Sophomore starts up new women's issue publication

by Sara Burch | 11/15/95 6:00am

Lia Monahon '98, who was supposed to be an editor of the Spare Rib this term, left the publication to pioneer a new campus publication focusing on women's issues.

The formal purpose of the new publication, which does not have a name yet, is "to publish a newspaper for and about women that serves as an outlet for a wide range of perspectives," Monahon said.

"Other publications on campus serve a very narrow perspective," Monahon said. "We hope to fill a space that is otherwise gone."

Monahon was a member of the Spare Rib staff during her freshman fall and winter. In the spring she was the assistant associate editor of the magazine and this fall she said she was supposed to become the Spare Rib's managing editor. The Spare Rib is a women's and gender issues publication.

"I was going to be put in charge this fall and I decided that I didn't want to do Spare Rib in its former form," she said. "I wanted to start a new paper."

At a spring Spare Rib meeting, Monahon said many women made it clear that they wanted to diversify the Spare Rib's perspective.

"Most who have worked for it would want it to be a different paper," Monahon said.

"The sheer demographics of the editorial board" needed to change, Monahon said, because the magazine "primarily offered the white, middle-upper-class perspective."

Erika Meitner '96, the former editor of Spare Rib, said as far as she knows, "Spare Rib doesn't exist."

"As far as I know the new paper is kind of an evolutionary step in the development of women at Dartmouth," Meitner said.

Meitner said Spare Rib members decided in the spring that the publication was not serving its purpose adequately.

"It was a really long arduous decision making process to decide that Rib [was not] okay the way it was," Meitner said. "For a paper that claimed to speak for women's and gender issues on campus it was missing a lot of the voices that it need to encompass."

Monahon said, "There was supposed to be a coalition-building effort on the part of the Spare Rib this summer and it never happened."

"The idea comes from meetings we had in the Spring and from a feeling on the part of a number of women on campus that we need an outlet for a variety of voices," Monahon said.

By focusing on an editorial board that represents a wider range of women, the new publication will try to avoid the problems that were faced by the Spare Rib staff, she said.

Sarah Johnston '97 joined Monahon in pioneering the new magazine.

"Sarah and I have been going to various meetings and making personal efforts to reach out to affinity groups," Monahon said. "We are not 'recruiting' anyone, however."

The new paper does not have a formal staff yet because an undetermined number of people have shown interest in it, according to Monahon.

"The paper is rather amorphous at this point," she said.

Monahon said the new publication will probably be a newspaper, about 14 pages in length, that will come out more than once a term.

"We hoped to have a leaflet out by the end of the term to generate interest and announce the coming of a new paper to say, 'Here we are, come join us in the winter when we get going,' " she said.

Monahon said although she is a former member of Spare Rib, there is no connection between Spare Rib and the new publication.

"It's important that the new paper not be associated with the Spare Rib," Monahon said. "I along with a number of other women pioneering the new paper don't want this association."

Meitner, who said she would not serve as an editor of the new publication, said Johnston and Monahon are "sort of resurrecting Rib, but sort of not."

"Unfortunately, the way the Rib was set up internally, it wasn't prepared to handle that enormous responsibility -- the responsibility of being the only publication for not only the left, but all of the women on campus," she said.