To the rapscallions, upstarts, hellions, and rebels:
I do stupid things. This is one of the stupider things I’ve endeavored to do.
In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t know the first fucking thing about starting a magazine – even a fully online one. I got a bee in my bonnet about it five years ago – a proverbial bolt out of the blue on a long Sunday spent working overtime in my half-lit office building:
What if we had a women’s magazine that treated us like fully realized human beings? A magazine that didn’t pander to or manipulate us – that didn’t dig a vicious thumb into our deepest insecurities to sell vegan mineral foundation and whatever the sweet hell hyaluronic acid is?
Now, as some online magazines have expanded beyond the brand of infantilization pioneered by the likes of Godey’s Lady’s Book and Cosmopolitan, I’ve still often felt alienated by the “feminist” offerings available.
As much as I appreciate their efforts to prove that the feminine things we enjoy are not inherently less worthy – the near-constant emphasis on unicorn frappes, celebrity gossip and inane listicles with only a fringe of serious material feels like it’s trading one limiting spectrum of womanhood for another.
“Listicle” is a real word, now, by the way. Let that sink in.
Do women’s websites have to be pastel? No, seriously, I have as strong an aesthetic sensibility as the next lady-person, and pink can be a fabulous color, but whence lies the granite edifice upon which it is etched that they aaallll have to be pastel?
Of course there are exceptions to this pastel-washing (Bitch sure as shit plays it loud and proud), and of course color scheme is only a symbolic representation of my underlying issue – I want a magazine that takes me seriously and encourages me to take myself seriously.
Ransom Magazine aims to be the publication you’ve always wanted. Insofar as it’s the publication I’ve always wanted and I’m arrogantly assuming some of you agree with me.
So, why “Ransom?”
As I mentioned, the idea for this magazine hit me while I was working overtime one weekend – pulling, sorting, and archiving files. Somewhere in the dust and boredom, it occurred to me how the majority of our time, labor, intellect, and sentiment is claimed by others.
Now, some of those interests – our friends and families, for instance – we’re happy to devote such effort to, and likely receive equally enriching effort in return. Other interests – employers, traditions, social expectations – we have a far more lopsided relationship with.
In its verb form, to ransom is “to free from captivity or punishment by paying a price.”
Ransom aims to support those young people who wish to take charge of their own finite resources – to know their worth, name their price, and demand their due without shame. It encourages and enables community, empathy and human dignity – focusing not just on furthering oneself but on effectively engaging in civic life and enacting institutional change.
“Business as usual,” is a bullshit cop-out. The way it’s always been done isn’t the way it needs to be, and we’re here to raise a little hell and change the world.
Just know, right now, that nothing comes free. A price must be paid – in time or effort or pride or good, old-fashioned scratch – to achieve liberty. But with sincere, wholehearted effort, we can change the world.