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ON THE ISSUES MAGAZINE ONLINE is a successor to the print publication, On The Issues Magazine, a progressive, feminist quarterly print publication from 1983 to 1999, both published by Choices Women’s Medical Center, Merle Hoffman, President and CEO, located in Long Island City, New York. For inquiries about On The Issues Magazine, contact managingeditor@ontheissuesmagazine.com

August 2012

"Level the Playing Field: Girls, Women and Sports" was recently launched by "On The Issues: A Magazine of Feminist Progressive Thinking" Ö this tremendous collection stands out for its combination of quality, quantity, accessibility (it's online), and readability. It notably bridges common gaps between academia and new media that prevent great work from being read by a mass audience.

POPSSPOT Power Oppression Privilege in Sport

May 2011

Check out the Summer 2009 issue of "On The Issues: The Progressive Women's Magazine." Our Genders, Our Rights features artists and writers from On The Issues Magazine with articles on Gender Norms and Gender rights. We'd like to thank On The Issues for addressing these concerns and thanks to Lola Cola for giving us the heads up on this!

Phoenix Transgender Support, Asheville North Carolina

March 2011

During the nuclear crisis at Japana's Fukushima plant, there have been endless comparisons to both Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. But there have been fewer good, in-depth pieces that examine the fallout of through the lens of the communities that suffered through them. Yet this is surely the best way to gain insight into the potentially incipient health crises that may affect the communities surrounding Fukushima -- and insight into the risks nuclear power poses to human health in general. On the Issues Magazine has a must read in-depth look at how thousands of people in Harrisburg, PA, suffered a variety of illnesses and health woes in the wake of the meltdown -- especially women, who in addition to seeing higher rates of cancer, suffered an increase in still births, birth defects, miscarriages, and pregnancy complications.

From Treehugger

November 2010

The Front Page Award for Opinion Writing was given to Merle Hoffman, publisher and editor-in-chief of On The Issues Magazine, for her essay, Selecting the Same Sex. The essay about the complex issues of sex selection and abortion appeared in the Summer 2009 edition of On The Issues Magazine. Hoffman's essay did "a brilliant job with a controversial subject," said syndicated columnist Lenore Skenazy, who presented the Opinion Writing Award to her at a dinner and ceremony in New York on November 4, 2010. The Newswomen's Club of New York sponsors the Front Page Awards.

On the Issues is absolutely incredible. I could spend my entire day reading it. Thank you!

Carolyn Gage

A tip of the Afro to the people at On The Issues Magazine The Progressive Women’s Magazine for their current issue Race, Feminism, Our Future.

A bitch has been working my way through it and…well, it’s a must read. Not because you’ll agree with everything, but because even the shit you’ll disagree with will inspire the kind of conversations we need to be having right now.
The had me hooked ... just go read the issue from start to finish and discuss!

Shark-Fu, Angry Black Bitch (Practicing the Fine Art of Bitchitude)

March 2009

"Good reads in the On the Issues Magazine cafe, including Diana Whitten's look at Women on Waves, a Dutch organization that provides on-ship abortions in international waters for women from countries where it is illegal. Women on Waves recently won an important victory in the European Court of Human Rights. And don't forget to check out the winter issue, which features stories on topics from ratifying CEDAW to Second Life."

Our Bodies, Our Blog.

by Tara Malik
Beyondmedia Education

Thanks very much for publishing the Chain of Change article on your website. It means a great deal to us to spread information about this subject and share a forum with others who are fighting against violence towards women."

Blogger, Confessions of a Dirt Warrior, September 6, 2008

Angela Bonavoglia over at On The Issues Magazine poses a provocative (and in my humble opinion) very important question: Can prostitution be a freely made choice? If you have the time, I'd suggest that you take an hour or so to browse through the rest of the content at On The Issues. They have some fascinating stuff there!

About.com: Sexuality

By Cory Silverberg

Shere Hite on Redefining Sex
Wednesday August 20, 2008

I was recently alerted to the newly re-launched On The Issues Magazine. On The Issues was originally published from 1983 to 1999 as a print quarterly feminist magazine started by reproductive rights activist Merle Hoffman. The new incarnation is only available online and based on what’s on the site now looks great.

My attention was immediately drawn to an essay by Shere Hite titled “Female Orgasm Today.” In the essay Hite argues that we need a new definition for sex. Speaking of female orgasm Hite discounts the idea of the g spot as little more than a return to Freudian notions of a superior vaginal orgasm. Hite seems willing to acknowledge that some women do experience pleasure and even orgasm from penetration (something she points out was reported by a minority of women in the Hite Report), but she has little time for the g spot.

More interesting though is the end of the essay where Hite gets the heart of her argument. Hite argues that we need a new definition of sex; one that is framed around what gives us pleasure. I couldn’t agree with this more, and it was exciting to read Hite’s imagining of what could happen if we were able to embrace this new kind of sex definition. From the article:

…sex can evolve beyond orgasms. Sex can be transformed to become an individual vocabulary of erotic gestures, combining bodies to reach high states of arousal and desire, beyond a quest for orgasms by either woman or man. Sex can become something new, something we have not yet seen, something that we all now create by taking private, very courageous, steps.

I love this idea and the optimism in it. I actually think a lot of people are there already, experiencing sex completely outside of traditional expectations. I also think a lot more people define sex as something beyond penetration than ever before.

