How Women’s Magazines Ignited a Revolution

When Ms. was founded in 1971, the vast majority of publications for women were about homemaking, parenting advice and fashion and beauty tips. Ms. was far from that, created with the intention of giving a national voice to the feminist movement of the ‘70s—and railing against the idea of the perfect homemaking housewife that was perpetuated by many of the other “for women” publications.

It’s a setting that doesn’t seem too foreign. “The levers of power are very imbalanced still to this very day, not only on sex but also race and ethnicity,” said Kathy Spillar, Ms executive editor. “Ms. has played a major role in constantly putting that in front of the public so that people understand.”

(This essay is part of the “Feminist Journalism is Essential to Democracy” project—Ms. magazine’s latest installment of Women & Democracy, presented in partnership with the International Women’s Media Foundation.)