It’s Autostraddle’s First Birthday!

Hai! It’s our birthday! One year ago today, Jenny died and Autostraddle was birthed! In our New Year’s State of the Union: Letter from The Editor, we already came all over ourselves in self-congratulatory joy. A lot has happened since then: we’ve introduced the Calendar Girls, our new girls Style Editor Becky and Technostraddle Editor Taylor have blown our minds with excellence and Audiostraddle has become an entity in and of itself…

Buttttt in lieu of waxing poetic over the past — let’s speak of the future.

Growing Up: We’re happy to report that despite our fervent opposition to universally employed stat-enhancing tricks (e.g., unnecessarily dividing short articles/galleries into numerous individual pages), our numbers just keep growing! Quality reader/community experience FTW. Although February only held 28 short days, we still hit 210,000 unique visitors and 700,000 page views, which’s ten times what we had in March 2009! More traffic = More resources = Better conversations = Eventual Revolution.

Design: We’ve made it easier for you to reach our blogs and video page by putting these items in our header. Hover over “Blogs” in the header, and you’ll see. Additionally: Audiostraddle, Autofocus, Technostraddle and our Autio/Video pages have all been redesigned for easier browsing! Check it out! Bookmark ‘em!

Video: To be honest, we were scared of doing video. Why? ‘Cause we don’t really like most online video. It’s difficult enough paying attention to anything that isn’t great literature or our own feelings, let alone literally watching an 20-minute, unedited reel of someone sitting on their couch talking to the camera.  So whatever we do, we’re committed to editing the hell out of it to ensure there’s not a single second wasted. We operate on the presumption that we must fight for your attention, not the assumption that we’ve already got it.

That’s why it took us a while to get going. We chose our projects carefully from what had been offered to us and so far, so good! In January we put out a teaser for Autio/Video and February saw a full teaser for Nat Garcia‘s new show Autonatic. Yesterday we posted our third episode of Julie & Brandy In Your Box Office. Julie Goldman is my favorite comedian (well, she’s tied for first place with Chris Rock), and we are so happy with how f*cking funny she and Brandy are, and how serious they are about getting their lesbian romantic comedy movie done, girl.

As we go forward, we’ll continue aiming to be quick, funny and relevant and to give Women an outlet for their creative projects, because actual Hollywood legendarily refuses to give women a chance (especially when their stories have nothing to do with men). And that’s vital.

Speaking of video…. later this week we’ll be bringing you Dani Campbell for Autostraddle at the Miami Winter Party talking to Pam Grier and National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey!

Here’s a sneak peek….

[Are you based in Los Angeles or Miami and interested in being a video intern? Email brooke [at] autostraddle dot com.]

Herstory: One thing we’ve become highly conscious of is people thinking we’re an entertainment & pop culture website — that’s not true! We might have more media/pop culture coverage than social issues/investigative journalism, but that’s only because of our limited resources at this time. Well, and we enjoy writing about entertainment and pop culture! Art is important and so is visibility! But we are aiming for comprehensive, magazine-style coverage, as well as explorations of non-traditional topics such as DIY Culture.

However, it’s important that we do things differently than everyone else is doing them; edgy, humorous, digestible, EXCITING! We may lack political expertise and a budget, but when we have a chance to cover a politics piece “our way,” we do it (like the Prop 8 Trial Recaps).

We assumed when we began that this balance would come naturally; life itself tends to provide reasonably equal doses of the Important and the Fun. But after the November elections, the Prop 8 Trial and the initial infamy of NOM, the balance has occurred less organically. So when we get back from our incredibly educational trip to Dinah Shore, we’re going to be making a conscious effort to keep the balance, even if we have to force it sometimes. This will involve a fairly significant Herstory Project that we’re really excited about.

Why does this matter so much to us? Well, because sexuality isn’t necessarily hereditary. Unlike other minority affiliations, we don’t get the culture and the politics passed down generationally through families. It’s up to us to be that family for each other. That’s not a big statement, it’s a plain statement. It’s not crazy or new.

We want to keep the strong commitment to community that started this place and get us all educated about the brave, intelligent and awe-inspiring activists, writers, thinkers, and womyn that we’re descended from in this crazy/beautiful family.

Still Looking for That Special Someone? This also means we’re really looking for women with political expertise, political chops and a feminist background who want to do serious reporting — so shoot green [at] autostraddle dot com a resumè, three story ideas, and an explanation of why you have your finger on the pulse of something vital. You must have a unique voice and impeccable spelling, grammar and web-savvy. We’re actually more interested in specific story pitches rather than general “I want to write for you tell me what to do” pitches. FYI.

Recently, we saw a story on Mediaite about how Top LGBT, Progressive Bloggers “Blog Swarm” Over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — apparently alll the Top LGBT bloggers were invited to this little event. Yup.  All of them! You know what that meant? A lot of guys… and Pam Spaulding. We love Pam Spaulding and I think she’d agree that we need more women out there in the field, ladies!

