Don’t just take our word for it — here’s some background reading on why we’re depending on your support (and why we’re not alone.)
“There’s a gushing [on sites devoted to queer women],” Thomas explained. “There’s kind of a, ‘Wow, she’s hot.’ It’s important to have a place that says, ‘You’re hot.’ People need to feel that they’re attractive, that they’re worthy of love, that they have a place in the world. Because so often the message they get is the opposite.”
“…while Autostraddle remains in operation and everybody who works here is paid, everybody is also desperately underpaid and we still lack basic support staff (I still do the accounting, for example) that big media takes for granted. We scrape by. We don’t have an app, we don’t do video or Snapchat, there’s no social media strategist, no podcast network, no ad team. We work 12 hour days. Writing is my number one skill and passion, but there are months when all I have time for is the business part, and that sucks.
The queer women’s community has long prioritized community over financial stability, but there has to be a way to maintain both, as Olivia Travel has done. What TotallyHer doesn’t understand about AfterEllen and sites like it is that community comes first, and that it is many queers' only source of community.”
Since Riese Bernard started Autostraddle as an "L Word" fan blog, it has transformed into a full-fledged publication receiving a reported 4 million page views a month. So why aren't advertisers attracted to the site?
In my opinion, we do an enormous “let them eat cake” disservice to our community when we obfuscate the circumstances that help us write, publish and in some way succeed. I can’t claim the wealth of the first author (not even close); nor do I have the connections of the second. I don’t have their fame either. But I do have a huge advantage over the writer who is living paycheck to paycheck, or lonely and isolated, or dealing with a medical condition, or working a full-time job.
“Lesbian and queer women's media has particularly struggled when it comes to revenue, in part because lesbians are stereotyped as frumpy shut-ins who don’t care about nightlife or fashion — unlike their glamorous male counterparts — which can dissuade advertisers. Curve is the only national lesbian publication still available in print and it only recently came under representation by Evans and Rivendell.”
“No matter what the owners decide to salvage from the site’s remains, the reduction of AfterEllen to a storage locker for old content is a major loss for a lesbian culture that’s desperately grasping for air as its physical and virtual spaces dissolve, one by one, into the void. In a new media that houses more queer voices than ever, publications and verticals purportedly dedicated to LGBTQ stories still often default to subjects that apply and appeal to gay men: gay male celebrities, gay male cultural icons, men’s fashion, and shirtless dudes.”
“With so many LGBTQ publications shuttering or in a state of flux, they dig into their own world by looking at current mainstream and independent media outlets and those from the past. They speak with Jason Baumann of the New York Public Library about the new exhibit “Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50” and the new collection The Stonewall Reader, featuring queer writing from before, during, and after the Stonewall uprising. Then they’re joined by Riese Bernard, Autostraddle co-founder and CEO, to discuss the origins of that site and how it fosters a strong sense of community.”
“Those of us in media have enough working against us right now. More media sites are getting unionized and that's awesome, but we need help and support from consumers to ensure that this is a survivable profession. Between Facebook's wacky algorithms and failed pivots-to-video and constant layoffs and shitty venture capitalists buying up piles of sites and running them into the ground because they do not know what the hell they are doing, it's a precarious industry. I've had multiple offers for jobs in New York, and I've turned them down because I knew that if the sites didn't last I would be totally screwed (Narrator: the sites did not last) trying to survive in a city that expensive on freelancing alone. A thing you can do as a consumer to help this is by not supporting garbage sites or garbage people like Bryan Goldberg with your clicks and shares.”