As many of you know, my friend Liz and I have teamed up on a new project called Catalyst Wedding Magazine. Catalyst is a print publication that we started from scratch to add voices to the print wedding media that are often left out. Both raised by badass feminist mothers and educated by Women's Studies courses, maybe it's just the Feminist Lens we bring to all aspects of our lives, but when we looked at wedding magazines on the shelves of all the big bookstores, we saw basically one main narrative: weddings are for straight, white, traditionally-beautiful, rich couples. We tried looking on the shelves of our favorite indie bookstores, but most of them didn't have wedding magazines. That's when we realized: WE could bring feminism into the wedding conversation, and WE could create a publication that prioritizes inclusive representation, community-based (vs. consumerism-based) celebrations, and critical editorials about wedding traditions and their meanings.
Right now we are in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of our first issue. We believe fully that once we get the first issue out there, we will be able to support the magazine ourselves with (curated) advertising and wholesale/retail sales. But with SO MANY (feminist) causes out there, most of which are AMAZING and doing REALLY IMPORTANT WORK (I'm looking at you, NNAF Bowl-A-Thon!), why should you back our project? Here are a couple reasons:
1. Weddings Matter.
You will be hard-pressed to find a person in the US who doesn't know someone who has had a wedding. A wedding (different from a marriage, which is the legal part of this equation) is a social milestone that is participated in by the vast majority of people in our country, always with personal and cultural touches unique to the couple being celebrated. Excitement (and spending) around weddings cuts across socioeconomic, race, gender, age, religious, and political lines. As much as the more serious among us would prefer to brush weddings off as frivolous or beneath us, the truth is that they are an integral part of our lives.
2. Representation Matters.
This is a basic tenet of feminism, y'all. Seeing yourself in the media you consume and in the stories we all tell is not just an admirable goal, it's essential. Even though weddings are something that most of us will either take part in or attend in our lifetimes, wedding media (especially print media) has yet to catch up. Why is it super special when a woman of color is on the cover of BRIDE magazine? Why does Southern Weddings refuse to publish same-sex couples? Because they are only talking to a certain kind of bride/groom. Catalyst will expand that conversation.
3. Feminism and Weddings are not mutually exclusive.
This is one that I had trouble with for a long time: feminists have weddings. They have them in churches, in fields, on boats, and at country clubs. Ever since I became the self-proclaimed "feminist wedding photographer", I realized that when it comes to weddings, feminism won't be either 100% there or 100% absent. It's a complicated issue, no doubt; and there will always be hardliners that say feminists can't have weddings/there's no such thing as a feminist wedding/whatever. But it's a complicated issue we NEED to start unpacking (see #1) and that Catalyst wants to address.
We already have 50+ backers for our project, and we are so overwhelmingly grateful for these people that we barely know how to thank them (although some of them are getting wicked Rebecca Caridad prints and some are getting patches from Guard'n'flags, so that's a start). If you have ever wished to see more representation and more feminist conversations in wedding media, please consider joining those badasses and becoming a backer!
Bonus reason #4: we made a dorky video with Reid Kerley Productions and in it you get to see us getting a bit fired up.