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 five 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 We do not publish fiction or poetry.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 Nonfiction essays only, though we do not publish experimental lyric essays or anything that reads like a dissertation.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 between 1,500 and 3,000 words of meaty critiques, essays, and articles on 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 women’s suicides became a cultural phenomenon, the colonization of ayahusca, questioning the perpetrator-victim binary in sexual-assault narratives, examining the Black-woman-as-savior trope, and celebrating a new literary renaissance of trans writers

Dispatches are 1,200-word missives from the front lines of underexamined or fictional worlds and places. Past columns brought attention to white supremacy in the Harry Potter series, Cuba’s feminist future, and immigration reform protests in Texas.

Front of Book is a section with fun, short pieces that still carry the heft of feminist critique in an accessible format. This section has recurring slots such as Dispatches and Feminist Fill-In.

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 $150-$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.

Sick (#86)

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Open: September 23, 2019 to November 18, 2019

“Health” is a contested concept for many reasons, but primarily because no single person is born healthy and remains that way throughout their entire life. At some point, we will all become “sick”—whether that’s through genetic or inherited illness, disease acquired in the course of work, or simply the conditions that come with aging bodies and diminished immunity. Still, we exist in a time where people seem increasingly preoccupied with the idea that by doing everything exactly right we can achieve eternal “health,” if not eternal life. To that end, there’s now an entire marketplace dedicated to this goal, with products—smartphone diet apps, step counters, biotrackers, green-juice subscriptions—designed to make our bodies optimized for maximum efficiency. You can pick up most mainstream magazines these days and read about the new frontiers of “health.” But in this issue, we want to examine the definition of “sick,” the ways the word is defined and applied, and the ways so many of us try—and buy—to escape the label.

For more than a year, Bitch has been intentionally publishing stories about chronic illness and pain. In June 2018, we released “In Sickness,” a digital editorial package about what the medical neglect of people with chronic illnesses reveals about sexism and racism in healthcare. The series included stories about the dangers of disbelieving female pain, an influx of new books that focus on chronic-illness patients, feminism’s decentering of women with chronic pain, and the relationship between body positivity and chronic illness. We are not looking to recreate “In Sickness” in print. In issue 86, however, we are invested in focusing on systems from media to criminal justice and beyond, that reinforce injustice, unfairness, and inequality, and to explore the mediums through which we understand  the term “sick” itself.

We are seeking features, essays, and interviews that dive deeply into our cultural conception of sickness and its impacts. How does our culture pathologize women, LGBTQ folks, fat people, and other marginalized groups? How does access to social media shape our current era of self-diagnosis? What impact do mass layoffs in media have on the labor movement? Why do we greatly resist aging? How does mass media warp medical research into sensationalized alternative facts? What role does pop culture play in our understanding of the benefits and limits of wellness? What would happen if we all just accepted that none of us are actually healthy?

KEY WORDS: illness, armor, mental health, body positivity, pleasure, health, grief, disability, criminal justice, media, pivot, layoff, economy, aging, climate change, environment, death, diagnosis, alternative facts, medication, inequality, violence, therapy, manipulation, universal healthcare, alternative medicine, pseudoscience, wellness, diet culture, eating disorders, computer viruses

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 varies (existing work vs. commission-based) but is generally between $300-$600 for magazine features, $200-$350 for spot illustrations, and $500 for a photo essay.

We do commission online illustrations, infographics, and comics too, though less frequently. Payment starts at $100 for online images.

submit 

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