2012 Review of Lesbian magazines in Autostraddle Magazine. Including DAQ
April 29, 2023
I don't think I've posted this before. I ran into it following a link on Pinterest, of all places. I love Pinterest. Don't act surprised.
I'm including only the review of DYKE, but do follow this link to see the reviews of other magazines.
Our Legacy: Six Lesbian Magazines From The Then Before Now
4. DYKE MAGAZINE
“We want to publish a magazine that fulfills our need for analysis, communication and news of Lesbian culture. We believe that “Lesbian culture” presumes a separatist analysis. If Lesbian culture is intermixed with straight culture, it is no longer Lesbian; it is heterosexual or heterosocial because energy and time are going to men. Lesbian community – Lesbian culture- means Lesbian only DYKE is a magazine for Dykes only! We will speak freely among ourselves. We are not interested in telling the straight world what we are doing. In fact, he hope they never even see the magazine. It is none of their business. If they chance to see it, we hope they will think it is mindless gobbledegook. We are already thinking in ways that are incomprehensible to them.”
In 1975, Liza Cowan and Penny House — best friends since the age of four — launched DYKE magazine. They were in their mid-twenties, living in New York, and wanted to be part of the burgeoning cultural conversation around lesbianism, and lesbian separatism in particular. Most lesbian separatists believed that the best way to live was completely without men altogether, and that women should band together and form their own self-nurturing communities free of ties to the patriarchal world. If you hate men, like me and Julie Goldman, then you probably think this is a pretty bang-up idea. Of course, it was more functional in theory than in practice and certain elements of the philosophy would be considered highly problematic — and often transphobic, racist or elitist — today.
The magazine made it through six issues before having to close, and now Liza and Penny have posted a great deal of DYKE’s archives online. Material included articles on “theoretical politics, live events, place, current and past history, media, fashions, music, home economics, literature, animal lore, health, applied sciences and gossip.” Basically, it’s like an amazing lesbian tumblr + livejournal, but in print and for the 70’s — which is why it’s so fascinating. The writing in DYKE is relatively personal and the writers are relatively inexperienced (their only “big name” is Alix Dobkin). You won’t find polemics from Audre Lourde or Adrienne Rich in DYKE, but you’ll find the closest thing you can to reading the diary of, basically, middle-class white lesbian separatists in the mid-70’s — complete with the angry lesbian commenters!
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