As Zora Neale Hurston famously wrote, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Last year, around this time, it was already clear to us that 2016 would be an answer. On a small scale, Bitch Media turned 20—something no one knew a nonprofit, independent, feminist media organization could actually do. Two decades worth of rejecting corporate media revenue models and relying on reader support instead? Yep, it’s possible, and Bitch is a living testament. On a larger scale, we saw our country ride a wave of ignorance and bigotry so tall, and with so much momentum, that it concluded with @realDonaldTrump as president-elect. Twenty years after Bitch got our start as a little zine, racism, transphobia, sexism, xenophobia, ableism, and homophobia are alive and well, too.
By November 9 of last year, it was already clear that 2017 would be a question—and that we’d need to probe deep within ourselves and our communities to find answers that could offer conclusions that skewed in favor of a more feminist world. There was no time to waste, and that’s why, just 62 short days after the shittiest day any November has ever seen, we have big, big, news.
First things first! We’re thrilled to welcome two new members to our team: Lisa Factora-Borchers as editorial director, and Soraya Membreno as director of community. Lisa joins Bitch with a wide range of experience in feminist media as a writer and editor, and will be the driving force behind Bitch’s editorial growth and expansion. Soraya, whose resume stood out in a crowded field of applications for many reasons—including her work to engage communities of writers and those who make their work possible—brings incisive voice and direction to our strategic communications. Soraya will help ensure that in a climate of fake news, press release rehashing and never-ending hand-wringing from outlets who didn’t see this coming, a growing audience will know where to come to read intersectional voices who get it.
Elsewhere, Andi Zeisler, our cofounder and longtime editorial/creative director, will expand her work as the director of our writing fellowships program and increase her availability for Bitch on Campus speaking engagements and workshops. She’ll also pen a bi-weekly column on media and pop culture in the age of Trump at bitchmedia.org. Britt Ashley, who served as our managing editor in 2016, is now editor-in-chief of Bitch magazine. Korin Lykam, the architect behind our data structure, has been promoted to director of data and operational systems. Dahlia Grossman-Heinze, the smiling face you see every Wednesday on Feminist Snack Break, is our first-ever engagement editor. And after 900,000 podcast downloads in 2016 alone, Sarah Mirk will move from online editor to focus her efforts exclusively on hosting Popaganda. Kate Lesniak, who deserves such enormous credit for the strength of Bitch’s financial health and innovative engagement model, now assumes the position of publisher, guiding our growth and deepening engagement with our community across all platforms.
These new additions to our team and promotions within our organization were made possible because of our B-Hive members and donors. Without consistent support from folks who contribute, on average, $10.61 each month, and the generosity of those who make one-time donations to forward our work, Bitch Media wouldn’t be here. We believe that the most important part of making media that promotes intersectional feminist perspectives is rejecting the corporate funding structures that produce and perpetuate the dangerously oversimplified narratives in mainstream media—the same kind of media that brought us President Trump and is working overtime to normalize his propaganda.
If the first few weeks of 2017 are any indication, it’s going to be a year in which disinformation, gaslighting, and flat-out lies become constant roadblocks to social progress.
Which leads me to this: If you do one thing for Bitch Media this year, join the B-Hive. Your monthly donation makes Bitch stronger and gives power to feminist voices that need to be louder than ever.
Pushing back in 2017 is going to take everything we’ve got—and without our community of fierce feminists, we don’t have anything at all.
We’re in this together,
Julie Falk, Executive Director