CRITICISM, FEEDBACK, CHANGES
BY PENNY & LIZA
CRITICISM, FEEDBACK, CHANGES
GUESS WHAT, WE'RE LATE
You may have noticed that this issue of DYKE is 4 months late, and that we have combined the summer and fall issues. We're sorry. We're still having problems with deadlines, because we're new, and because we are not organized well enough. We want DYKE to come out as regularly as it should and we're sorry that we don't always succeed. Of course, every subscription will cover four issues.
CRITICISM & FEEDBACK
In woman and through the grapevine, most of the feedback we've gotten about DYKE has been more about feelings than about specific articles. All of this feedback has had an effect on us, but the more specific it is, the easier it is to understand it and apply it.
It seemed that of the women who had some negative feelings about DYKE that the source of their objections was our tone. They felt that we were insensitive to other Dykes who could not or do not choose to live as we do. They felt our tone was sometimes rigid and exclusive. This is not how we meant to sound. This is not how we feel.
We know we are strong and self confident Lesbians. We value these qualities in all women and we wanted to project them in DYKE. Because of our ignorance of how to translate these thoughts and feelings into print, a false impression was created that we don't care about other Lesbian's lives. We're sorry this impression was created. We want DYKE to be about the lives of all of us and we are working towards this goal.
During the past months we have become increasingly aware of the great range of opinions and priorities among Lesbians. We're finding out that many of the problems of the Lesbian community come from all of us behaving as if we share or should share the same assumptions. This expectations creates dissension and frustration. Instead of allowing this diversity to cause fights among us, in DYKE we are going to try to explore Lesbian diversity as a source of strength.
We're still in the process of learning how to produce a magazine. As usual, there are few Lesbian role models. The following are some of the changes that we are trying out in an effort to make the magazine work better.
We have decided to have theme issues because the basic theme of Lesbian experience is to general to be workable. Having theme issues, Lesbians of different classes, races, ages and interests will hopefully participate so we can present a full spectrum of Lesbian experience relating to one topic. We hope that you will write about any of the themes that you are interested in, and that you will tell us themes that you would like to see.
Here are a few of the themes we are going to have: Poster, Sports, Animals, Health, Black/Ethnic/Rainbow Dykes. We know that Lesbians are involved in all these things, from many different aspects, and we'd like to present as much of a variety of Lesbian experience as we can.
Our winter issue 1976-77, our first anniversary issue, will not be in magazine form. It will be a four color poster. We are looking for a Lesbian created design for the poster. See the back cover for details. We think that it is interesting and important to experiment with different forms of print communication. Repetition of a particular form can be useful, and may turn out to be the best form for DYKE. Nevertheless, we would like to see if we can change that form once in a while, while still maintaining our basic focus and function.
Flier for submissions to Black/Ethnic/Rainbow Dykes issue of DYKE A Quarterly. Illustration by Roberta Gregory
We want to print material by Lesbians from all different Ethnic groups. How you as an individual Lesbian, and how other Lesbians in your Ethnic group, relate to Lesbian issues and the rest of life. How your origins and the politics and aesthetic of your Ethnic group shape your consciousness. Of course this includes a class analysis as well, but we would like to print material with more ethnic emphasis, as this has not been discussed much in print.
Recently we have become aware of anti-semitic feelings among Lesbians, which made us begin to think about what it means to be Jewish Lesbians. We were going to write about this for this issue, when a reader suggested we do a whole issue by and about Black/Ethnic/Rainbow Dykes. We hope that Dykes who identify with this will write about any aspect of their lives which expresses their experience of being a Black/Ethnic/Rainbow Dyke.
Traditionally women have had a special connection to animals. But this has generally been discussed from a male point of view. Women can and have learned a lot from animals. The relationships between us can be satisfying, healthy, consciousness raising, productive and life sustaining. We would like to hear about women who work with animals either in a professional or non professional way. Veterinarians and para-veterinarians, trainers, breeders, farmers. We would like to print articles about Lesbians relationships with animals, observations on animal behavior and personality from a Lesbian point of view. Is anybody lovers with an animal?
Lesbians are involved in many different athletic disciplines. We are interested in hearing about womens' training schools, and about all women competitions, and alternative athletic gatherings that are not competitive. Coming out to your team. Playing on bar teams. Organization and structure of Lesbian team sports. Herstorical Lesbian athletes. Any sports related Lesbian stories, thoughts, photographs and graphics. And of course let's not forget gym teachers.
