As a response to a lack of awareness about feminism and what it means in the East community, on the internet and around the world, the feminist magazine, the HarbingHer, was born. Created by East alumni Ilana Duby, James Fink, and ten other current and past East students, the cutting-edge first issue was released for the first time over the summer on Friday, August third.
“I think [feminism has] lost a lot of face and it’s become extremely stigmatized and become something that people think of as radical,” Duby, the magazine’s editor, said.
Duby feels that feminism has changed from a topic meant to be empowering, to one that is made fun of and stereotyped. Instead of that negative connotation of feminism, the HarbingHer hopes that they can bring awareness to different parts of feminism that need to be addressed. Fellow writer Ayana Curran-Howes feels the same about the stereotype.
“Right now… it has a negative connotation: someone being super, extremely radical and someone who is aggressive and doesn’t shave,” Curran-Howes said.
Duby realized how much the world actually does need feminism when she saw a BuzzFeed article showing pictures of women proclaiming they don’t need it. Many said that they didn’t want a movement that portrayed them as the victim or as weaker than men. The HarbingHer staff feels that this is not what feminism means.
The name of the magazine is very closely related to the Harbinger, which, according to Duby, was taken as an indirect confrontation.
“I think initially the name was inspired by the newspaper [the Harbinger], but after we were out of high school we kind of realized it’s totally unrelated,” Fink, the Chief of Design, said.
According to Fink, the word ‘Harbinger,’ or ‘one that pioneers or initiates a major change,’ still has a lot of meaning with their publication.
To begin the process of creating a publication, they set out for donations from a variety of people, mostly East families and parents. They used the website Indiegogo to raise money and awareness about the project that they were trying to start. This idea, called crowd funding, raised enough money to print their first issue
“[We] hoped that it would inspire [a] better conscious idea of what feminism is in the general population,” Duby said.
The goal is that the new definition of feminism will be very broad: it will be about equality in general. Issue one of the magazine didn’t focus on any specific topic. According to Duby, the only common thread between the stories was women in powerful positions.
The HarbingHer wants each person to have a definition of feminism that they can implement in their own lives. To Curran-Howes, feminism has a specific definition that she feels applies to her.
“It’s a way for women to feel OK with expressing themselves in the way the want to express themselves in their dress and in their demeanor,” Curran-Howes said. “And a way for women to feel beautiful and not have any reservations about it that society might place upon them.”
The future of the magazine is currently undecided, as Duby, Fink and other alumni have graduated. They have passed down the project to current seniors Ali Dastjerdi and Shrushti Mehta.
“We’re probably going to shift more towards an online publication,” says Dastjerdi. “We already have a website up that has no articles on it, so our first task is to get the first edition on the website, then write more on the website.”
Right now, the website is a placeholder for when articles are ready to be posted online. According to Dastjerdi, it has the HarbingHer mission statement and what it is all about, but nothing more. They are also hoping that another print edition will come out in about a year. No matter the format, the HarbingHer hopes to continue spreading awareness and making changes through feminism.