Contributors’ Guidelines

At Bitch, we’re always looking for pitches that offer a feminist analysis of culture. 

Our definition of culture is broad, encompassing cultural attitudes and myths, phenomena of the popular imagination, and social trends as well as movies, TV shows, web series, books, internet subcultures, and the like. For Bitch, culture also includes politics, science, health, and life, including food, parenting, chronic illness, relationships, religion, activism, education, climate change, and different elements of our lives that we all consider as we decide who we are as feminists.

In addition to our quarterly print magazine, we publish online content five days a week. We are looking for discussion-provoking critical essays and reported features 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 We do not publish fiction or poetry. Nonfiction essays only, though we do not publish experimental lyric essays or anything that reads like a dissertation.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, please send either a full draft or a 150-word write up outlining your article. 

We are unable to respond to every pitch submitted. There is also no guarantee that we will read every pitch submitted. Given that the news cycle moves quickly and we focus on culture, there is a likelihood that you will pitch an idea that others have also pitched. 

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 between 2,200 and 3,000 words of meaty critiques, reported features, and articles on culture from a feminist perspective. We’re looking for sharp-eyed perspectives on everything from pop culture to politics to health that are rimming with a nice balance of personal insight, analysis, and expert opinion. Features vary in format: interviews, reported pieces, and critical essays are welcome as are roundtables. Recent features include a  look at the rise of adult summer camps, a deep-dive into the emergence of crowdfunding for medical expenses, a personal essay about gender-confirmation surgery, a posthumous ode to Erica Garner, an investigation into the colonization of ayahusca, and an examination of the Black-woman-as-savior trope.

Dispatches are 1,200-word missives from the front lines of real, imagined, or fictional worlds and places. Past columns brought attention to incarcerated firefighters in California, the gaming industry’s exploitative crunch culture, and Queer Eye’s selective editing.

Culture is where Bitch brands its cultural authority through essays about books, music, and screen; profiles of individuals and those who are creating and defining cultural moments; and interviews with those working in publishing, Hollywood, podcasting, and other areas who are helping us imagine new possibilities for representation and inclusion.

Payment varies but is generally $700-$1000 for features, $350 for dispatches, and between $250-$700 for culture stories. 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.

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.

Plastic (#91)

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Open: Dec 10, 2020 to February 22, 2021
 
Plastic: One word, a thousand meanings. It’s a euphemism for credit cards and grocery bags, an umbrella description for the fake and inauthentic. When it’s applied to women—as it often is—it denotes a surface with no substance, a bland conformity (there’s a reason one of the most iconic cliques in teen-movie history bears the name), a sad sameness. The material that once brought advancements in everything from medicine to clothing to building materials is now at the center of a cultural firestorm over capitalism, climate change, and what we will and won’t sacrifice for the greater good.
 
And though no one associates the word with depth, plastic is deeply connected to our daily lives, the central material in a material world. Plastic represents the American dream: Wages may be stagnant while the cost of living continues to rise, but many of us take on ever-growing debt in order to sustain a performance of middle-class success. Silicon Valley, the shining land of optimism and innovation, peddles the myth of meritocracy while gliding past the financial, political, and interpersonal wreckage wrought by big tech. When we say plastic, that’s what we mean: the ways in which our society remains as polished, shallow, and unbearably flexible as the material itself? What are they? What do they tell us about what we are—and what we could be?
 
This issue seeks to examine plastic as both a generative material and a societal condition, interpreting this theme through an assortment of lenses. So whether your idea revolves around Instagram models, Barbie dolls, or sex toys; whether it takes the form of an interview, cultural analysis, or critical read, consider questions as well as answers: How can we ethically approach consumerism in ways that aren’t exploitative? What does it look like to create friendships built on a sturdy foundation rather than shallow connections? What happens when you’re devoted to a cause but not to the well-being of the people in your movement? Who dictates high-fashion trends and who benefits from the resurgence of age-old fashion ideas? We want stories that don’t take a common approach to Plastic. Give us something out of the box that takes this issue in a new direction that prioritizes depth.
 
KEY WORDS: environment, debt, pools, cosmetic surgery, credit cards, Silicon Valley, frenemies, Instagram, sex toys, sustainability, cliques, girlbosses, Barbies, shopping, activism, cliques, imposter syndrome, brands
 

SECTIONS: Features, Culture, Front-of-Book

Front-of-Book

Dispatches (1200 words) are missives from the frontlines. We’re looking for underreported and fascinating stories from across the country, the globe, and the realms of fiction that introduce Bitch readers to stories and topics they might not have encountered before. A great dispatch could be from Argentina or Tennessee just as easily as San Junipero or Panem.

Features

Features are deep dives into the intersection of feminism and culture. Everything is culture to Bitch, including pop culture, social-justice movements, and technology. Longform and essay writers examine, ruminate, and push boundaries. The writing is tight, top-notch, and original. We are looking for pieces that not only dive deep, but dive where no one else is looking.
 
Investigative Essay (2300 words): You smell a buried story and want to tell the world what’s going on. Complete with research, reporting, and clear, concise writing, this piece braids information and intrigue and takes the readers on a journey through something underreported, unknown, or in need of a spotlight.
 
Cultural Feature (2200 words): Nonfiction feminist critical essays are not about the “I” statements—a Bitch essay critiques a larger systematic or cultural problem by centering a marginal community and exploring the impact of that issue for a particular demographic. At its heart, it’s a soaring cultural critique. This feature establishes your chops as a writer who is unafraid to go there. It’s an essay that demonstrates that you have cultivated your own distinct voice and your work unapologetically expresses an unforgettable message that centers your community, resistance, and establishes new ground with unchartered possibilities for how to live free.

Culture

This section is where Bitch brands and solidifies its cultural authority. From celebrating significant pieces of pop culture that are turning 20 to analyzing the Impact Of directors, producers, and screenwriters (600 words), Culture examines elements of our lives that show up in books, on screens, in music, and all over the internet.

Culture features three essays (800 words) that look at themes springing up in books, screen, and music, and explore the cultural context for that theme and why it’s significant. Are multiple TV shows depicting abortions? How is YA literature handling sexual assault? We want to know.

Culture wants to know the people behind-the-scenes who are making television and movie magic (1000 words). Who’s the next Ava DuVernay or Joi McMillon or Shonda Rhimes? These interviews highlight voices that are rarely tapped into.

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. Due to the volume of pitches we receive, we are unable to respond to every pitch and will only respond to the pitches that we accept.

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 varies (existing work vs. commission-based) but is generally between $300 and $600 for magazine features, $200 and $400 for spot illustrations, and $600 for a photo essay.

We do commission online illustrations, infographics, and comics too, though less frequently. Payment starts at $150 for online images.

If interested in general illustration for Bitch, please send your portfolio link and any specific suggestions (style, topic) for artwork directly to design@b-word.org. Email is preferred, but you can also send mail (no originals, please!) to:

Bitch Media
401 NE 19th Ave. Suite 200
Portland, OR 97232
 

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:

Bitch Media
c/o Evette Dionne
401 NE 19th Ave. Suite 200
Portland, OR 97232
 

Hard copies of film and music can be mailed to:

Bitch Media
c/o Evette Dionne
401 NE 19th Ave. Suite 200
Portland, OR 97232