Monday, June 27, 2005

Reactions to Erin Matson's article, "I'm a Feminist, but..."

Hi there,

I just recently discovered your zine, and I must say that I love it! I wanted to say that I really liked Erin Matson's "I'm a Feminist, But..." because I too have known people who try to be "feminist enough" for the others. But isn't the point of feminism to be able to be yourself? Hell, if you like heels and lipstick, wear 'em! It doesn't make you any less for equal rights for women. Thanks so much for acknowledging this!


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Comments for Shelby Knox, our Featured Teen Activist

Dear Harpies:

I originally read Shelby Knox’s story in a small progressive periodical we have down here called “The Texas Observer.” But it did not prepare me for how good the documentary that aired last night would be.

Sorry to burden you with this because Shelby is only one of many contributors to your site, but I wanted to send “fan mail” to her, so to speak, to add to what I hope is a growing chorus of voices saying “You’re an inspiration, Shelby. Keep on doing what you’re doing.”




Hey there,

I hear that Shelby Knox does some writing for your magazine from time to time (or maybe she just submits articles, I don't know) anyway I thought if someone could pass on this forum link to her that she might be interested to see what people are saying about the documentary "The Education of Shelby Knox", the PBS hosted forum is receiving tons of replies from everyone across the U.S. and other countries (I am in Vancouver Canada myself), anyway if you can tell her to get her butt on that forum she might be glad to see the kind of influence she is having on people.



Hello All,

I wanted to respond to Shelby, having just seen "The Education of Shelby Knox." What impressed me was your willingness to stand up and speak up in the face of the dominant culture where you lived. We have a similar dominant culture here in California's Central Valley. It may not be quite as monolithic as in Lubbock Texas, but sometimes it feels that way.

Our Quaker meeting has been a catalyst for antiwar activism in Visalia, CA. We did weekly "Stop the War" protests for the nine months leading up to the Iraq invasion, and have been continuing with them ever since on a monthly basis.

The biggest benefit is that they bring people out of the woodwork. I'm sure there are many likeminded people throughout the "Red States"heartland, but when a culture that insists on uniformity in thought and belief becomes dominant, those who dissent tend to see themselves as alone and fade into invisibility. It is VERY VERY important to make yourself visible to let these people know they are not alone, and to give them courage to be visible themselves.

However, our visibility brings out the worst in the fundamentalist culture. We were harangued by a local woman at a recent protest who reacted to a "Who would Jesus torture" sign one of us was carrying. It amazes me how people quote the Bible so uncritically in support of causes that Jesus would abhor. Her harangue prompted this response which was printed in our local paper:

I have no idea what kind of articles you publish in the F-Word, but if this article seems appropriate, feel free to run it.

--David Chandler

Comments for Zhubin Parang's article, "The Left Needs an Extreme Makeover"

Hi Melody,

I found a link to the F-Word from the Ms. site. I've been reading through the interviews and articles the past couple days and I have to congratulate you!! This is a great zine which speaks to the issues and concerns of young feminists everywhere. After reading a few articles, I'm all fired up.

Here are some of my thoughts to add to the pot, specifically in response to the article, "The Left Needs An Extreme Makeover" by Zhubin Parang.

What an important and complex topic...
My initial reaction was, "But it's not fair!! We shouldn't have to hide parts of our movement just to get on TV." Although I have been known to roll my eyes at "embarrassing" images of the left (ie old hippies; and gross, leathery, naked men), I also think it's important to remember that I'd rather have seemingly crazy, passionate supporters than none at all.

Maybe if John Kerry hadn't shied away from his hippie past and been brave enough to speak out against the war, we'd have a different president today. Let's move towards finding the unexpected things that we have in common with people rather than watering ourselves down in an attempt to blend in.


Ali Uscilka

Monday, June 13, 2005

Reactions to "On Virginity", by Kat Allen, Sexuality/Gender Section

Hey, all~

This promises to be a heavily discussed article... if you have anything to add to this, please email me something! :-)



First of all, the zine is great. Good job.
Second, is there a way to get in touch with Kat Allen? If not, can you pass along to her that I thought her article on virginity was excellent? I know exactly what she's going through, but I thought I was pretty much alone in this particular predicament.