ALL WOMAN WORLD
In this issue, we ask you to imagine a world where men have not existed for several generations. One possible way to write about this would be to take a very specific part of life, such as food, libraries, schools, money, farming, architecture, music, communications, language, work, or anything, and write about it as it exists in an all woman world. There is of course, an infinite variety of ways to express this idea, and we'd like to print as many as we can.
In this issue there is an article on taking care of your teeth. In the Health issue we are looking for articles that inform and teach us about about care for all of our bodies. Different parts of the body, and the Lesbian body as a whole.
We will continue to run articles that are not necessarily related to the theme of the issue, so don't hesitate to send us non-theme related issues.
Many women felt that three dollars was too high a price to pay for a magazine. But it costs that much to produce such a long issue. We don't want to cut down on the quality so we are cutting down on the number of pages so the price can go down. Most of the money that is spent producing DYKE goes to Lesbians. We have Lesbian typesetters and Lesbian printers, and all the contributors are Lesbians who are paid for their work, although we don't pay ourselves. Since we don't know of any paper, ink, or art supply companies owned by women, this part of the cost goes to male businesses. Of course, a lot goes to the US Male System
In our last issue we did not respond in the magazine to the letters of criticism, although we did answer them personally. At the time we felt it would be unfair and defensive to take advantage of our position as publishers to get in the last word. However, several readers told us that not answering the letters made it seem as if we did not care about or respect what the letters were saying. They felt we had a responsibility to respond. We agree, and now we are answering the letters in the magazine.
Only one woman has given us feedback about the layout and design. We would like to have more feedback on this. For more flexibility and as an experiment, we are trying a three column per page layout this issue. Please tell us how you like it. And remember, we always need graphic and photographs.
ABOUT THE CLIT PAPERS IN #2
We ourselves had some strong objections to parts of the Spring issue. There were several parts of CLIT Papers #2 that we thought were anti-animal, racist and generally offensive. However, the majority of CLIT we liked and wanted to print. During talks with CLIT women, they told us we had to print "all or nothing and after days of discussion between ourselves, we decided to print it all. We debated a long time about whether to run a disclaimer stating our objections. We made what we now realize was a bad decision. Most readers naturally assumed that we agree with everything CLIT wrote, as we said nothing to the contrary. Belatedly, here are some of our objections.
We objected to some of the symbols and asked CLIT to leave them out or redraw them, but they refused. Among the symbols in question was "beauty" a drawing of a sitting woman with straight light colored hair. We thought this was racist, once again showing Beauty as white skinned straight haired blondness. Another hieroglyph that we did not like was "stop" showing a horse with her nose raised up and a rope pulling on her mouth. This is an ineffective and cruel wa to stop a horse. We thought that all the drawings that included women in long dresses and long straight pale hair such as "to bring" "to make love" "to fight" were both racist and weird. We also thought it was strange and depressing that there were seven different transportation vehicles listed, while the whole animal queendom was represented by one symbol. They listed stereo, radio, TV, telephone, typewriter, taperecorder, atom bomb, and only one symbol to represent the whole plant world. We had other objections to catwoman, but these were our most strongly felt ones.
WOMEN ARE SCARED OF REVOLUTION
We did not want to print this poem originally. It was based on a poem written by a man. It was not clear to whom it was addressed. It talked about women f*cking and moaning for c*ck, and other activities that most Lesbians don't do. It didn't seem to be addressed to the same Lesbians that the rest of the CLIT papers was addressed to. It was not clear what was meant by "revolution." We had a long discussion with CLIT about the poem, but they were resolved to include it.
Some readers pointed out the racist aspects of African Feminism by Amazon Dreamer, a white woman. We now see that it is racist for a white woman to write about Black or ethnic women's culture and experience. And that it always is most true and real to speak from ones own experience. Amazon Dreamer, in the introduction to African Feminism, seems to try to speak for Black women, but she never makes it clear that she is white, nor does she speak specifically of her own experience or of Lesbian experience. Hero source of information was a book of white women anthropologists studies of Black African women.
Another objection we had to CLIT that we did not fully formulate until after the issue was out wa one of self-identification. Many Lesbians objected to the obscurity as to who CLIT was, how many were in it, who wrote the articles, etc. We do not object to pseudonyms, but we think it is a mistake for a woman to completely obscure her identity and not place herself within the context of her own writings.