Heather Seggel isn’t just any Bitch contributor: She was Bitch magazine’s first regular writer, and an immediate favorite. She pondered the sexism inherent in MTV’s dating-advice show Loveline and kept a diary of her TV viewing as a one-person Nielsen “household,” but she also wrote honestly of the months she and her father spent homeless in Northern California, pondered the precarity of the creative class, and penned odes to Kozy Shack rice pudding. We asked Seggel to reflect on almost 20 years of writing for Bitch, and asked what feminism’s future looks like from where she stands.
What’s your first memory of reading Bitch?
It was one of the very early, small, black and white issues, but I remember that compared to other ‘zines I was into (and certainly my own bargain basement effort), Bitch had a point of view and sense of mission that was clear and specific, and there were big ideas in it, in addition to the ranty bits one would expect from a ‘zine.
What is your favorite piece you’ve worked on, and why?
It’s a tie, and they’re both really old! I loved getting to yell about MTV’s Loveline
because the show missed so many opportunities to offer sex education and instead made callers the butt of a lot of shame-based “jokes.” I would watch it and get so mad and feel like there was nothing I could do, and then suddenly there was an outlet for my rage! And because it will say “she never realized her ambition to be a comedy writer” in my obituary, I fondly recall writing about being a Nielsen viewer in a quasi-Bridget Jones-y voice as one of my finer swings and misses.
What do you hope to see Bitch do going forward, especially now that the goal of a feminist future seems to be facing a pretty massive setback?
I think this is prime time for the goal of a feminist future, because if there was even an atom of confusion about what we need to do or where to take the fight, things are a hell of a lot clearer now. I hope Bitch helps with the nitty-gritty by reminding us of ways we can work alone, in our separate demographic boxes, and collectively/intersectionally for change, and also continues to call out pop culture when it falls short and laud its every victory at telling stories that better reflect our realities.