I just found this e-zine through a women's studies community... and I LOVE it. These uncensored, frank discussions about sex and women are exactly what we need. I particularly enjoyed the article about Virginity, because it parallels what I have and am going through. Unlike the author, I went to public school where 'sex education' is mandatory. Only, I made it to about ninth grade before I found out, on my own and entirely by accident, the physical workings of sex. What does it say about our sex education system when a girl can have five years of sex ed and still not know the fundamental workings of sex? I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has been through this little 'discovery.' So thanks for publishing it. I really enjoyed reading.



I like your site and I enjoy trying to understand women (I know it's probably futile for me, but I enjoy trying). I really enjoyed the article "The Big V" under "Sexuality + Gender". I never realized how terribly uneducated some women are regarding the most basic mechanics of sex. I would have bet (and lost) that it simply wasn't possible that a woman could be in college in modern America and not realize the basic biologic function of male and female genitalia. It's simply amazing how we cripple women's education and then wonder why there isn't equality ...

I applaud your efforts ...


Reactions to Nina Lyons' piece "From Fecho to Feminist", Readers' Gallery

A bunch of people wrote in to rave about Nina Lyons! :-)



Just wanted to send a word of congrats to you for an AWESOME website! I've read a number of articles already, and I think they're great. I love the aesthetics, categories, everything. Great job all around! Plus, it goes without saying that Nina is ecstatic about the whole thing. Best of luck - and again, great work, Melody.


(editor’s note: Scott Lyons is Nina Lyons’ Dad… and he and Nina win the “dedicated F-WORD lovers” award! Those crazy kids traveled four hours to come out to the first F-WORD salon back in early May. :-)

I just read Nina Lyons’ article on Feminism. What a brilliant, funny, and insightful young woman. I wonder if her Uncle Mikey is as cool and handsome as I’ve heard.

In any case, thanks for creating this website and promoting these young writers. It makes me all the more hopeful for the future to know that so many of our teens are so engaged in the world around them and so enlightened. They’re years ahead of where my generation was at their age.


Mikey Lyons
Dear Editor,

Nina Lyons' piece on "fecho" feminists rocks (Readers' Gallery, May '05)!As a college professor who regularly encounters young fecho feminists and the men who love them, I am thrilled to see young women like Ms. Lyons identify and break through the formidable cultural barriers stacked up against proactive (versus fecho, reactive) feminists. Thanks, Ms. Lyons, for sharing your insight and wisdom. I'll share it in turn with my college students.

Tom Kerr

Ithaca College
Hey, Tom~

Thanks so much for writing! :-) Fess up now... do you work withNina's Dad? I believe you and Scott work at the same school... ;-)



Who's Scott? Okay, okay, but he works with my wife, Eileen Schell at Syracuse University . . . and lives one block over. Nina is my 3-yr-olddaughter's superstar friend. But the essay IS wonderful, and I should know, since I teach a writing course called Public Essay at IC. I will direct my holdout fechos to your site, of course.

Thanks for the new magazine and take care,


Raves for the F-WORD

Hey, all!

Here are a bunch of happy reactions to the first issue! Enjoy! (and if you sent a rave to me and it isn't here, then please remind me! I probably just overlooked it in my inbox...)



Hi, Melody!

Congratulations on your premiere issue -- I'm especially proud that our Minnesota NOW State President, Erin Matson, and our Spring-semester intern, Zhubin Parang, both have articles included in this issue! Best of luck in this fabulous endeavor to spread the word of feminism far and wide on the internet -- and to ever-expanding audiences!

For equality,


Kim Gandy
National Organization for Women

The magazine is provocative, intelligent, colorful, wonderful graphics, great articles, well written .. I don't think there has ever been anything like this!

Jacqui Ceballos (mel’s note: president of Veteran Feminists Association)

Melody --

The site looks great -- easy to read, lots of compelling articles, fun and serious, engaging and really does invite you in. Congrats on that and thanks for the interview, it looks great!

-- Amy (mel's note: Amy Richards, co-author of Manifesta and Grassroots. We have an interview with Amy and Jennifer Baumgardner in the AEM section)

I am proud of you, the first issue is awesome. I hope it keeps moving forward. Good job. Stay in touch. You're on your way.

Dyann Logwood (mel’s note: one of the creators of HUES magazine… we have an interview with her in the first issue:-)

Wonderful site!! Wonderful 'zine! Wonderful modernizing the women's movement. That was a terrific interview with Gloria--you gave a sense of the politics of the movement and the wonderful person she is. And I certainly agree with her, that I like your spirit!! Glad you are moving this along and including all of us.
Heather Booth (mel’s note: founder of JANE, a pre-roe v wade underground abortion network based out of Chicago. Look forward to our interview with Heather in the second issue! )

All I can say is WOW! I just perused the site and it blew me away! Your interview with Gloria is amazing! I hope that you are out with your crew celebrating. You certainly have loads of reasons to be psyched! I am forwarding this to every woman I know.

