Ms. Magazine and the Promise of Popular Feminism
In the winter of 1972, the first issue of Ms. magazine hit the
newsstands. For some activists in the women's movement, the birth
of this new publication heralded feminism's coming of age; for
others, it signaled the capitulation of the women's movement to
crass commercialism. But whatever its critical reception, Ms.
quickly gained national success, selling out its first issue in
only eight days and becoming a popular icon of the women's movement
Amy Erdman Farrell traces the history of Ms. from its pathbreaking
origins in 1972 to its final commercial issue in 1989. Drawing on
interviews with former
editors, archival materials, and the text of Ms. itself, she
examines the magazine's efforts to forge an oppositional politics
within the context of commercial culture.
While its status as a feminist and
mass media magazine gave
the power to move in circles unavailable to smaller,
more radical feminist periodicals, it also created competing and
conflicting pressures, says Farrell. She examines the complicated
decisions made by the Ms.
staff as they negotiated the
multiple--frequently incompatible--demands of advertisers, readers,
and the various and changing constituencies of the feminist
An engrossing and objective account, Yours in Sisterhood
illuminates the significant yet difficult connections between
commercial culture and social movements. It reveals a complex,
often contradictory magazine that was a major force in the
contemporary feminist movement.