November 6, 2016

Indie Mags: Ladybeard

Ladybeard Mind front cover

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From the moment I opened Ladybeard magazine and read the first page, I knew it was a magazine I wanted to continue reading:

We platform the voices you won’t hear in women’s magazines; voices of the people who live any and every deviation from the straight, white, cis, able-bodied ‘ideal’. Working in themed issues, we open up old topics to vital new perspectives.

We are feminist but we are not just for women. We want to play with gender, sexuality and identity, rather than dictate their terms.

This begins with our name: Ladybeard.

The second issue of Ladybeard focuses on the mind. Some parts of the magazine are about things I easily associate with the mind; mental health; depression; anxiety; dementia, the deterioration of the mind with old age. Others are less obvious. Google it? The New Mind Control by Robert Epstein was a piece that particularly stood out for me. It gives an alarming perspective of what 21st century developments in technology will do for privacy and control. Likewise, I was struck by The Veil, as it revealed perspectives I wasn’t expecting to encounter. The piece explores the experiences of 3 women and their reasons for wearing a headscarf or niqab. One of the women interviewed came from a middle-class Christian family and it massively challenged the presumptions I held of women who cover their heads. Believing the practice to have formed through male control, to learn that others feel it offers safety and psychological distance from the male gaze was strangely uncomfortable. It was odd to realise that, although I am aligned with these women in believing that they shouldn’t face discrimination for wearing a headscarf, I hadn’t examined their reasons for wearing one very deeply. I learnt more about my own mind than theirs in the article.

No matter what angle they write from, every piece Ladybeard have printed is meticulously researched and presented, whether it’s experiences, stories, historical outlooks or scientific discoveries. Many independent magazines print beautiful photographs of the cities and environments they write about, yet Ladybeard have chosen, perhaps partly due to their inward focused subject matter, to illustrate most of the magazine in bold, colourful abstract patterns. The magazine’s artwork is some of the best I’ve ever seen.

Ladybeard is thick, and I mean thick; this is a magazine that real time and energy has gone into creating. The first issue focused on sex, and was published nearly a year before the Mind issue. Already, the Ladybeard team have announced the their third issue will be about beauty. These are all topics that are hugely important to explore from a feminist perspective.

If you want to hear more about how the Mind issue of Ladybeard was created then I suggest you give their interview with Stack a listen. I went along to the event, hosted by Stack, which was a brilliant way hear from the creators behind the magazine. Frustratingly, the interview at the event didn’t record, but Steve faithfully re-recorded it with the Ladybeard team.

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Ladybeard magazine website / Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

Ladybeard issue 2 is available to buy now online or from stockists

See more reviews of independent magazines.

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