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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Alternative Press Review Boys Snort Back! (2005)


JASON McQUINN, FEMINISM EXPERT "Mainstream feminism, which seeks to put more women into positions of power in hierarchal, exploitative institutions, is one more obstacle to personal and community autonomy, freedom, and equality." These are the "wise" words of Jason McQuinn (above), a white male editor in a hierarchal position at Alternative Press Review (APR) Magazine. This quote came from his article naming me numerous times as a feminist threat, in APR Vol. 9, #2, Summer 2005. Let's think about this. Is he arguing we instead just keep letting white males like himself run everything because "feminists" are "bad" people who cause hierarchal exploitation? Um, news flash to Jason. MEN do what you are accusing feminists of doing 1000 times more! No, we are not going to just let white men run everything because "feminists cannot be trusted." If anyone cannot be trusted, it is white middle class males, so knock off the paranoid male bullshit, Jason.

Alternative Press Review Boys Snort Back!

Open Letter to Alternative Press Review (or How Not To Get To Publish Kirsten Anderberg's Articles)
By Kirsten Anderberg (www.kirstenanderberg.com)
In the current issue of Alternative Press Review (APR), the holy male editorial trinity takes a huge swipe at me, belittling my work, pooh-poohing the issues I have raised about sexism in their publication, and basically reducing me to a ranting, incoherent, oversensitive feminist because I called them out on publishing almost all white male middle class writers, exclusively. They have reprinted my article entitled "2005: Males Are Still Considered The Norm, Women Are Still Considered Abhorrent" ( http://users.resist.ca/~kirstena/pageaprnowomen.html) in the newest APR print magazine, which has just been published. (I was paid not one cent, by the way, for this use of my work on both the APR Front Page right now or this article published in their newest magazine, or the 26 archived articles of mine they have on their website at www.altpr.org). This article of mine used APR as an example of male-dominated press and it apparently hit a nerve with the male editors at APR. This article that the APR boys pooh-pooh was published in many alternative media sources as a pertinent and relevant article. It headlined in pro-feminist Social Nerve's last zine, and is still on their website ( http://xm.gnostika.org/zine/april2005/2005/). The article was also published by PhoenixAnarchist.org. It was also published by West Midlands Anarchists ( http://www.wmanarchists.org/thought.htm), and it also headlined on Canada's resist.ca (http://resist.ca/story/2005/3/31/7415/04685). And by the way, those are alternative press sources. So, APR does not speak for all alternative press, that is for sure. I argue they speak for the MALE alternative press, just as that article said.
Apparently APR likes my writing enough to have it published on their front page, at www.altpr.org, right now as I write this, on Aug 31, 2005. There is an interview I did with Pablos Paredes up there right now lower on that front page. Yet these men are simultaneously printing my article in their newest magazine (Alternative Press Review Volume 9, Issue 2) under the heading, "How Not To Write For APR." Ironically, as Jason publishes a guide on how to not act like me to get published at APR (http://www.altpr.org), I *am* published not only in their print mag, but also on their website. So that is a stark contrast of realities! Let me get this straight, I make a lot of sense and am a good writer, except when I criticize the boys and then I am incoherent? I am not buying it. Jason McQuinn says my article has a "frantic tone and less-than-logical content" but I would argue it is his retort that fits that descript. He then goes on to defensively label my work as "simplistic male-bashing feminism." Honestly, he wrote a beautiful example of exactly what my article said alt media was about.
You will notice Jason does nothing to coherently explain WHY APR is publishing almost exclusively male-written articles, in the current issue #2, as well as in the issue #1, he instead spends most of his "article" berating me and saying he, a male, knows what feminism IS, not me. He spends the article not explaining clearly WHY APR cannot seem to publish even 10% women writers, and instead argues in a boyish defensiveness that it is merely COINCIDENCE that almost all males are published by APR. He argues that small alt press cannot be concerned by the issues I have raised of grotesque disproportionate representation of white males in alt press.
