Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Illuminating the Sex Industry

Weight: 1.5 lbs
Method of Disposal: Giving to Tracy

I received an e-mail from SPREAD magazine yesterday in which they explained that they would no longer be able to publish in that form due to financial troubles. They wrote about how it is difficult for any magazine, newspaper, journal to exist now. SPREAD was created by an all-volunteer crew that kept on keeping on for five years, and I love the whole half century.

I stumbled upon the first issue while shopping at my favorite local feminist sex shop, Aphrodite’s Toy Box. I was hooked. I bought a couple more issues at Charis Feminist Bookstore, and then I went ahead and subscribed. I even got a nifty pink shirt with the silhouette of a person on it. I loved all of it. I am very sad to see them go the way most print seems to be going. It still feels like it was not that long ago when the amazing ON OUR BACKS quit printing their magazines. I don’t want to let go.

The mantra of SPREAD is “illuminating the sex industry,” and that is what they attempted to do through the publication and art showings in New York City. There were articles about and by strippers, prostitutes, call girls, escorts, johns, customers, so on and so forth. I believe they tried very hard to be inclusive and accessible. Have I mentioned yet that I loved them? The Sex Industry IS something that needs to be illuminated. People need to be safe in their professions and protected as human beings. We all deserve respect and decency, but we won’t get there if we ignore a large component of our population, or worse, persecute them.
I am letting RENT GIRL go today in honor of the good five years of writing, comics, and wonderfulness that came out of those volunteers who created and maintained SPREAD magazine. I enjoyed reading the graphic novel a lot when I first bought it while I was in college. I still enjoy flipping it open to a random page and checking in on what is happening. I think it helped with the overall illuminating of the sex industry, and I highly recommend it. I never imagined there would be a day when I would let it go, but here we are.

I bid farewell to SPREAD magazine, unless someone out there has $30,000 to donate to them. They did mention that they might publish a book in the future. If they do, I might have to break all the rules and go buy it.

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