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Local feminist magazine Off Our Backs needs D.C.’s support. But first, D.C. needs to know what it is.
The quarterly news journal, which has been churning out feminist copy from the heart of Adams Morgan since 1970, bills itself as “the longest surviving feminist newspaper in the United States.” But if you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone. I just discovered the publication today via an event posting on District scene blog Brightest Young Things advertising a benefit show called “Save Our Backs.”
That’s one way to get your 38-year-old, dead-tree feminist mag some attention: Book a punk band (Turboslut), a stand-up comedienne (Kat Wilderotter), and an up-and-coming DJ (Natty Boom), then send out a call for last-ditch, mag-saving donations.
“Like a lot of publications, we are struggling,” says Karla Mantilla, a member of the Off Our Backs collective. According to Mantilla, the benefit is a two-pronged attack: One, “raise funds,” and two, “just let the community know that we’re here.” Mantilla & co. are hoping that the concert, scheduled for this Sunday at the District of Columbia Arts Center, will not only keep the mag funded, but also encourage a new wave of feminists to raise their voices.
“We’re run by collective,” says Mantilla. “We don’t believe in bosses telling you to do this or do that. Here, you can come up with ideas and find a network of people to help support you.” The magazine’s low profile can be a good thing for local women looking for an outlet. Says Mantilla, “Off Our Backs is nice because we try to empower women to run with their ideas and make them happen. A woman off the street can come in and design the cover.”
Feminist web designers would also be welcomed. “We’ve been running in print for a long time, but we’re trying to transition to Web as soon as we can,” says Mantilla.
The fundraiser will be held on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m. The District of Columbia Arts Center is located at 2438 18th Street NW.