May 2013 | Nate Pedersen

Spare Rib Resumes Publication

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One of the defining voices of the "second wave" of feminism was the radical magazine Spare Rib.  The British publication was an offshoot of the feminist movement of the late 1960s.  It began publication in 1972, under the leadership of Rosie Boycott and Marsha Rowe, becoming a defining voice of radical feminism for the next ten years before it began to gradually fade from relevance.  It ceased publication in 1993.

News surfaced earlier this week that Spare Rib is being resurrected by the noted British journalist Charlotte Raven.  Initially, Raven intends the new Spare Rib to be an online-only publication, but she has hopes of returning it to print in the future.

During its heyday, Spare Rib invited controversy with its radical content which sought to "investigate and present alternative gender roles for women for virgin, wife, or mother."  The British paper agent chain, WH Smith, refused to stock copies.  The magazine still managed to sell approximately 20,000 copies per month, an impressive number for a collectively run magazine with an underground ethic.

Today, original issues of Spare Rib are sought by collectors for their bold covers in addition to their content.  The magazine purposefully subverted the glossy covers of women's magazines of the day, favoring a look that resembled the vibrant underground press scene of the 1960s.  It will be interesting to see if the re-vamped Spare Rib will follow a similar aesthetic.

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