Feb. 10, 2010 - Issue #747: Abnormal Growth
In my last column I introduced you to Autostraddle.com, the coolest thing
to hit queer-girl media since, well, ever. With features ranging from Prop 8
daily coverage to a feminist take on Taylor Swift's career, Sister Spit and
the Lesbian Avengers to two original webseries about to launch this site
really ought to be a frequent read. In part two, I continue my interview with
founder Marie "Riese" Lyn Bernard, Edmonton intern Jen Salamandick talks
about what makes Autostraddle important to Canada and Taylor Speer,
Technostraddle Editor, gives a perspective on Autostraddle's new gadgetry
VUE WEEKLY: Autostraddle "aims to take the reader seriously." What does that look like?
MARIE "RIESE" LYN BERNARD: We assume they're smart, curious, inquisitive and eager to learn more about the world. We assume they can handle and discuss complicated ideas and are interested in engaging in progressive rather than meaningless discourse.
VW: Autostraddle offers a lot of coverage on trans and genderqueer issues (like pieces on Chaz Bono, the Cliks, a letter from the L Word's Max Sweeney and a "What Does a Lesbian Look Like?" discussion). What do stories on gender identity look like on the site?
MB: Well firstly me and [executive editor] Laneia are attracted pretty exclusively to girls who pass for guys, so you'll see the genderfuck/genderqueer attitude all over the website: in our imagery, content, links, girl galleries, etc. Just kidding. It's not just 'cause we think alternatively gendered people are hot and deviance is brave and brave equals hot. That would be so shallow, and we are deep like oceans!
I was raised "gender-neutral" by my feminist lesbian mother so I've been well-versed in this stuff from the get-go. Although it may not be obvious, I think our gender-theory-nerdiness and deeply held belief that the gender binary is ruining the world is underneath everything we do, even our fashion coverage (like Boyshorts 101 or galleries including Alternative Lifestyle Haircuts, Androgyny Confounds! and Hot Girls in "Menswear") I think in general this integrated agenda, which we think is pretty unique for a more "mainstream" lesbian mag, is in many ways more effective overall than being able to point at one story's headline and say, "Look! that one!"
VW: Where does Canada fit into Autostraddle's perspective?
MB: I can see Canada from my backyard, so it's right up in our perspective. We aim to see everyone. We're collecting eyeballs. We've got two interns in Canada as well as 15 percent of our readership. Canada is where girls can marry girls, where Tegan and Sara got born, where Paige and Alex made out on Degrassi, where Queer as Folk was filmed and where Ellen Page was birthed.
JEN SALAMANDICK: Autostraddle offers intelligent discourse and often becomes a support network for those who, for whatever reason, don't have that unconditional support offline. Canada doesn't have to fit into the Autostraddle perspective so much as it is just naturally a part of it. It's an American company, eh, but Autostraddle is a global community.
VW: You've just launched Technostraddle. What's it for?
MB: You can use Technostraddle as a coaster, an airplane, a raincoat or as an alternative to the male-focused gadget and tech blogs out there. We think queer women are uniquely equipped to bring a fresh perspective on technology, gadgetry, design and web-culture to the testosterone-saturated tech market.
TAYLOR SPEER: My hope is that Technostraddle can expand into a space for not only hot tech news and reviews with a unique, intelligent and queer voice, but also a place to host the exciting emerging discussion about what happens when geeks, gays and girls intersect.
VW: Your dream interview?
MB: I'm actually afraid to interview the people I care most about because what if they don't like me? But actually no one would want to read my interviews with obscure contemporary poets anyhow. So I'll go with Ellen DeGeneres. Or Obama. The entire Obama family. And Ellen too. Also, Rachel Maddow. But I want her to interview me. But then what if I get a big crush on her, and she has a girlfriend and I don't want to seem like I'm trying to be a homewrecker. So Mary Gaitskill. I mean Ellen.
It's this excitement that translates to informative and responsive coverage on Autostraddle.com So go check it out—once you're finished this week's Vue Weekly of course. V
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