processes and obsession. Using “Devotion” as an investigative tool to understand feminism and pop culture could helps us explore some possible topics:

Technology: Has social media helped and/or hindered our relationship to celebrities?

Systems: Why are we devoted to capitalism, the prison industrial complex, and systems that we know don’t work for all of us?

Icons: Extreme fandom. Because nothing says hardcore like the Beyhive.

Relationships: Explore feminized domestic care for parents, grandparents, and the elderly.

Or shape a narrative that goes against the grain and shows how families remain devoted despite being separated by the broken immigration system. Name new ways of how “Devotion” is in practice with aged concepts such as cults, religions, and worship. What is the intersection of feminism and faith?

We’re hopelessly devoted to “Devotion,” and we want to to take a deep feminist dive. Let us know what the intersection of devotion looks like for you and how that matters to feminism and pop culture.

Key words:

devout, addiction, worship, believe, extreme, follow, gaze, discipline, reward, interest, obsess, icons, gods, goddesses, cult, spirituality, nostalgia

We are looking for writers who bring sharp, incisive analysis to the page and are able to situate their personal perspective in relation to the larger subject matter at hand. In addition to your pitch you will be required to submit a short 75 word statement on your relationship to DEVOTION. How does your personal identity and experience influence your writing and perspective on this theme? This is not a public bio but rather a statement on the project you intend to pursue within this larger theme. Our editors will consider this statement alongside your pitch as part of our selection process.
 

Online Writer Guidelines

We accept online pitches on a rolling basis. Click below to view open calls and submit your pitches through our submission manager.

submit

Illustrator Guidelines

We’re always looking for new illustrators to work with. We commission people with various styles appropriate for each individual article.

Payment is $200 for magazine features (one full page and one spot), $75 for back-of-book reviews features (half page), and $25 for individual, small spot illustrations.

We do commission online illustrations, infographics, and comics too, though less frequently.

Bitch also accepts pitches for two specific comics / independent art pages on an ongoing basis:

Our “Adventures in Feministory” series, where we pay homage to a feminist figure worthy of a whole lotta recognition and love, either as a one-page comic or a full-page annotated portrait. Past “Adventures in Feministory” heroines include Vera Rubin, Lucy Gonzalez Parsons, and Dr. Mae Jemison. Pitches for this specific feature should be tied to the theme of the issue, and once accepted, would be developed in conjunction with our art director. Payment for Adventures in Feministory is $200.

Our newest comic, “Drawn Out,” launched in 2016 as an opportunity to give comics artists and cartoonists a chance to respond to the theme of each issue in a way that highlights their individual voices and perspectives. As with our editorial features, this comic should tackle a specific angle related to the theme of the issue, grounded in pop culture, through a feminist lens. Past examples of Drawn Out have included a take on how online community is being cultivated in youth culture (the Kids These Days issue), advice on money from feminist finance gurus (the Money issue), and a new take on the Justice card in tarot (the Invisibility issue).

Illustrators and comics artists interested in our open calls for “Adventures in Feministory” and “Drawn Out” pages should pitch specific ideas through our submission manager.

submit 

If interested in general illustration for Bitch, please send your portfolio link and any specific suggestions (style, topic) for artwork directly to Kristin Rogers Brown, or send mail (no originals, please!) to:

Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture
4930 NE 29th Avenue
Portland, OR 97211

While we may not be able to respond to every general submission, we’ll keep your work on file if submitted by email or by post.
 

For PR Folks

Bitch HQ receives hundreds of review requests each month. This includes authors, artists, and filmmakers. Review requests sent en masse end up in the trash. If you’re looking for a genuine review, please be familiar with the publication—we support artists who acknowledge Bitch’s mission. For example, bands or musicians up for review should have at least one female or feminist member (we think dude bands get enough attention elsewhere). And as always, a personal query or email is always a nice touch; sincerity is more important than length. Please send print magazine and digital coverage queries to our staff.

Hard copies of books can be mailed to:

c/o Evette Dionne
4930 NE 29th Ave.
Portland, OR 97211

Hard copies of film and music can be mailed to:

c/o Evette Dionne
4930 NE 29th Ave.
Portland, OR 97211