Read more - On The Issues Magazine - Female Orgasm Today: The Hite Report's Research Then and Now

The Boston Globe

By Jeanne Cooper (Literary Life Section)

With very few advertisements to clutter its pages (and nudge its editorial direction), ON THE ISSUES...is denser and more politically diverse than it first looks.

On the opening pages, Merle Hoffman explores the ethical issues -- or rather, the ignoring of those issues -- around xenotransplantation, the use of animals for organ transplants to humans, and related death-defying efforts. Phyllis Chesler brings a 19th-century crusader into long-deserved limelight: Elizabeth, who fought for the rights of women and mental patients after being imprisoned in an asylum for disagreeing with her husband's religious views. Andrea Dworkin attacks the Bill of Rights as a guarantee of inequality, examining Thomas Jefferson's relationship with slave Sally Hemings in that context and, inevitably, condemning freedom of speech as buttressing pornography. But Andrea Peyser, responding to the Oklahoma bombings, repudiates limits on free speech, even that of hate groups and paranoid militias, and notes, "The best way to defeat the enemy is to know his mind."
Lighter entries include a feminist reading of Stephen King (answer: he is one), a celebration of artist Florine Stettheimer, a sexagenarian's ode to her Harley ("Bike Lust") and Mariah Burton Nelson's account of being an "out" author.

Utne Reader

By Elizabeth Larson

ON THE ISSUES delivers solid articles that are original and engaging without becoming esoteric. Every issue is carefully balanced to represent a wide range of interests and experiences: Volume XIV features two opposing pieces on Margaret Sanger, the controversial turn-of-the-century birth control advocate/activist; an interview with Renee David about French feminism and Jewish identity; photographs of African-American women from Brian Lanker's book I Dream a World: Portraits of 75 Women Who Changed America; inspiring quotations from teenage women who organized to oppose the parental consent notification proposal; and a humorous academic piece (yes, there is such a thing) on the female jester in the court of Queen Mary I. One of the most thought-provoking features was an essay by John Stoltenberg about how, as a feminst male, he has had to reevaluate and even discontinue relationships with some of his male friends.

Despite a commitment to diversity, ON THE ISSUES -- which is published by CHOICES Women's Medical Center Inc. -- does have one bias: Every issue devotes at least half a page to reproductive rights and the state of the abortion debate. In these times, the strong pro-choice slant is most welcome.

WLW Journal

ON THE ISSUES really is--on the issues, that is. It kind of reminds me of Ms. When it was a lot younger and a lot more feisty, when it really had something to say about topics of concern to women no matter how revolutionary or radical they seemed. A look at some topics covered in recent issues will give you some ideas: "outing" of gays; the role of women in Nazi Germany; animal rights; abortion providers (or almost total lack of them in rural areas); speciesist language; death of a victim of parental-consent laws; invisible women in the media; a convicted rapist -- was he framed?; women's "great life" in Sweden; the massacre of women students in Montreal -- lethal misogyny?; abortion: another version of the Holocaust?; and so on. ON THE ISSUES has it all, and has become one of the most outspoken feminst journals in the U.S. My only regret after reading every page of the issues that were sent to me for this article is that this excellent magazine isn't a monthly instead of a quarterly.

Inside Media

ON THE ISSUES is a magazine for "readers who prefer to be known as women." . . . ON THE ISSUES started as a newsletter back in 1983 and is still supported by Choices Women's Medical Center. Founder, editor-in-chief and publisher Merle Hoffman says that her original goal was to communicate with activists and feminists. Today, with 20,000 readers, Hoffman strives to increase the influence and visibility of ON THE ISSUES. The quarterly...is not affiliated with any political party. Recent issues have included pieces by Shere Hite and Andrea Dworkin. Hoffman hopes to increase advertiser support for the title.

"We are seeking like-minded advertisers," she explains. "I believe it is possible to combine capitalism and entrepreneurial spirit with activism." Hoffman says that she has been approaching book publishers, manufacturers of natural health foods, non-animal tested products and companies like Working Assets, a telecommunications company that donates a percentage of profits to charitable causes. "Advertising affects other women's magazines quite dramatically," posits Hoffman. She thinks that the editorial supports the cosmetics advertising by reinforcing society's pressure to be beautiful. . . . They are selling what can become if you read the magazine. Cosmo is selling better orgasms and I'm selling social consciousness; that's a tough sell. But obviously, our readers are consumers too.

USA Today

Women More Than Sex Machines
By Barbara Reynolds

Most women's magazines have long used romance, love and family- and, inevitably, sex -- as mainstays, but some now are pushing the limits of decency. They're becoming more tawdry and displaying women . . . as bodies, without souls or minds. If women accept these images of themselves, they are losing the battle against rape, domestic violence and sexual harassment.

Even pristine Ms. magazine, normally a standard-bearer of of sexual equality, has fallen into the Big Orgasm craze, notes Sheila Jeffries in the current ON THE ISSUES, a magazine for progressive women. Ms. recently ran such racy articles as "I was a teenage slut" and "Eroticizing equality." "An unreflective politics of orgasm seems to be winning out," Jeffreys says. "Unfortunately, freedom is being defined as the achievement of bigger and better orgasms, by any means possible."


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Intimate Wars

Intimate Wars book cover
The Life and Times
of the Woman
Who Brought Abortion
from the
Back Alley
to the
Board Room

• Merle Hoffman, publisher of On The Issues Magazine


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