With some familiar northwest voices and some newcomers on the roster, STACKEDD Magazine’s site quietly went live late Sunday night. The volume will turn up this Saturday, however, as Neumos opens its doors for a rock-fueled celebration of an occasion years in the making.
A box of “name brand” tampons or pads — or $10 — gets you into STACKEDD’s launch party, “A Bloody Good Time,” with doors opening at 9 PM Saturday. All proceeds will benefit Mary’s Place, a Seattle non-profit “empowering homeless women, children and families to reclaim their lives.” Ramones covers, Aerosmith covers, DJ’s and “surprise guests” are on the bill.
STACKEDD is designed to “provide the women of Seattle-and those who identify as such- a forum for their opinions,” the magazine’s mission statement says. The magazine also aims to safeguard contributors against the barrages of “anonymous” misogynistic attacks and threats that so often invade comment sections in the digital age. STACKEDD does away with comment sections altogether, and provides readers with hashtags they can use to discuss content on social media sites where, the expectation is, anonymity is less likely and somewhat more difficult to achieve.
“I want a place where we can talk about civics, and parenting, and sex, and pot and you know — all things — in one place,” the magazine’s founder and “Editrix-in-Chief” Ma’Chell Duma LaVassar told CHS.
“Joanna Coles [Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan] … had a really interesting quote about how she feels like if women discuss fashion, their opinion of other things gets dismissed,” LaVassar said. “Like you can’t have an opinion on world politics and have an opinion on fashion. And I find especially in terms of sexuality, if you’re talking you know about those things, people are really quick to negate anything else you have to say.”
As a Seattle-based writer LaVassar has written for The Stranger, The Seattle Weekly and KUOW radio. She also wrote for New York Magazine and various Village Voice publications during a stint of her career that took her away from town for a few years.
In addition to LaVassar, STACKEDD has some other familiar voices on its roster at its launch. Bobbi Rich‘s webseries “Hangin’ Tough” — “the wildly excellent musical variety show,” as the Stranger called it — will be a regular feature. And fans will likely be glad to hear that nearly a year-and-a-half after The Seattle Weekly cancelled the popular column, Judy McGuire’s Dategirl is back again.
Meanwhile, Seattle drag queen Connie Merlot, whose alter ego created the original Pony, will be writing an advice column of sorts for STACKEDD. “She is a very special being,” LaVassar said. “When I asked and he said, ‘Yes,’ I was so happy,” she said. “The world needs Connie.”
LaVassar’s seven-year-old son will add the only explicitly male perspective in STACKEDD as it launches, contributing to a column called “Son of a Bitch” that will explore parenting a son. “I think it’s a pretty interesting feminist topic,” LaVassar, who is a co-parent, said.
STACKEDD will also feature several new voices, whom LaVassar says she makes a point to seek out. “I want it to be really inclusionary,” she said.
Many STACKEDD contributors call places outside Seattle proper home, including Tacoma, Tukwila and Everett. “These aren’t just the cool kids in one neighborhood,” LaVassar said. “This is a big community effort with a lot of different women.”
Originally from North Dakota, LaVassar spent most of the 1990s living in Capitol Hill and soaking up the scene of that era, and is now based in West Seattle. She is primarily funding the launch of STACKEDD with the value gained in a home she bought in 2011, near the bottom of the real estate market’s recession-era pit. That was when she moved back to Seattle after spending several years in New York City and Austin. STACKEDD also has received funding from an investment firm that bought in for 10% of the company.
All STACKEDD contributors are paid for their work, and LaVassar said she hopes STACKEDD will produce sufficient ad revenue to survive. Additionally, readers have the option to donate to the magazine.
A recent addition to the magazine’s roster, Seattle artist Siolo Thompson was brought on as STACKEDD’s arts editor just three weeks ago. During the sprint to the launch Thompson ended up creating a lot of the art for the first edition herself, she said. However, she says she will take a more curatorial role in the future, and that work by some 20 or 30 artists will be featured in each monthly edition of STACKEDD.
“One of the things I’m really excited about with STACKEDD is that we’re disabling comments,” Thompson said. “I think that with women there’s such a fear of reprisal, for voicing any kind of an opinion, in the era of the internet troll.”
The theme of the launch party and of its benefit component are tie-ins to the feature article of STACKEDD’s inaugural issue. The piece documents Maldives and Mikey and Matty drummer Faustine Hudson’s work with Operation Menstration. Hudson founded the organization, which will provide menstrual supply kits and education about their use to females in the village of Awake, Uganda. In the article, STACKEDD says menstruation is an widely “unspeakable” issue in Uganda and that lack of access to menstrual supplies is “one of the biggest impediments to a young woman’s education in the developing world.”
Females living in poverty in Seattle often have trouble accessing menstrual supplies in their own way, and the benefit is meant to help address this need locally. Menstrual supplies are “the most needed item frequently at [Seattle area] food banks because they aren’t covered by EBT cards,” LaVassar said.
Every edition of STACKEDD will feature a section highlighting a specific Seattle neighborhood, with the first issue covering Georgetown. LaVassar said she was surprised to learn that 70% of businesses in the neighborhood are owned by women. “I went and talked to a lot of the businesses owners,” LaVassar said, “Ate a bunch of food, and really got the feel of the neighborhood. So we’ll be showcasing different stuff to do in Georgetown,” LaVassar said. “And then there will be other things too,” she said. “Things that are important to the people in the neighborhood.”
The Georgetown section will be released next week. Next month, Stackedd will feature focused coverage of a Capitol Hill neighbor, the “’Eastlake entertainment district’ that runs from ReBar down to the Victory Lounge,” LaVassar said.
LaVassar’s long-term plans for STACKEDD go well beyond Seattle. “Ultimately what I’d really like to do, once we figure out [our] ad structure and get it in place and get it really tight, is franchise. “So there could be a STACKEDD Los Angeles, or a STACKEDD Fargo,” she said. “So we can give women jobs.”
As for the magazine’s moniker: “My go-to answer regarding the name is, ‘I like the idea of Google searches for boobies leading to feminist literature,'” LaVassar wrote in an email to CHS. “STACKEDD means a lot of things,” she wrote. “It is, of course, a nod to Bust and Cunt and the publications that came before us. It also means you’ve got everything (our goal is to build to place of very comprehensive coverage) and it’s long been a term men have used to describe women with curves,” she wrote.
Online editions of STACKEDD will be published once a month, with some content being released between issues, and an annual print issue will be released every September, LaVassar said.