Four Questions with Bitch Media Contributor and Former Intern Annalee SchafranekCelebrating 20 Years of Feminist Media

It’s always cool when former Bitch interns go on to work in other feminist and social-justice organizations, so catching up with Annalee Schafranek was super-fun even before she sent us a photo of herself repping for cult favorite TV show Twin Peaks. Some of my own personal favorite collaborations for the Bitch site have involved co-recapping Mad Men and Project Runway with Schafranek (along with former web editor Kelsey Wallace), but Mondo worship and Roger Sterling mustache appreciation are just a small part of her contributions on television, music, and media culture over the years.
What was the most memorable part of your internship at Bitch, and what was the most surprising thing you learned about feminist media?

The most memorable part of my internship was getting emailed by Americans Apparel’s PR person twice after writing blog posts on Dov Charney. Considering the position American Apparel occupied in our culture in 2009, it felt like a win to be irritating them so much.
In terms of what surprised me, as someone who idealized Bitch for many years before working there, it was amazing to see how small, welcoming, and approachable the office was. I was definitely guilty of putting Bitch and everyone associated with it on a pedestal, which probably dissuaded me from getting involved sooner than I did. 

How has feminism and feminist media informed what you’re doing now?

I’m now working as the public relations and marketing manager for YWCA Seattle King Snohomish, and I apply feminism and feminist media in my work everyday. My experience working at Bitch, and how much I’ve craved working in a feminist environment since, were huge reasons why I came to work at an organization like YWCA. 
As a feminist and as a former Bitch intern, I’ve learned (and am constantly learning) how to elevate voices that are frequently ignored, check my perspective as a cis, straight, white woman, and collaborate with feminist media organizations that share the same mission as I do.

You recapped Mad Men and Project Runway for the Bitch site for several seasons. Since it went off the air, what have you been watching?

What am I NOT watching? Nothing has replaced the Peggy Olsen–shaped hole in my heart, but some favorites lately have been Insecure, Fargo, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Master of None, Jane the Virgin, Atlanta, and (still) Project Runway.

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 hope to see Bitch continue to be a refuge for feminist writers and readers who otherwise feel alienated or outright attacked. I also hope to see Bitch stand up to the feminist challenges that are no doubt coming our way in the next couple of years. I’ve never seen Bitch shy away from difficult conversations just because some people might be uncomfortable, so I can’t think of anyone better suited to lead the charge for the foreseeable future.
by Andi Zeisler
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Andi Zeisler is the cofounder of Bitch Media and the author of We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement. You can find her on Twitter.

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