Kirkus Reviews QR Code
INSIDE MS. by Mary Thom

INSIDE MS.

25 Years of the Magazine and the Feminist Movement

By Mary Thom

Pub Date: July 30th, 1997
ISBN: 0-8050-3732-2
Publisher: Henry Holt

 A vibrant recollection of the first quarter-century of the magazine that both energized the feminist movement and became a target for its tribulations. For those who may be prematurely mourning its demise, Ms. magazine is still being published, as a subscription-based, no- advertising journal. Its goal, as always, is uncovering and reporting on the issues that affect women's ability to grow and prosper. These, according to editor Marcia Gillespie, include work, family, and the politics of health. Sound familiar? These same issues were prominent when Gloria Steinem launched the magazine back in December 1971 and began the long public struggle to both ferret out and define women's domestic, economic, political, and personal concerns. There was great resistance to the magazine from the advertising community and even from other feminist activists. As author Thom, who has been associated with Ms. from its earliest days, describes it, Steinem and others who joined her--including the remarkable publisher Pat Carbine and writers and editors and sales representatives who have moved on to achieve stellar careers in publishing--came to Ms. out of commitment to the cause and because the magazine was offering extraordinary opportunities. In the freewheeling monthly editorial meetings, they were able to shape ideas and articles, including very early reports on sexual harassment and date rape. The magazine was also a pioneer in leveling the workplace, eschewing hierarchical titles. Of course, no one got paid very much either, and the magazine had more than its share of controversies--over whether to take cigarette advertising, over putting a photo of a naked woman's back on the cover of an issue on how women feel about their bodies--and a never-ending battle for financial solvency. But these were exciting times, and for those who care about the early days of the feminist movement and about magazine publishing, hearts will beat faster in reliving them. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)