From what I've seen of the current generation of feminist magazines—Bitch, Bust and now Fierce—they have no aversion to the physical beauty of women. In the case of the amazing Angie Lin on the cover of the recent "Spirit" issue, C. Noel's photos are distinctive, sensuous and ethereal. Accompanied by editor-in-chief Asata Reid's poetic and uplifting "The Liberation of My Spirit," which is peppered with inspiring quotes from such diverse sources as Anais Nin and Mother Teresa, there is, in my humble opinion as a mere man, something special here.
One example of a fierce woman is New York City college student, Zara Khan, who went to Palestine "solely to confront a violent existence." About meeting Yasser Arafat, she writes: "He spoke for about 45 minutes, and I remember thinking, this guy is so much more intelligent than Bush."
Intrepid journalist Jensine Larsen contributed "The Spirit of Courage," which tells the story of Aung San Suu Kyi ("Chee"), the woman defying the brutal dictatorship of Burma for the cause of democracy. Threaded throughout this eye-opening article is the contact information for over a dozen international women's rights organizations.
On the lighter side, there is a brief interview with A Very Hungry Girl author Jessica Weiner. I heartily support Weiner's pursuit of self-knowledge, and confrontation with the devastating force of self-hatred, as an approach to therapy.
The "estrogen packed zone" includes short bits on such subjects as the only female presidential candidate for 2004: former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, who has been endorsed by the National Organization of Women.
While a lot of folks seem too uptight to consider any form of spirituality, Fierce unapologetically includes explorations of many beliefs as well as holistic practices. Asra Q. Nomani contributes an article on "sexual liberation through tantra." Meditation instructor and yogi Diana Guy, who takes a group of women to Chaco Canyon every year, is the focus of an article by Alicia Young, and Indigo Clark Freeman's "The Secret Life of Animal Totems" is very cool, too.
"On Sheer Faith," showcases a couple of the images of photography student Xaviera Simmons, along with her brief, moving account of retracing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade route.
There is an affirmation in each issue followed by a couple pages of blank journal space. Yes, I confess that I did actually write in the journal section of one of the three issues Fierce sent me, and nowhere did I include words, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me."
Intelligent, courageous and unpredictable, what I, as a mere man, love most about the bimonthly Fierce is that it seems to be too busy being positive to obsess over spitting venom at boys. This might, after all, be the time for all good people to work together for the aid of their country. As Asata Reid introduces the "Spirit" issue, she points out that, "Fierce women and men can and will change the world."
Where do I sign up?