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Ms. Magazine celebrates 50-year anniversary with discussion panel at Hammer Museum

Pictured is Carmen Rios, Dolores Huerta, Michelle Bratcher Goodwin, Elizabeth Smeal, and Katherine Spillar. The group came together to discuss Ms. Magazine’s 50 year anniversary at the Hammer Museum Oct. 5. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Sharla Steinman

Oct. 12, 2023 4:02 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 12 at 10:49 p.m.

Ms. Magazine celebrated its 50-year anniversary at the Hammer Museum through a discussion panel Oct. 5.

Since the magazine’s inception in 1973, Ms. Magazine has been a source of news from a feminist perspective, Ms. Magazine Executive Director Katherine Spillar said.

Spillar discussed the legacy of the magazine and the future of feminism with other feminists and activists during the panel.

“For all of its 50 years, it has been a touchstone of the feminist movement, not just reporting the news, but often making it – popularizing ideas, sparking laws and even creating new vocabulary, setting trends and launching new scholarship,” Spillar said.

Carmen Rios – the magazine’s consulting digital editor and a feminist writer, podcast producer and host – said Ms. Magazine was recently redesigned to allow the magazine to produce more content on their website and social media.

“I saw so many gaps online and where feminist conversations were missing,” Rios said. “ It was a space where we could do what Ms. does best, more often to reach more people and to platform more voices.”

Michelle Bratcher Goodwin, the executive producer of Ms. Studios and an expert on constitutional law and global health policy, was asked why she wanted to create a podcast with Ms. Magazine. She said she didn’t think there was a better place to have a conversation to elevate issues and concerns without being edited. She added that her podcast, “On the Issues,” rose to be in the top 2% of all podcasts quickly after its development.

Dolores Huerta, the founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union – alongside Cesar Chavez – said the Ms. Magazine article, “The Green Motel,” was a cornerstone in her organizing efforts with farmworkers when dealing with coming forward with sexual harassment and assault cases.

Women often had to meet with a labor contractor at a motel before harvests to have sex in order to be given a job as a farmworker, added Heurta, who is a labor, LGBTQ+ and women’s rights activist and 2012 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama.

The panelists also spoke about the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and the federal right to abortion, and how Ms. Magazine has covered what was on the horizon with the safety of women’s reproductive rights.

“With us understanding Dobbs and what it’s about, I think one critical thing is that in Ms. Magazine, this was being talked about in advance, even this history with regard to policing and surveilling women’s reproduction, dating back to the 80s and 90s,” Goodwin said.

Following the panel, there was a book sale and signing of “50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution” with light refreshments.

In addition to the event at the Hammer Museum, Spillar and the other speakers said they plan to hold other events across the country to celebrate the 50th anniversary book and discuss feminism.

“We are organizing more than 30 events across the country to bring together local feminist communities to explore paths forward during this time of tremendous backlash and rising authoritarianism here in the United States,” Spillar said.

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Sharla Steinman | City and Crime Editor
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
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