Liberating Histories team at the Women’s History Network Annual Conference in September

‘A small and not so very important island’: Feminist Address in Women’s Movement Magazines 1968-1990s is the title for our session at the Women’s History Network Annual Conference: ‘Addressing the Nation’, 2-3 September, 2022.

This panel will explore forms of feminist address to the nation in

  • Red Rag (Dr Bazin)
  • Outwrite (Dr Careless)
  • and Shocking Pink (Dr Waters). 


To what extent did feminist magazines of the 1970s-80s ‘address the nation’? From Spare Rib’s region to region campaign to WIRES (Women’s Information, Referral and Enquiry Service) nationwide newsletter, feminist magazines grew far-reaching and affective networks that brought together and gave voice to women across the country.

Feminist periodicals have long been key sites for the mediation of public sphere debate, and have given platforms to feminist activists, journalists, cartoonists and writers. Not only do these periodicals provide a record of feminist ‘address to the nation’, from ‘Reclaim the Night’ to the Night Cleaners Campaign; they also crucially shaped the forms and mediums that feminist address could take, via their headlines and aesthetic, their coordination (via ‘listings’ pages) of national campaigns and events, their reviews and feminist critique of, for example, sexist advertisements, and even their letters pages.

In 1992, a reader wrote in to thank Spare Rib (which had become increasingly international in focus) for reminding

those of us born British that we are living on a small and not so very important island’. 

A Spare Rib reader in 1992

More information about the Women’s History Network annual conference.

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