I can't wait to sit down in peace and soak in the entire site.


Krista Rafanello
Avalon Publishing Group
1400 65th Street,
Suite 250
Emeryville, CA
94608 USA

I found your zine through the Ms. website and I love your mag! The articles I've read so far are engaging, funny, and really rather uplifting in this way I cannot quite describe. I think what you are doing is absolutely fantastic and I cannot wait to see a printed version.

Yours most sincerely,

Natalie Rose

hi,i want to thank ms. musings for pointing me to your e-zine. now iwant to thank you! i LOVE it! i wish you great luck as you continue!so far it's awesome! i can't wait to keep reading it and sharing itwith others!

!!!!!!!!!!!! lots of exclamation points for you!!!!!!!!!



I've been distracted from my school work for the last 1/2 hour by THEF-WORD and I'm not even .5 of the way through with all of your incredible content.
SHEESH. I'm blown away. Please write a note to my professors excusingme from their assignments as I have been come down with a case of Fem-Fever.




I'm a women's studies grad student with a women's studies undergrad degree from the University of Cincinnati. I'm also a law student at the University of Dayton. I serve on the Board for Planned Parenthood of SW Ohio and I serve on the Board for the UC friends of WS. I have worked as an editor and a writer on early issues of 'The Rag," a feminist publication begun at UC.
I am writing to let you know you've done something absolutely amazing. You have a fabulous website, inspired and inspiring writers. I support you wholeheartedly and will share your site with everyone I can. I am on an education subcommittee with Planned Parenthood and I'll be teaching an intro to WS course at UC this summer. I plan on sharing your site with my subcommittee members and with my students.

I'm impressed. I'm proud. I'm grateful that there are women like you and your writers keeping it real for today's young women. Great job with coverage of sex topics in particular. Sex ed is so important as long as there is "abstinence only" education supported by our presidential administration!!!!!!!

That's it for now - mad props and muchas gracias for all your hard work!!!

Deborah K. White

ahh!!the site is amazing!! its so awesome! .. ah! all the synonyms for awesome!!!.. and i can't believe you met Gloria Steinem!! have you washed your hands yet? cuz i totally want a shake! the articles are so well written.. i mean, i just felt more empowered as a woman when i was done reading. that is really success, you know.

many congrats! and tell me if you need anything!


This site is awesome, awesome, awesome. I also go to Temple, and it's great to know there's local stuff like this. Can't wait to see this in zine form. On that, if you need any help, any help of any kind putting that together, I would love love love to be a part of it. Please let me know if you need any help...a slave....a coffee bitch...ANYTHING. Thanks so much for an open-forum, killer site.

-Jenny Andres

I just saw your website featured on CounterPunch and wanted to write and say how nice it was to find girls who still considered themselves feminists. I'm 41 and very few women my age even talk about feminism or women's rights so I'm glad to see girls your age taking up the torch. Great website, great interview with Gloria Steinem! You should be proud of yourself.

Laura Sebastian


Congratulations on the launch of the magazine. I've been looking through it, and it's great. I also wanted to thank you for the advice you gave me about organizing my event. I've aligned myself with Connecticut NOW and they've been such a great help. It actually looks like this might happen. I'm looking forward to many more issue of the F-word. Once again congratulations and continued success.


Hi Melody -- Interesting site & I'm recommending it to several people. I remember when a man being a feminist (me) was unheard of and I am glad to see that some of that ignorance has disappeared. Stay on it, Melody.



I read through almost all of the F-Word and I think you did an awesomejob! I was really impressed with several of the articles and felt like they were a nice primer for inexperienced male feminists like me. Your interview with Gloria was great and I also especially enjoyedthe Logwood, Parang, and Anastasia/Leighton articles. I think you did a fabulous job and I'm already looking forward to the next issue.


Monday, June 06, 2005

F-WORD blog! Woot! :-)

So, we have a blog now! Very exciting. If you have reactions to any of the articles you read on the F-WORD site, ( you can send them along to me at: and I'll post them for all to read! :-) (Unless you're spouting vitriol... then I'll just get grouchy and delete your message. This is a lovin' blog, dammit)