One of the boldest launches of 2015, Ladybeard is a playful feminist magazine that aims to inspire conversation around themes that are traditionally stifled or misrepresented by the general media.
What is Ladybeard?
Ladybeard is a feminist print magazine that takes the form and format of mainstream ‘women’s’ glossy magazines but reinvents the content. We work thematically – our first issue was Sex and the next issue is on the Mind. These themes, and the ones we’re planning on taking on in the future, are ones that are either under-represented or misrepresented in traditional women’s media. We want to break them open and share as many perspectives and experiences instead of one, homogenised ‘norm’ of the mind or sex or what anything else ‘should’ be.
What makes it different to the rest?
We do our utmost to remove ourselves from the magazine and instead have people speak for themselves. We want it to be as accessible as we can make it. We don’t have ads, we don’t make a profit and we price it as low as we can. It’s also huge! The first issue was 192 pages and the second issue is around that too.
Who makes Ladybeard?
There are seven of us: three co-editors (Kitty Drake, Madeleine Dunnigan, Sadhbh O’Sullivan), two arts editors (Hannah Abel-Hirsch, Tyro Heath) and two designers (Scarlet Evans, Bronya Meredith). It’s all collaborative and a huge job – we all work on it constantly outside of our actual work hours.
Who reads it?
Whoever can get their hands on it! We’ve had a huge range of people telling us they read it, which is really exciting. We were inspired by ‘women’s’ magazines but we’re not just for women – we want it to be interesting and exciting for people of all genders, ages and sexualities.
Why do you work in magazines?
We make Ladybeard because we love doing it, and we think (hope) it addresses something urgent. All of us actually work in something else and make Ladybeard in our ‘spare’ time. Magazines are beautiful and exciting and allow you to address things in an exciting way: both materially and intellectually.
Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?
We all work full time, so mainly our jobs! Otherwise we run the website (taking a bit of a hiatus at the moment). We each work in different industries: journalism, film, ethical fashion, graphic design, architecture, photography and publishing.
What would you change about Ladybeard if you could?
It would be great if it didn’t depend on steady sales and money to produce it. And it would be amazing to have someone else to transcribe and write credits! As much as we love making the magazine, those bits can be a little boring…
Where do you see Ladybeard in five years?
There’s an amazing New Yorker cartoon in which an employer asks the same question of an employee. The employee answers something like: ‘in the same job, with a little bit more responsibility, and on the same wage.’ It perfectly distills the stagnant feeling of employment in the arts – it’s very difficult to progress, or progress quickly. Workloads increase without the proportionate financial compensation. Ladybeard allows escape from this – to do something you love on your own terms. In five years, we hope to be stable, regular and making a good magazine.