I announced this when it was first official, but it's time for an update: The Beheld is syndicated with The New Inquiry, a journal of criticism that has exposed my work to a broader readership that might not have found me otherwise. Working with TNI has been wonderful—it's a thrill to see my work contextualized in a different way, and to see my writing appear alongside wonderful writers like Laurie Penny, Elizabeth Greenwood, Rob Horning, Moe Tkacik, Nathan Jurgenson, and more. If you read this blog, I'm guessing you believe that beauty and appearance is a complex topic that usually gets superficial treatment. When the TNI staff asked me to be a part of their team, they weren't just saying they agreed with that perspective; they were saying they'd lend me their own credibility in order to help make the case.
The New Inquiry is midway through a subscription drive. The site itself is free, and indeed all the content is eventually available online at no cost. But for $2 a month you can subscribe to the digital issue, which is brilliantly designed and thematically produced, giving all the work a different context—and subscribers get to read the pieces before they go online. So you're not only getting a rich, unique magazine each month, you're supporting the entire TNI endeavor. The TNI team has laid out for you exactly why you should subscribe, but let me give you five reasons of my own:
1) Because it's a vote in the future of online publishing. Subscribing to the digital issue is a way to support all the excellent content that goes online only—for free—and by subscribing you're essentially saying that you're eager to see quality content be both affordable (free, even) and supported. This pay model beats advertising, pay gates, and panhandling.
2) Because it's where the women are. The New Inquiry was founded by three women, the most recent masthead and table of contents were almost exactly 50/50, it consistently reviews works by women. This shouldn't be noteworthy in the least, but looking at the byline balance of supposedly gender-neutral publications like The New Yorker, London Review of Books, The Paris Review, Harpers, etc., makes it clear that this is exceptional. Without specifically targeting a female readership, TNI has done what every publication should be doing: treating the world as if women mattered. And the more support it receives, the more of a model it can be for other publications, and the closer we'll be to where we should have been all along.
3) Because at $2 a month, the only thing that might beat it in value is a Kind bar.
4) Because they pay me to do what I do. When I started The Beheld, I vowed to keep it ad-free. After working in ladymags for so many years and seeing how that particular velvet steamroller functioned (read Gloria Steinem's classic essay on women's magazines and advertising for more on that), I wasn't comfortable having this space be under the influence of anyone other than myself and whomever I collaborated with. Which is great! But what that means is that the only way I make money off the considerable work I put into this project is indirect, mostly commissioned articles that came about because I have this platform. I'm fine with that, but honestly, it's nice to make a little money from my labor here directly. And The New Inquiry team knows that, and your subscriptions make it possible.
5) Because of "Wrong Ways to Eat" by Charlotte Shane. Because of "Encounters With Lindsay" from Sarah Nicole Prickett. Because of "Cruise Control" by Max Fox. Because of this interview with Kate Zambreno. Because of "Sex on Inauguration Night" by Mike Thomsen. Because of "Demoting Beauty" by Rob Horning. Because of Austerity Kitchen, Shines Like Gold, South/South, Socialism and/or Barbarism, Marginal Utility, Double Take, and Zunguzungu. Because it's good, it's really really good, and you won't be sorry you did.