42 Times Ms. Made History


Ms. has been reporting, rebelling and truth-telling for 42 years—and we have no plans to stop. Over the last four decades, we’ve been on the front lines of the women’s movement and we’ve never shied away from taboo topics.

Relive some of our history-making moments below, and tell us what Ms. means to you in the comments. Then, become a Ms. Partner by making a one-time or monthly sustaining donation. Help us keep our fierce, feminist reporting in print and online!

1972: Ms. Launches

The preview issue is sent to subscribers, including such classic articles as “The Housewife’s Moment of Truth,” “Welfare Is a Women’s Issue” and “We Have Had Abortions,” a “coming out” petition signed by 53 prominent American women who had abortions when they were illegal (or were in solidarity). In July, the first issue to hit newsstands sells out.

1972: “Stories for Free Children”

Ms. founding editor Letty Cottin Pogrebin creates “Stories for Free Children” and works with Marlo Thomas on Free to Be… You and Me.

1973: “Never Again”

Ms. publishes a shocking photo of a woman, dead from an unsafe back-alley abortion, as a way to remember thou- sands who died or were injured by laws outlawing abortion.

1973: “The Ticket That Might Have Been”

Ms. features African American Rep. Shirley Chisholm, who made a historic run for Democratic presidential nomination with Texas state legislator Sissy Farenthold as her VP, on our cover.

1974: “Baseball Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”

Little League announces it will admit girls after two- year “Give Girls a Chance” campaign by NOW (with support from Ms.)

1975: “JoAnne Little: The Dialectics of Rape”

Feminist scholar Angela Davis analyzes in the pages of Ms. the intersection of sex, race and class in the case of an African American woman charged with murdering a white prison guard who sexually assaulted her.

1976: “The Truth About Battered Wives”

Ms. is first national magazine to discuss domestic violence.

1977: “Why Women Don’t Like Their Bodies”

Ms. raises the critical issue of body image.

1977: “Sexual Harassment on the Job and How to Stop It”

Groundbreaking cover story precedes by nine years the Supreme Court’s sexual harassment decision and by nearly 15 years Anita Hill’s famous testimony.

1978: “If Men Could Menstruate”

Gloria Steinem imagines how different the world would be if it weren’t women who had monthly periods—like, sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free.

1979: “There Are Alternatives to Mastectomy”

Ms. reports that lumpectomies followed by radiation can be just as effective.

1979: The Decade of Women: A Ms. History of the Seventies in Words and Pictures

An excerpt from this book, coedited by Ms. editors Suzanne Braun Levine and Harriet Lyons, is the cover story of the last Ms. issue of the ’70s.

1980: “The International Crime of Genital Mutilation”

Landmark Ms. report makes people aware of this practice. World Health Organization takes up FGM for the first time that year.

1981: “Life on the Global Assembly Line”

Ms. shows exploitation of women in U.S. sweatshops, South Korean textile factories and Ciudad Juarez maquiladores.

1983: Sally Ride Flies

Ms. honors the first U.S. woman in space with a cover story.

1983: “Will a Woman Make the Difference?”

Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman vice presidential candidate of a major U.S. party, graces the Ms. cover.

1985: “Date Rape: The Story of an Epidemic and Those Who Deny It”

Ms. uncovers prevalence of sexual assault against college women and commissions a national study of date rape.

1986: The New York Times Finally Uses “Ms.”

In a note to Gloria Steinem from editor A.M. Rosenthal, the paper of record finally recognizes that women need not be identified by marital status.

1989: “It’s Not Nice to Mess With Mother Nature”

Ms. teaches Ecofeminism 101.

1990: “Sex, Lies and Advertising”

Gloria Steinem concludes that magazines can’t be independent while taking commercial ads. Ms. is reborn as an ad-free bimonthly, with Robin Morgan as editor.

1991: Anita Hill Testifies

Sexual harassment takes center stage in Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas’ hearings. The next year, Hill speaks out in Ms.

1993: “Dispatches From Bosnia”

Ms. reports on ethnic cleansing and rape campaigns in war-torn former Yugoslavia, exposing rape as an instrument of war.

1996: “Made in the U.S.A.”

Ms. editor Helen Zia goes undercover in a New York garment factory to expose sweatshop conditions.

1997: Taliban Exposed

Ms. introduces readers to the horrors of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, the same year the Feminist Majority Foundation launches an awareness campaign. In 1998, the U.S. and U.N. refuse to recognize the Taliban until women’s human rights are restored.

1997: Inside Ms.: 25 Years of the Magazine and the Feminist Movement

Longtime Ms. editor Mary Thom chronicles the history of the magazine so far.

1999: Ms. Goes Indie

Ms. becomes women-owned and independent again, supported by women activists/investors, with Marcia Gillespie as editor.

2000: “Running for Her Life”

Ms. cover woman Hillary Clinton becomes only first lady to win elective office (N.Y. senator).

2001: “What You Need to Know About RU-486”

Ms. gives women the 411 on the drug RU-486 (known as mifepristone in the U.S.), which the FDA finally approved in 2000 for medical abortions, following a 12-year campaign led by the Feminist Majority Foundation.

2001: Feminist Majority Foundation Becomes Publisher of Ms.

