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Page 3 Profile: Charlotte Raven, writer

Struggles in the sisterhood?

Charlotte Raven, a former writer on Toby Young and Julie Burchill’s Modern Review, announced the relaunch of the feminist magazine Spare Rib earlier this year. She said it would “feel like a girls’ club” and offer “top tips on keeping our female friends”. But sadly, there was discord with the founders of the original Spare Rib. Rosie Boycott and Marsha Rowe, whose magazine enjoyed a 21-year run from 1972, didn’t like the direction the project was taking and now they’re seeking to trademark the name.

What will it be called?

Potential readers have been asked to provide suggestions for a name. As of last night there had been more than 200 sent in, including “Riberation” and “Charlotte’s Web”. The website will be launched shortly and the magazine should hit the shelves this autumn. It’s unlikely, however, to have the support of old Spare Ribbers.

Why?

Former writers expressed their disbelief at the fact Raven apparently announced the re-launch without first consulting the co-founder Marsha Rowe, who said she was “flabbergasted”. Raven claimed the biggest source of discontent was “our vision for Spare Rib to be more than just a magazine, but also a grass-roots movement”. Boycott and Rowe believe that while the old Spare Rib grew with the women’s liberation movement, it was not “synonymous” with it. They also have little faith in the business plan. Feminist readers are offered different levels of affordable membership, but Rowe questioned whether people should have to pay to be a part of a movement.

It’s worthy of a story in a trashy gossip magazine!

It certainly is, but let’s hope it overcomes its teething problems to offer women a genuine alternative to magazines that preach about their weight, their clothes and the way they go about their lives.

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