Fringe Magazine (Feminism, February 2007)
Fringe Magazine’s Feminism issue is bursting with refreshing and candid short stories, interviews, poetry, photographs, and non-fiction essays. Standout pieces include “Young Mother: Three Portraits” (poetry), “The Harlot’s Curse: Feminism and Prostitution” (non-fiction essay), “Wanting” (short story), and “The Sideboard” (photograph).
“The Harlot’s Curse: Feminism and Prostitution”, by Kate Morris, takes a look at how feminism has always been divided on the issues of sexuality, i.e. “that sex is understood as either the primary source of women’s oppression or the primary source of women’s liberation”. Morris explores the fact that feminism has tended to ignore the concept of the prostitute, and what this means in terms of feminism’s political power.
“Young Mother: Three Portraits”, by Lenore Wilson captures a certain rawness and desperation of women trapped by their respective families. The husbands are abusive, as are the sons, none of whom have any regard for their weak wife/mother. In the third poem, “Fat Carol”, the now-fat wife dreams of being thin once more amidst her horrendous trailer park existence. The anger and resentment pile on, and there is nothing to do but eat. “Wanting” by Amy L. Clark could almost serve as a prelude to “Young Mother”. In “Wanting”, a 21-year-old woman holds the new baby of her young friend, now a wife and mother. This woman wanted her friend to finish college before she had a baby, not to be a mother so soon, and for the baby to have a different father. She appears to greatly fear what her friend will become—the unhappy, overweight housewife we see in “Fat Carol”.
“The Sideboard”, photographed by David Barnes, depicts the back of a nude woman on the cutting board, the meat cleavers at her side. The photo seems a biting criticism of, and commentary on, the American media. “If you are going to portray women as slabs on meat, why go half way?” is the question the artist poses. The image is stark, beautiful, and powerful.
I found all of the above artistic efforts to be provocative, insightful, original, inventive and, therefore, well worth my time, and would highly recommend them to those people in particular who truly ponder the human condition.