Literary Spotlight: Ravishly

This feminist-forward online magazine seeks smart takes on modern issues.
By Melissa Hart | Published: June 1, 2018


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Ravishly

The image that heads Ravishly’s Facebook page shows a series of bare legs – light and dark, slim and plump, tattooed and prosthetic. The lavender letters below read “feelings. family. feminism.” The two-year-old San Francisco-based online magazine publishes nonfiction articles and essays on subjects ranging from friendships and parenting to mental health and body image to politics and sex. The pieces are by turns funny and heartbreaking, always with a feminist sensibility.

The subhead for Ravishly reads “because life is easier when you’re not alone.” Readers come to the website for advice on parenting and relationships, for perspectives on current events and politics, and simply for camaraderie with writers who share a perspective that resonates.

On the submissions guidelines page, editors write, “You’ll see us talking about gender equality, body acceptance, coercing your toddler into eating broccoli, the horror that is Republican politics – oh, and orgasms.”

Tone, editorial content

Joni Edelman is editor-in-chief of Ravishly. She’s the mother of five, an RN, and a body-positive feminist. “We love seeing a unique take on familiar topics in our four main verticals: parenting, mental health, bodies, and sex/love,” she says of the submissions she and the other editors receive.

One of these distinctive perspectives informs Virgie Tovar’s essay, “Take the Cake: 7 Regular Activities that Become Radical When You’re Fat” (2/15/18). Tovar writes, “I recalled so many moments throughout my adult life that have struck people as particularly noteworthy or brave because I’m doing them in a fat body.” Things, Tovar explains, like going on a tropical vacation, eating whatever appeals to her in a restaurant, and being happy.

Mariana Plata has an essay on Ravishly’s “Families” section titled “Teaching Your Child to Embrace the Power of Saying No” (2/16/18) in response to the allegations of sexual misconduct that escalated after the Harvey Weinstein scandal. “When a child learns that they can say no to situations that make them feel uncomfortable, it gives them a voice to set their own boundaries,” Plata writes, and she goes on to advocate that parents ask before posting a photo of their children online, and involve kids in family decisions.

The tone in Ravishly is smart and savvy. It’s earnest and poignant, or sharp-edged and witty…or both. Editors gravitate toward lively and opinionated writing on a multitude of feminist-related topics by women, genderqueer writers, and men. Editors published Matt Joseph Diaz’s essay, “What Major Surgery Can Teach You About Change” (8/31/16). In it, the writer talks about his journey of losing over 270 pounds and undergoing surgery to remove 45 pounds of excess skin. “No matter what hurts you and no matter what changes you: Every version of you, past, present, and future, is so important,” Diaz writes. “Every version of you, past, present, and future, has so much value.”

Contributors

Some Ravishly contributors are just starting out in their writing careers, while others have published numerous books. Authors Harriet Brown, Jeanne Joe Perrone, and Shannon Day have published on the magazine’s site, as has Kerry Neville.

Edelman notes that Neville’s personal essay “Why I Speak Without Raising My Hand” (2/13/18) particularly resonated with readers who appreciated her candid descriptions of how young girls unafraid of voicing their opinions grow to doubt themselves – a trend that follows them, often, into adulthood, where they defer to other, more insistent voices.

“And it starts small,” Neville writes. “A girl stops risking and raising her hand because she is not only ashamed of giving the wrong answer in math class but of being discounted. She bunches her fists beneath her thighs to remind herself to hold back, to be inconsequential.”

Advice for potential contributors

Ravishly editors urge potential contributors to email a resume and three published clips. “Don’t drop a half-baked idea with no other information into an email,” Edelman says, “or drop your resume or links, but no pitch.”

All of the essays and articles on Ravishly are free online, and writers can research extensively to determine where their work fits best. Bring insight to a news-peg or trend. Write a soul-baring piece on mental illness or body image, on relationships with family and romantic partners. Life is easier when you’re not alone, and Ravishly provides community in the form of candid and relevant nonfiction.

Contributing editor Melissa Hart is the author of the forthcoming Better with Books: Diverse Fiction to Open Minds and Ignite Empathy and Compassion in Children (Sasquatch, 2019). Web: melissahart.com

 

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