Make Muse

Here at Magalleria, there’s a magazine for everyone. And when it comes to women’s magazines, there’s probably more than one magazine for one person. There’s something for for female guitarists, for mothers, crafters, the whimsical and the academic. Make Muse has joined the ranks of our shelves as a societal standard smasher, covering wellness, education, entertainment, the body, community – and more.

Based in The Bronx, New York, Make Muse’s concept integrates women, trans-women and non-binary individuals under its umbrella, creating a safe space in which to discuss issues which affect daily life. Its eclectic topics are mirrored with equally eclectic format, compiling opinion pieces, poetry, experiences and interviews.

I’ve encountered quite a few publications which touch on the topic of feminism in a more passive than practical way. Make Muse is definitely the latter. Body positivity becomes more tangible with the recommendation of brands which suit diverse shapes, and make-up which caters for a wide array of skin tones. The male gaze is not an unbeatable issue, but one that can be overcome by female friendships and solidarity. Gender bias in schools can be remedied with a simple change in language. In all these cases, big issues become digestible and above all, easier to overcome.

The graphic design and typography have been played with to create a scrapbook affect, although I feel it could be pushed even further, so it strays outside of the safe and formulaic. After all, if breaking boundaries is your thing, why not smash the layout norms too? That being said, it is entertaining to the eye and mostly clear in its communication.

Let’s not shirk the fact that it has packed in a lot and it is a meaty magazine with topics to suit teenagers and students of sociology and gender alike, as being a well-researched and accessible text to learn from.  

Here, feminism is not a passive gesture, but a belief and one which encourages action. It is not afraid to get elbow deep in the complex world of politics and gender norms. A woman may wear red lipstick when she previously thought she never could, she may love to bake and wear dresses, and she is still a feminist. The reminder of its inclusivity is a reassurance. And the simplest action is often just support. Near the end is a great feature on female filmmakers from around the world, and Ro Jackson’s discussion on the media coverage of female athletes’ sites the success of female football inBritain partly due to its support by not only female supporters, but male ones too.

First issues often have teething problems, and the biggest problem is often the best: too much content, not enough direction. There is some unnecessary repetition in the beginning ‘about’ section and editor’s letter, which really hammers a point which was explicit on the first instance.A few articles come across as heavy-handed and lacking finesse. That being said, I only take this as first issue nervousness, often too overzealous to be completely clear which inevitably muddles the final result, but I believe this is not a lasting trait. It’s definitely one to get onboard with now, because I see great things on the horizon. Whilst this one packs a lot of punches, the next issue of Make Muse is sure to be a knockout.

Libby Borton

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