A glance at DAME’s online shopping page provides an excellent sense of the magazine’s aesthetic. T-shirts sport logos that read “#Feminist.” Tote bags show silhouettes of women, their fists raised, with the words “The revolution will be feminist.” The front of a black infant onesie bears the message, “No sleep till matriarchy.”
The digital publication’s subhead reads: “For women who know better.” With this readership in mind, Editor-in-Chief Kera Bolonik looks for dynamic and opinionated pieces exploring issues related to race, sex, class, gender, LGBTQ, reproductive and civil rights, disability, media, law, cultural trends, and politics.
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“We are publishing so much exciting stuff right now that is really resonating with our readers – explainers, reported features, and even a new humorist we love,” Bolonik says.
Tone, editorial content
DAME editors seek candid, provocative voices – strongly opinionated writers who can convey the urgency of a story to readers in fast-paced, evocative prose. They publish essays – first-person and otherwise – pegged to news stories, as well as reported features, interviews with celebrities and politicians, and trend pieces. One of these is Einav Keet’s reported piece “When the Pussyhat Comes Off” (1/18/18), which examines U.S. political and social issues a year after the inaugural Women’s March and begins, “Were we all just shouting into the void, or could our voices propel us out of this fresh hell?”
Bolonik is grateful for DAME columnists including Lisa Needham, a policy and law explainer, and Robin Marty, who writes about reproductive justice. “They have their work cut out for them and make sense of the illogical,” Bolonik explains. “They’re brilliant warriors, all of our writers are, they’re in the trenches and reporting back, translating the horrors in terms we can understand, while experiencing it like we all are. I’m really proud of what we do.”
DAME editors published Keah Brown’s essay “Twitter, I Just Can’t Quit You” (11/14/17), about how the social media site – despite the presence of racist and misogynist trolls – gives a platform and a place to find paid writing opportunities to people of color and those with disabilities. Brown writes:
Twitter, despite its may failings, gives me a sense of community in my chosen identities Black, Disabled, and female. There is a group of people there that I can talk to about popular culture, books, movies, music, and cheesecake. More importantly, Twitter is where I make money.
Andrea Chalupa published “Why Russia Matters to our Democracy” (2/20/18). In it, she notes that the United States has massive imperfections when addressing its own corruption:
Some critics like to dismiss RussiaGate as the hysterical political games of a desperate opposition, or an excuse for the Democratic Party not to own its many mistakes,” she writes. “There’s a determined, deep-pocketed, and pernicious enemy at the heart of the scandal – an international corruption ring that has an obvious ally holding the most powerful office in the world.
“These pieces are incredibly engaging and make sense of the chaos we’re living in right now in a way that feels like you can get a grip on it, not on the situation per se (because how can you?) but at least on the constant onslaught of awful news,” Bolonik explains.
Advice for potential contributors
Interested in contributing to DAME? Bolonik urges writers to think about what they’d like to read that they’re not seeing elsewhere. “What we want most is new, fresh angles on both essays and deeply reported pieces,” she says. “We don’t want pieces that join the chorus. We want stand-out pieces that start the conversation or move it in new directions, that make you see things and think about it in a new way. What makes what you have to say different from everyone else? That’s a question to consider.”
“We don’t want pieces that join the chorus.”
DAME editors prefer a one- or two-paragraph pitch with a strong sense of the story and its purpose. “If you can’t describe what you want to do in a few sentences, you may need to strengthen the objective of the pitch,” she says. “Come to us with a specific, well-thought-out idea. If it’s not quite right, we’ll work with you to help you get there.”
She notes that editors get far too many submissions about television and films, stories about health care, and meditations on presidential impeachment. “The best advice I can give to potential contributors is really getting to know our magazine,” she says, “and pitching things that fit in with the overall vision while bringing something new to the proverbial table.”
Contributing editor Melissa Hart is the author of Avenging the Owl (Sky Pony, 2016) and the forthcoming Better with Books: Diverse Fiction to Open Minds and Ignite Empathy in Children (Sasquatch, 2019). Web: melissahart.com.
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