Published in the Summer 2004 issue • Letter from the editors
Letter from the editors
Welcome to Shameless, the magazine we hope will give teen media a serious kick in the ass.
The first conversation we had about Shameless was almost two years ago. We decided we’d had enough of the way girls are portrayed in the media — as if teen life were nothing more than a series of embarrassing moments and a never-ending quest for the perfect lip gloss.
We weren’t like that as teenagers. And neither are the teenage girls we know. Last year, we saw girls blocking off the corner of Yonge and Bloor streets in busy downtown Toronto to protest the impending war in Iraq. We heard about girls winning awards for their creativity and playing in rock bands. We met activists, artists, comedians, actors, aspiring photographers and writers.
We knew it was time for a change.
Many mainstream teen mags pay their bills by taking advantage of girls. They foster a climate of low self-esteem and then promise that advertisers’ wares will make us feel better.
These mags are in the business of selling shame. They teach us to be ashamed of our bodies, our minds, our sexuality. Ashamed if you’re too smart or too critical of the world. Ashamed if your breasts are too small or too big. Around here, we don’t care what size your breasts are — or if you have breasts at all. We are shameless.
This is an independent magazine. We are not backed by millions of dollars or sponsored by a makeup company. In fact, no one has been paid to put Shameless together. We threw all-ages parties and held fundraisers to make enough money to print the issue you hold in your hands. If you like what you see, you can help us by pestering your local bookstore to carry Shameless, by ordering a subscription, or by encouraging your rich aunt Martha to donate a few bucks to our cause.
Shameless wouldn’t have been possible without the help of dozens of people: our teen editorial collective, who guided and inspired us; the writers and artists who donated their time; and the editors, publishers and feminists who helped us figure out the mag business. A special thank you goes to our gifted art director, Jason Paré, who has given Shameless a bold visual identity that makes our hearts skip a beat.
We hope Shameless will become a trusted friend and co-conspirator — a magazine that gives you some relief from the mainstream. On these pages, and in future issues, you’ll find stories about social and political affairs, independent arts and culture, alternative style, current events, sports, technology and more. Check out our website, www.shamelessmag.com, to stay up-to-date between mags and to get involved with our online community.
We are trying our very best to be inclusive and diverse, but we’ve only just begun reaching out to girls of all ages, backgrounds and interests. If you don’t see yourself represented on our pages (or even if you do), please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear about your projects and ideas. We want to tell the stories of smart, sassy, independent teenage girls — girls who get it. Until next time, we remain…