Why do I love Shameless Magazine? Let me count the ways…
Shameless is a grassroots, Canadian alternative to typical teen magazines, focussing on arts, culture and current events and giving voice to “smart, strong, sassy young women and trans youth”.
The magazine is run by a collection of volunteer staff members who are all fiercely passionate about practising and developing an inclusive feminism and championing young writers, editors and artists, particularly those from communities underrepresented in mainstream media. The content for the magazine – which covers everything from DIY crafts to gender politics via sport, technology and health advice – is informed by a close working relationship with a teen advisory panel and has seen the magazine rack up a number of awards since its inception in 2004.
The latest print issue, ‘Youth At Work’ from winter 2011, demonstrates the Shameless principles of social justice and anti-oppression and showcases content that is diverse, bold and inspiring, covering everything from worker’s rights (the future of unions; unpaid internships) to sex work (one woman’s account: ‘Smashing the stigma around sex work’), media issues (racism in the media; copyright advice) to arts (counterculture classics; arts organisation profiles). The combination of entertaining columns and reviews with inspiring accounts of activism and relevant political features is something I only dreamed of in my teenage years!
There are 3 issues a year, but Shameless has now gone digital, which means more content is available via the blog – well worth bookmarking if the awesome post about the passion behind roller derby in Toronto and call out for a queer youth talent show to be hosted by Ivan Coyote are anything to go by!
There are different ways of supporting Shameless, through subscribing, following or joining the Hall of Shameless. Or just shout from the rooftops about how awesome it is (which I would be doing in a more literal sense if I wasn’t currently office-bound).
I recently did a workshop with a group of young women looking at what constitutes critical writing and I asked them about their reading habits – which publications or websites did they return to on a regular basis – blogs written by peers? Online mags? Social media news links? They struggled to name more than 2 websites and none read print regularly. The reasons ranged from lack of awareness (how do you know where to find what you like if you’re not sure what you like yet?) through avoidance (the news is depressing, so why would they seek it out?) to a curiosity yet to be satisfied (nothing speaks ‘to them’). As part of the follow up to workshops, I send out a hit list of links made up of recommendations, personal favourites and sites/zines that I’ve followed a digital paper trail to. Shameless Magazine is on there now and I really hope they check it out!