Gender Issues Journal Founded
New Publication Advocates Women's Studies Concentration
The first issue of a student-written publication devoted to women's issues appeared on campus last week featuring an in-depth discussion of the women's studies concentration.
The editors of the journal, "F/M," said that it will provide a forum in which women's voices may be heard and perspectives on gender issues may be presented by both men and women.
The publication's executive editor, Judith R. Barish '88, began planning one month ago and received official recognition for the venture last Wednesday from Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III.
Barish said that she was troubled by the lack of a women's journal on campus and felt there was a need for it.
The eight-page newsprint issue focuses primarily on the Women's Studies concentration through editorials and articles written by undergraduates.
The staff planned to distribute the first issue in advance of yesterday's vote by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences approving the Women's Studies concentration.
"We sped up production to get it out before the vote not so much to influence but to inform the Harvard community as to what it was all about," said Barish.
"We wanted the faculty to know that we as students support the concentration and that there is interest in women's issues," said the executive editor.
In the cover story, Jody Dushay '89 writes that undergraduates interested in studying women's issues have no way of pursuing that interest in the absence of a formal women's studies concentration.
Dushay describes her own unsuccessful attempts to create a program of study that would allow her to focus on women's issues and biology.
"At their November 18th meeting, I hope the faculty recognizes both the legitimacy of the need and the reality of the interest," she concludes.
The issue also includes articles about rape, sexual harassment, and sexism in the Harvard community, and movie reviews that examine the ways women are portrayed in films.
"We are trying to strengthen the sense of a women's community here at Harvard. It's a hard place to be a female," said Barish. "We want to legitimate women's perspectives and feminism which have suffered from bad publicity," said the Adams House junior.
The staff received funding of about $400 for its first issue from the Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) but hopes to become financially independent by selling ads. Barish said she was confident that RUS would continue to support the publication financially if necessary.
Barish said that the paper will print a wide range of views as long as they represent gender issues. "The function is for students to become more aware of gender issues, intellectually, socially, and politically," said Barish.
The F/M staff aims to put out three issues per semester once the paper has been established, but will probably only publish three more issues during this academic year. "We haven't had any meetings, and we're still getting the whole thing organized," said business manager and writer Peg F. Pisani '86-'88.
"I'm involved because I'm interested in the issues the paper deals with. It's an informal activity in that there is no real hierarchy and no comp. We just get the paper out," Pisani said.