Seminal articles, pieces of fiction, and letters to the editor compiled from fifty years’ worth of Ms. magazine provide us with a glimpse into the last half-century of the feminist movement.
For someone living in the 21st century, I have a hefty digital collection of midcentury magazines. I find it fascinating to immerse myself in the minutiae of such a different period, seeing how the world was expected to look at the time. I even like reading the advertisements! I haven’t read any old editions of Ms. before though, and was excited to get the opportunity to read and review this book.
This book contains a selection of articles and letters published in Ms. in the past fifty years, divided by decade. I liked that there’s plenty of commentary to support them, providing both context and updates on the issues discussed, as well as discussion of the iterations the magazine itself went through as it changed publishers and eventually went to an ad-free model.
There’s a diverse selection of topics covered, such as equal pay and employment, abortion, and parents’ rights. It was cool to see that intersectionality was put front and center right from the start, as well as seeing how the language around the topics discussed became more exact and sophisticated as time went on. Though the fight for womens’ rights has evolved over time, it was interesting to see how in many ways we are fighting for the same issues that we had started out with.
I did wish that there were more short stories and poems included in the selection offered, as there were less than I had expected. I also thought that the 2020s were overrepresented, article-wise, considering how short that period of time is compared to the other decades. As such, there was less variety in the topics covered. I also wished that the selection had included more letters from ordinary subscribers in the last few decades – most of the 2010s and 2020s letters were from public figures instead.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.