And indeed, APR editor Thomas Wheeler goes on the attack in the Letters to the Editor section in the new APR magazine. A woman named Sarah Butler, from Montreal, QC wrote about minorities and women being left out of something APR reviewed last issue and Wheeler's response, echoing what my article said, retorted: "I have no interest in engaging in superficial numbers games with DIY-oriented projects nor am I interested in writing reviews that focus primarily on politically-correct quotas for self-organized punk bands, independent documentaries, self-produced zines, or any other review material submitted to APR." Yes, Thomas, we get that! Thomas does not seem to think the issues of inclusion for women or people of color has any relevance to him, as a white male. Or the men o'APR like to say they are "feminists," and publish feminist writers' work for free, while fighting and berating the same intelligent women feminist writers, such as myself, when we notice the skewed figures?
And why is it that the ONLY people using the wording "politically correct" nowadays are white males on the defensive? Again, is it that APR likes my work, publishes my work on their front page, as it is now, yet are trying to get me back in line with a big patriarchal stick? Are the boys at APR trying to "discipline" the bad uppity feminist writer in public and use her as an example for women who may want to write for APR in the future? Indeed, their article by Jason is saying, basically, "listen gals, if you want to write for US, don't act like Kirsten Anderberg." I take this as only the highest compliment, as it only shows how effective that article was, honestly.
I think what bothered the boys at APR most was I did not need the men to publish my critiques of them and that they got wide airplay. Men like Chuck Munson at Infoshop.org, and the men at APR, are very dominant, and are big on being the alpha males who define how it will be, such as McQuinn's article title suggests. I did not have to go through the men to publish that article, I published it myself or sent it to alt press editors. And the boys want total control of the media, so they tried to recoup by publishing a little article by Jason telling gals how not to act like me and then they will get the reward of publication in APR (for free, if they are women writers like me). I can write, boys. And I do not need APR to "review" my work for validation. And I can write and publish my own rebuttal to the current APR rebuttal too. No wonder I am so controversial: I AM EFFECTIVE! And it did not take me ten years like the men either. My presence on the scene has been very noticeable over the last two years simply due to me calling the boys out repeatedly on their sexism.
Jason McQuinn's article was mere evasion of the issue, trying to silence the issue by belittling me, and it was also an attempt to define the parameters at APR for women writers. His article is a perfect living, breathing example of exactly what I wrote about in my article. Additionally, McQuinn whines that my article he is upset about immediately appeared in public on websites, and then says this was proof to him that I "didn't write it to communicate (my) concerns with the APR collective, but to attack APR with quite another audience in mind." First of all, I complained to Wheeler repeatedly about this before going public with it, and just as he has said in press now, he is not interested in this issue or what he terms as "quotas," when trying to balance gender. He made it clear he was not interested in dialogue on the issue. And did not McQuinn and Wheeler just do that to me? How did I find out about this article about me by McQuinn? By opening their magazine that was mailed to me today. Also, they complain I was taking this issue to "another audience" but APR is about what? Alternative Press!!! So, um, sorry boys, but this is right on topic and I went to the very people APR CLAIMS to represent with my complaints!
Funny how these men are telling me what feminism is, what matters and what does not, and yet, they continue to publish my work on their website, even right now. I feel a bit exploited by that, you bet. But whatever. It is just the Manarchist "Alternative" Press and people are getting hip to this crap. If you want to support women and people of color writers and believe the 90% white male quota system is not an innocent coincidence, then buying into APR is not advisable. At this point, I will not submit to them again, they will need to pay me if they ever want to publish anything of mine again, and I will continue to report from the front lines of alt media, as one of the most visible and effective feminist writers out there, scaring male editors to death. I have no problem with that role. Thank you APR for exemplifying everything I have said about your work.
Kirsten Anderberg. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint/publish, please contact Kirsten at kirstena@resist.ca. You can receive Kirsten's articles, and other activist news, via an email list called "Eat the Press." Go to http://lists.riseup.net/www/info/eatthepress to join the list.
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