Thirty years ago, there was a magazine for South Carolina women and their art, ideas, experiences, and concerns. This magazine was called Auntie Bellum and was first published in 1977. The founding editors wrote in the inaugural pages that “this kind of publication is long overdue. Women here have lacked some necessary tools for examining what experiences they have in common with those of other women.”
Today, Auntie Bellum is being revived by a new group of Columbia women. Though the original magazine only ran for four issues, it featured women of all different backgrounds and covered many different subjects. Auntie Bellum was a place for artists, activists, hair stylists, and beauty queens to write about everything from women’s history to health, politics to poetry. Meeghan Kane, the new editor, aims to pay homage to the original publication and grow a community for southern women.
“Like the original,” says Kane, “we’d like to focus on arts and culture, politics and health.” The magazine wants to show particular attention to the issues of domestic violence and reproductive rights, especially how they are being debated in the South Carolina State House. As a safe space for women to talk about all subjects, Auntie Bellum will “publish survivors’ stories from a broad range of experiences, including rape and assault, and struggles with sexual orientation, harassment, and discrimination,” says Kane. Auntie Bellum is looking for article-length content about any subject pertaining to southern women, including “the music and art they’re creating, the jokes they’re telling, and the stands they’re taking.” Not to leave the original publication in the past, the magazine also to include a great deal of southern women’s history.
Auntie Bellum is as necessary a resource for women today as in 1977. The original issues give evidence that there were more abortion clinics open back then than there are today. “Equal pay, sexual harassment, and domestic violence are all, unbelievably, still hotly debated topics,” says Kane. Auntie Bellum’s mission is to amplify voices who have the ideas and will to bring about changing the inequalities still affecting southern women. Kane hopes to include podcasts, photography, videos, and art in the publication and its website, “to get a bunch of women involved, and give us a broader reach and a longer run.”
The magazine will have a website up in early April, and plans on having its first print issue by the end of the year. The women involved are Meeghan Kane, Roxy Lenzo, Heather Green, Courtney Phillips, Sara Kennedy, Jenni Brennison, Brittany Braddock, Karla Turner, and Betty Benns. Auntie Bellum aims to be an inclusive publication, inviting anyone to speak who has a story to tell, regardless of age, gender, or sexuality.
For more information about Auntie Bellum, check out their Facebook page at facebook.com/AuntieBellumMagazine or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org