How Make Muse Is Inspiring Young Women
I’ve been an avid magazine reader since I was a child. I started with American Girl’s magazine and National Geographic Kids, had a short obsession with teen mags like J-14, then graduated to fashion magazines like Allure and Glamour. I kept every issue of Teen Vogue I read for about four years and during high school, my bedroom walls were a collage of images ripped out of magazines. It looked like a cross between a mood board and one of those serial killer walls with red string.
My love for print media led me to be a journalism major. Seeing my name in print in my student newspaper and the upscale lifestyle magazine I interned at sophomore year was surreal. That was my name on a masthead! I get the same rush when I see my name published on third-party sites online, but something about being on a masthead feels particularly special.
I know I’m not alone in my disappointment that print media seems to be dying out. I love a good blog and digital issue, but nothing beats holding a piece of art in my hands. A piece of art made up of the work of dozens of people.
Make Muse* is one publication that exists online, but is still creating physical copies of a magazine. And of all the content I could read in print, the content produced by Make Muse is some of the most worthy of my time. It’s all genuine and free of clickbait-y hyperbole.
Make Muse describes itself as a “newspaper-meets-literary-mag creating intelligent media for the smart young women of today.” The publication is female-focused in the inclusive sense of the term: it caters to cis women as well as trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people who are significantly female-identified. The content in both the magazine and on the website aims to inspire people to change and question gender-based societal standards, highlight varied experiences and voices, and share real stories.
The first print issue of Make Muse covers a myriad of topics, from self-care to black femininity to gender bias in education. There’s poetry, photography, essays, art and reported articles. A few of my favorite pieces in the first issue are:
A list of lingerie brands that caters to women of all shapes, not just one societal standard
A satirical piece on what it takes to run for public office as a woman
A poem about the women left out of history books
A photo series called “Murder Club” created in response to the artist’s sexual assault experience
When I read Make Muse, I am awed and impressed by the bravery, courage and creative prowess of my fellow young women. I see vulnerability, action, self-love and a wider range of voices than I’m used to seeing in print. It makes me proud to be part of my generation and some of the work reminds me of projects my own friends are currently working on. I love people who are unafraid and unapologetic about who they are and what they can offer the world. I want to be more like that - more bold in how I present my ideas and my worth.
I love how Make Muse is founded on the ideals of activism and creativity - it teaches young women to challenge expectations and create whatever space they want for themselves. The magazines I read when I was young inspired me to write and create, but also had subtle messages that led me to believe beauty looked a certain way and that attaining expensive material goods was part of the road to living the “right” kind of lifestyle. Make Muse promotes self-acceptance and reinforces the idea that there are many ways to be beautiful and valuable in today’s world. That’s pretty damn powerful.
Buy the first print issue of Make Muse here (it would make a great holiday gift!) and definitely give them an Instagram follow. Whenever you have a bit of free time this week, I also highly suggest you browse all the content they have published online. My recent favorites from the site are these two stories: “Being Single Is Not The Worst Thing” and “Femintimacy: Fanfiction and the Need for Feminist Porn.”
If you’re a creator of any kind, you can also submit to Make Muse here. Share your perspective and work with us all!
*This blog post is brought to you in collaboration with Make Muse. I was gifted the first issue of this magazine, but all opinions in this post are mine and my support for the publication is genuine.