2003: “New Battleground for Survivors of Priest Child Sex Abuse”

Ms. reports on California law that extends statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases, thus increasing the chance of bringing perpetrators to justice.

2005: “A Shot Against Cervical Cancer”

Ms. is one of first magazines to write about how the HPV vaccine can help women prevent certain cancers.

2005: “Hanging by a Thread: What’s at Stake if We Lose the Supreme Court”

Ms. shows that it’s not just abortion rights at risk, but the right to birth control as well.

2006: We Had Abortions

Echoing the pioneering petition from the premier issue of Ms., thousands of women sign on to “We Had Abortions” campaign.

2006: “Paradise Lost”

Ms. exposes sweatshops in Saipan, a U.S. territory in the Pacific, where exploited workers are exempt from U.S. labor laws yet manufacture “Made in USA” garments. Not long after, Congress ends the exemption, putting the territory under U.S. labor laws.

2008: “Good Ole Boys”

Ms. exposes Ward Connerly—whose anti-affirmative-action crusade seriously impacted women and minorities—for his close ties to business interests and the huge salaries he drew from his nonprofits. Later that year, Connerly ends his crusade.

2009: “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like”

Capturing the nation’s high expectations, Ms. depicts President Obama as a potential superhero opening his jacket to reveal a feminist T-shirt. Shortly after his inauguration, Obama ends the Global Gag Rule, and the first bill he signs into law is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

2010: “Not a Lone Wolf”

One year after abortion provider Dr. George Tiller is murdered, Ms. publishes an award-winning investigation of ties between his killer and a network of anti- abortion extremists.

2011: “Most. Effective. Speaker. Ever”

Time and Newsweek never featured Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on their covers, despite her accomplishments—which Ms. enumerates as it puts her on the cover a second time.

2011: “Rape Is Rape” Victory

Our cover story is part of a larger feminist campaign leading to the FBI changing its archaic 1929 definition of rape, which excluded most rapes.

2012: “War on Women!”

We document numerous political attacks on our rights and our bodies, using a phrase originally used by Ms. at the March for Women’s Lives in 2004.

2013: Fast-Food Workers Strike

Fast-food workers in Los Angeles use our Fall 2013 cover image as a symbol of their movement as they march for a $15/hr minimum wage.

2014: “Blowing the Whistle on Campus Rape”

Ms. leads the charge on combatting campus sexual assault and reports on new tools to fight it. Our coverage is soon followed in the mainstream press with a Time magazine cover story.

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  1. Do you have links for these? I’d love to read many of them.

  2. Having been an avid reader of Ms. I find it hard to remember that there was a time when Ms. magazine did not exist. Sadly, until I was 19 years old, there was no serious woman’s magazine dealing in depth with issues at home in the US or around the world! How I wish there had been such an informative magazine when I was a young woman growing up. I hope that the magazine weathers the usual storms as each generation decides whether it is important to have a magazine that does not just deal with the outer fluff of some women’s lives like make-up, fashion, love and yes sex. While Ms. also dealt with sex, unlike the other magazines that just dealt with it in a superficial manner, Ms. went in depth and dealt with sexual issues; such sex and power, pleasure and physiology, female circumcision, sex trafficking, rape, sex and war, as well as differing cultural sexual norms around the world just to name one area. Ms did not just talk about how to dress for the work place, but it discussed the various views of women in high powered positions and how they got there, dealing with questions like did they have to act like man or could they retain their femininity in the business world, did women make the same monies when promoted to the same or equivalent positions and why or why not. Often different sides of the issue were explored as were different perspectives on feminists and whether feminism was even needed. Another gift that was always included in Ms. were recommendations and reviews of books written by women including poetry, fiction and non fiction as well as excerpts from longer books or entire short stories. There was also the commentary at the back on advertising awakening many women for the first time as to how they were being manipulated to look at themselves as only objects. I owe Ms. a great deal for supporting my journey through life from that as a young woman to that of a Senior with hopefully another 30 years ahead of me for yes Ms. also dealt with issues of health, and for instance the problem in medicine with drug tests only being done on men even though women’s bodies were very different. While I wish that Ms. had been there as a resource while I was growing up, I am grateful that has been there for both my children and now my grandchildren. It is still one of the only serious women’s magazines, and certainly one of the few worth reading. I hope that Ms. outlasts my life time and is there for many more generations to come as in depth reporting is becoming a rare commodity. Thank you to all those at Ms. and to all who have contributed to Ms. to make it the magazine that I can rely on for information.

  3. The 1977 issue (“why women don’t like their bodies”) was the first one I received as a new subscriber. I was 14 at the time. Thank you Ms. for validating the feminist instincts I had as a teenager and for continuing to offer new insights to me as an adult. May you do the same for future readers and activists!

  4. My mom was a battered wife and I clearly remember Ms Magazine’s cover story. I don’t remember if she read it or not but it was covered in the news and/or she saw it at the checkout stand. It was the first time my mom recognized that what was going on in our house had a name and there were options. Unfortunately, she never left and the abuse continued. She passed away in 2012–50-something years of a marriage full of abuse. All I can think about is what an empty life she had. I only wished she had something in her to believe she could do it on her own.

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