The cover, which I've included a photo of with this post, possibly against my better judgement, is a pair of disembodied breasts, and according to this comment on Cactus Kate's blog it appears to have been taken by Meg Sloan, who I am assuming is some relation of the editor (although I do find it odd that he didn't acknowledge her contribution as photographer in the credit list next to his editorial...) The cover seems designed to turn women off from picking up the magazine in the first place.
And if they did grab it, they'd have to wade through a number of misogynist articles before reaching the lovely pink edged pages of Kate in the centre section. Lord Jacob of Mussfordshire has contributed an article entitled "Women as Property" on p17 (a "satirical" discussion between a number of men at the Northern Club), a page and a half of ranting arguing "It's a privilege for women to be in pornography" from next year's AUSA Media Officer Thomas Carver on pp18 & 19,* a piece about stripping as empowerment which isn't actually all that bad (albeit predictable) on p20, then two full page (inoffensive) ads before the glorious Kate begins on p23.
Following Kate's cryptic crossword, and the return to the parts of Craccum controlled by Sloan, we have two pages of purported letters to Craccum sharing sexual experiences (because we all know that any magazine that has a significant portion of feminist content needs to be "balanced" up with a sizeable portion of smut to remind us that really it's all about sex), an article on why men are better than women (including an insert box on why women shouldn't be allowed to vote) whose authorship is not revealed, and a short piece by one Scoop Chang on why the women characters ruin a number of movies (actually I think George Lucas could take a significant portion of the blame for Episodes I - III of Star Wars).
Later in the magazine there is the usual, interesting, Arts section (books, films, CDs, comedy etc), and four pages of AUSA-centred content which is mainly about the Cultural Mosaic on this week. I venture to suggest that if the editor had decided to surround the stuff about Cultural Mosaic with racist content on a par with the sexist content Kate is almost subsumed by there would have been an outcry.
Sloan tries to cut off the complaints about the content by stating in his editorial:
The point is that a good portion of this magazine is tongue-and-cheek. So before you come knocking at our door or flooding our inbox with an assload of "well done guys, women and porn and period jokes, hurf durf" emails, it's not serious. If anything, we hope we've drawn attention to how incredibly stupid some of these assertions are.That's right ladies - Get A Sense of Humour Already!
Now my understanding is that because the advertising manager of Craccum made it pretty clear he wasn't interested in selling ads for Kate, the 12 page insert was funded by the WRO's budget for the project, and was effectively treated the same as paid advertising. Yet I somehow doubt that Craccum's editor would have treated any other advertiser in such a way - surrounding the content they had paid for with stuff that so ridiculously denigrated what they had put together. I'm not saying they should have only had articles that were nice to girls, far from it, but they didn't have to so deliberately try to basically sabotage Kate, and the hard work of all those women who contributed to it.
I hope there are some positive outcomes from this situation, and I hope that Kate's target audience do get to read it despite the obstacles in their way. It would be great if this incident creates discussion on campus about how to put challenging points of view side by side in the media without treating people like crap. Maybe it will even give next year's women's magazine editor the support to do a stand-alone publication, and be less reliant on the whims of elected editors who, in my experience, often end up quite isolated from their readership in the Boys' Club that Craccum seems to become each year.
Big ups to Sophie and all those involved in putting together a great Kate. Don't let the bastards get you down.
* Maybe this is satire too? It's hard to see how anyone could seriously believe in the statement "We all know that women are wothless pieces of meat whichdeserve no respect and simply exist to meet the needs of males. And by that logic, I am honouring a woman by allowing her to be involvd with porn; I mean, as a male it is my right to go out and have sex with any womanI want without her consent (call it rape it [sic] you will, you fucking feminist Nazis) and to do what I want with her." At the end Carver kindly offers to "drill some sense into you free of charge." Urgh.