72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2005
About every four months or so I pick up an issue of Bust. It's not something I'd like to read on a regular basis, as I find any pop culture commentary to be a bit preachy, but this is a fun magazine with a sense of humor (Praise be!). Every issue features an interesting interview: Amy Sedaris, Tina Fey, etc. Nothing is overly examined; if you want a really thought provoking magazine, I'd subscribe to Ms., but I like Bust's writing because it is accessable and less angry and frustrated than Bitch--a comparable magazine. It also has a terrific column by writer Ayun Halliday (No Touch Monkey and East Village Inky), which usually cracks me up. In addition, you can usually find liberal join-up type articles as well as personal essays. Babes in Toyland is one of Bust's larger sponsors, so there are lots of articles on pleasuring yourself, vibrators, and getting in touch with your inner-inner woman. I think in terms of tone that Bust lies somewhere between Jane and Budget Living (sounds crazy, but it's true), with the obvious feminist bent. I really appreciate that it's not anti-male, too.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Bust is an entertaining, highly readable magazine aimed at 20- and 30-something women who unashamedly self-identify as feminists. It reflects a heavy influence of NYC/Brooklyn and the indie scene. The journalism is not terribly political or hard-hitting, but I don't think it intends to be. Bust does occasionally discuss things like comprehensive sex ed, breastfeeding in public, and misogynistic commercial ads; however, for the most part, the content is on the lighthearted side. I have subscribed for almost a year, although I've read it intermittently off newsstands since 2005, and overall, I really enjoy reading it.
The great thing about Bust is that it has substance and is fun to read. There are never articles like "How to Look Thinner," "Choose the Right Anti-Aging Surgical Procedure," and other inane, self-hate-inducing garbage typically found in mainstream women's mags. By contrast, Bust has articles on female stand-up comedians, women who travel the world volunteering, and how to choose the right vibrator or electric guitar. (These are also great examples of how Bust has a more lighthearted tone than Ms. or [...].) [MM edit: Thanks a lot, Amazon, for editing out the word B**ch right there -- it's the name of a feminist magazine, not a derogatory term. Just shows you how far we still have to come.]
Bust's regular features include:
* Feminist interest columns -- Pop Tart, a tongue-in-cheek take on current pop culture; Museum of Femoribilia, with articles on women's cultural objects (swimsuit bra cups, restrictive petticoats, girls' toys, etc.) from the 1920s on and the feminist issues raised by them; and Mother Superior, by Ayun Halliday, who writes self-effacingly and hilariously about her kids' antics
* DIY projects -- Make your own queen-size headboard, reusable tote bags, mod-themed tea towels, pillbox hat, subversive cross-stitch art, etc.
* Recipes -- Chinese wontons, gingersnaps, tsimmes, mozzarella cheese (yes, how to curdle cheese), how to throw an eco-friendly Thanksgiving feast
* Boy du Jour -- A short interview with a hot, progressive, not-so-mainstream dude
* Fashion features -- Trend spotting; up-and-coming independent designers; a multi-page fashion spread illustrating a current trend (steampunk, outdoorsy hippie, cowgirl, 80s rock-chic)
* Interviews with 1-2 progressive celebrities
* Travel -- Articles on domestic and international destinations, with suggestions on restaurants, worthy hole-in-the-wall shops, things to do and see
* Sex -- Reader Q&A with Betty Dodson and, more recently, Carlin Ross (this can get graphic at times, but it's info we were all wondering anyway); Sex Files, a column discussing general women's health topics; the "One-Handed Read," stories similar to those in other popular women's mags (i.e., porn for women)
* Reviews of 1) not-so-mainstream beauty products, 2) recent indie music, 3) books written by or about women, and 4) recent indie movies produced/directed/written by or about women
* Comic strip detailing the trialz & tribz of a high school sophomore in the 1980s (by Esther Pearl Watson) and a feminist-themed crossword puzzle at the end -- I luuurve the comic strip and the crossword!
Bust is really big on indie musicians, especially those with a progressive bent, male or female. There is always at least one feature on a musician in each issue.