For Your Entertainment: Don’t get me wrong, we don’t want to have less entertainment and pop culture coverage — there are actually still a lot of arts and entertainment areas where we need way more coverage. But we’ll only talk about stuff we like.

As queer entertainment/pop culture site AfterEllen says in its motto, “visibility matters,” and speaking about entertainment/pop culture from a queer/feminist/WEIRDO perspective is vital. Bitch magazine (“a feminist response to pop culture”) is one of my primary inspirations for Autostraddle. That will always have a place here. But, speaking of the aforementioned websites, we try SUPER hard to not do what anyone else is doing. Otherwise you’ll compare us and that makes me insecure and also we are all sisters.

While we’re on the subject, “pop” comes from “popular,” but people have started saying it with a sneer. “Pop” sounds interchangeable with words like “brain-dead” and “pointless,” or it’s defined as something cutesy like soda pop or pop-rocks. But why shouldn’t we concern ourselves with what the majority of people are paying attention to? It seems that’s a pretty ripe target for inquiry and analysis, as well as being an ideal starting point for participation.

Sometimes “participation” means providing diabolical alternatives to what’s currently popular or attempting to overtake and become popular yourself, at which point, obviously, people will begin to refer to you with a sneer. The infamous Taylor Swift article got us some really nasty comments and criticism, but it also had more people reading and talking about Autostraddle than ever before — people who wouldn’t normally care what a bunch of lesbians on the Internet who haven’t showered yet today think. When we cover pop culture, we’re making our voices heard. Someone somewhere is reading our smart, feminist, and analytical response to the Mainstream Issue of The Day instead of Perez Hilton’s, and we think that’s worth something.

Regardless, all our media/culture coverage is grounded in a subversive, feminist, ironic approach — we assume all our readers are smart, and we think you can have intelligent conversations about stupid things, and these stupid things matter ’cause that’s what the rest of the world is mindlessly consuming, like Twinkies. Furthermore, the more traffic we get, the more resources we’ll have to cover less popular stories, weirdos!

Tip Us, Pitch Stories to Us:

“Pop culture” isn’t the opposite of “politics,” it’s the opposite of unpopular culture. And that’s vital. So our commitment to bringing you alt-culture’s best musicians, artists, filmmakers, poets, dreamers, etc. remains, and we need writers who will seek out and cover those out-of-the-way things!

By that I don’t mean that you should try to promote your girlfriend’s band even if it sucks, or the self-published self-help/romance book your gay aunt wrote. But we are super interested in the good stuff. Even better than telling us about it is writing about it for us, tell us why it rocks. Use specific, full words.

Wanna give us a present?

Firstly, you should give us some money! True story: it’s your generosity that has enabled us to do everything we’ve done. Without you we wouldn’t have grown at all, and we’d have desk jobs and social lives instead of this. It’s okay, my credit card has recently informed me that at this pace, I will pay off my bill in 2042! Anyhow enough about me — Amanda Palmer can tell you why supporting the arts is important in this “everything is free online!” era.

Secondarily, why don’t you just buy yourself a book? Yup, that’s right. We’ve picked eight books this month that we think you should read. It’s important: The Essential Feminist Reader, Schoolgirls, The World Split Open, This Bridge Called my Back, Sister Outsider, How Sassy Changed my Life, bitchfest, The Girls Next Door and Pomosexuals. And any time we link to amazon, that means we get a percentage of your purchase through our affiliates account. Also today we have a Very Special Interview with Marisa Meltzer, co-author of How Sassy Changed My Life, a monumental book in the development of Autostraddle. She just wrote a new book called Girl Power and you should read about it.

We love getting your feedback because you know what’s up. The future of queer, women-run media is kinda in your hands. Let us know what you f*cking want! But also? Trust us. We are not your first wife/husband. We are not Ilene Chaiken. Nitpicking & jumping to conclusions about us abandoning our overall mission statement because one post rubbed you the wrong way can be frustrating, to say the least, and well, often crippling.

Conversely, it’s your love, support, compliments, emails and comments that keep us going. Your love = everything. Getting to know you has been fucking awesome.

Questions? Concerns? Share!

Thanks for supporting us! We hope there are many more birthdays to come. Tell your friends about us! Let’s change the world!

Before you go! 99.9% of our readers don't support Autostraddle. Still, it takes funding to keep this indie queer publication running every day. And the majority of our funding comes from readers like you. That's less than 1% of our readers who keep Autostraddle around for EVERYBODY. Will you join them?
Related:

Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2885 articles for us.

78 Comments

  1. um, I heart this site soooo much. Although … where did the roundtables go? Anyway, seriously this site means so much to me as someone who left an out and proud life for one with a whole lot less gay in it. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And my love of table dancing aside, some autostraddle roundtables in my life would be awesome!