It's also important to note that Bust is not misandronistic in any way; in fact, they're very open about appreciating, crushing on, and having relations with men.
However, here's my one gripe: Bust has a somewhat "exclusive" vibe. Don't get me wrong -- they're not out there bashing people who don't subscribe to their indie ethos; they're just not inclusive of a wide audience. I agree with a previous reviewer about the general lack of inclusion of women of color (and I am white). There are, of course, some exceptions to this -- like the features on Eve, Rosario Dawson, Margaret Cho, Charlyne Yi, Sandrah Oh, and Rosie Perez, for example. But these features may be too few and far-between for women of color to feel truly championed. The bottom line is that Bust just aims for a very specific audience, which happens to be white, straight, crafty, indie/hipster feminists in their 20s and 30s. For some people, this may feel alienating. I occasionally feel like I'm not "hipster enough" for Bust, even though I'm pretty sure I fit into their intended demographic. ;)
Despite this, I continue to read Bust because I enjoy the positive media outlet it provides, especially compared to the likes of Glamour, Vogue, Cosmo -- which make ALL women feel like crap, regardless of heritage, size, and interests. Personally, I get enough positive value out of Bust as a whole to let the occasional self-doubt slide.
Overall, Bust is an enjoyable, lighthearted, pro-woman magazine. I'd suggest you check it out at Borders or B&N before subscribing, just to get an idea of its readability and look/feel. Recommended!
51 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2004
I'm not going to say that Bust isn't a decent magazine. And if other feminist publications weren't around, I'd probably be reading it cover to cover. The problem is that they seem to assume that everyone who reads their mag is all do-it-yourself-y and artsy. And that they're actually interested in clothing. I'm not. I still appreciate some of the articles -- for example, the article several months ago on the womanly diagnosis of "hysteria" and this latest issue's article about American women converting to Islam.
If you're a knitter, cool. If you're a sorta-kinda feminist, cool. If you just want to read something that isn't telling you to go out and find a husband, like, yesterday, this is a good mag too. But if you're looking for something that is a little more FEMINIST, pick up Bitch magazine.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2007
This is one of my favorite magazines. I've been reading it for around two years now. I'd say if you weren't inclined to liberalism, do it yourself projects (clothes and other things), feminism, or other somewhat "unique" interests in music, movies, and books this magazine isn't for you. You still might enjoy it, but I wouldn't suggest picking it up if any of those things listed don't interest or describe you.
This magazine does have its faults though. They act sometimes as if those who don't share their views are either less intelligent or just plain odd. That's not extremely usual, but you do run across it every now and then. It's not as if they put down other view points, but they do make a quiet point in letting the reader know what point of view is probably "preferred."
Still, it's a great magazine that brings something more to the table than just "how to get a man," "how to satisfy your man," or "Lindsay and Paris are the best!!" Also I love how women who are not incredibly mainstream are featured on its covers - and how the magazine targets different races and differet body shapes without making it a point to say that they are doing it to be nice to others (or to suddenly have these different images in an issue titled something like: 'Everyone is awesome! Girls should love themselves!'). They just do it because that's how women/girls are, which is greatly appreciated.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2005
This magazine is somewhere in between Ms. and Bitch. The former may be a bit too scholarly for some, with not enough articles to draw in the third wave of feminists, and the latter can sometimes be a bit too radical in some of its articles, but Bust magazine is the perfect blend of both. There are always interesting thought-provoking interviews, articles, and features (Ayun Halliday's column is always great), along with reviews of books, movies, and albums you might not otherwise know existed. They also have a monthly feature from Betty Dodson, a pioneering sex therapist, who answers particularly pressing questions from readers; though some people might feel this is pornographic, it's merely presenting information that happens to concern sexuality. A lot of people might feel too embarrassed to ask such normal questions, so it's good they get the answers because someone else was brave enough to ask rather than not get the answers at all, or feel that they're not normal for these feelings or bad experiences. And for people who are so inclined, there are always articles on do-it-yourself crafts; they've done everything from clothes to handbags to stuffed animals. There's something in here for everyone.