  2. Happy birthday! I finally get to make the homemade oreos with my mom tonight (too complicated to pull off at school), so instead of just eating them, I’ll stick a candle in them or something and sing “Happy Birthday” to Autostraddle.

    I love this website. Congrats on all the progress you’ve made. :)

  3. I love Autostraddle and am proud to have been creepstalking the site since it’s creation.

    But seriously, as a homo website addict, Autostraddle is what I’ve always wanted from a queer site- a solid balance of politics and entertainment, with smart writers AND commenters. When I said I had a crush on you Autostraddle, I wasn’t kidding!

  4. YAY Happy Birthday Autostraddle. I remember the day you were born. You were such a cute little thing, and now look at you. I think you’re growing in like double doggy years or something because you’ve made way too much progress to be a 1 year old.

  5. Wooh, happy birthday! I can’t believe it has been a year already. o_0 I don’t think I’ve ever consistently read a website like this, wowzers. Everything just keeps getting better! I’m really digging the addition of technostraddle. Only thing I’d like to see is some more merch, I wanna spread the love home slice. <3

  6. I could totally write for the next 5 hours about how much I love you guys, but I have to make baked mac and cheese right now. Just know that I love this site whole bunches. I would jump in front of team Autostraddle if there was a crazy man with a gun because your voices need to be heard forever. Happy birthday!

    • Mac and cheese? Heck yeah, now it’s a party!

      I love Autostraddle, and I especially love everyone who comments. All the readers who aren’t me are super smart and funny and smart.
      I’m going to write dirty Kirk/Spock/Autostraddle fanfic in celebration.

  7. I don’t have time to support this statement with arguments right now, but Autostraddle is my favorite website of all time and the world is such a better place with it in it. My secret wish is for it to reach 10 million unique visitors a day.

    I am so glad that such a large number of passionate and dedicated people WITH A VISION has gotten together and is coordinating so smoothly to keep it running. You guys have many talents and I am so glad you are putting them to such good use. It’s like the smartest, funniest people in the world have magically gravitated here and are using this website to express themselves. As Dorothy Surrender has said: too much good stuff.

  8. Dear Autostraddle,
    Happy birthday! I love you even when we disagree (or you’re being slightly self-congratulatory, though rightfully so). You are so smart and shiny and good looking, and you’re helping people become who they want to be in a society where stereotypes are being pushed so far down our throats, they’re choking us to silence.
    Thank you and good night,
    -Paper

  9. Happy Birthday AS!! I read your articles every single day but have never ever commented, so I figure today is a good day to start. So many congratulations to you. Keep up the good work!!! You are awesome and I bet that there are tons and tons of people like me out there who love but are shy and don’t say it often enough.

  10. Happy Birthday Autostraddle! I’m happy to have had the pleasure of reading your fabulously written articles that always lead to me laughing or making me think — or both.

    I think Autostraddle does for LGBT websites kind of what the Daily Show did back in its earlier seasons… it changed the way we looked at how something was reported to us, and challenged us to be critical. You ladies are hilarious and clever, but you write with heart and passion, and you dare people to stand in front of you and your civil rights.

    Congrats on a viewer count and birthday well-earned!

  11. I came to Autostraddle at the end of Jenny’s death scene and have been reading ever since. It’s been so wonderful to see you grow and get better and better. This website and the wonderful ladies who work for it continually amaze me and make me all wibbly inside. Happy birthday Autostraddle. You’re like my best friend and I love you. <3

  12. happy birthday, autostraddle. what’s the first anniversary – paper? ha. print is dead and autostraddle has risen from its ashes!

    seriously though, i love you guys, and i love this site for how accessible and unpretentious and honest it is. you’re just really great people turning out really great content day after day, and you should know that so long as there is an internet, i (and we) will be here to love all over you.

    BIRTHDAY BUMPS! *BUMP*

    • woah, this is not facebook. fail. What I mean is that Autostraddle is amazing and one of my absolute favorite websites!! :) hope to see you grow within the next year even more than you did before!

  13. this time last year my life was so boring. i just went back and re-read my journal entry from 9 march 2009 and the most exciting thing that happened was my computer broke. YAY autostraddle for turning my life into technicolor!

  14. Yay team! I love this website a whole heap. As someone fairly ‘new to the family’ it’s been a mega help in informing me and entertaining me and making me feel welcome (god, so much cheese). Live long and prosper bitches! Happy birthday!

  15. Awesome! Happy Birthday! I also feel reinvigorated by the post. I love the variety of pieces Autostraddle does, and I always check for your opinions on current events in pop culture or politics. The inclusive nature of the site is great. Keep up the good work!

  16. “Happy Birthday Team Autostraddle!!” Many thanks to each and everyone of you all, for putting out such an amazing website. Your voice is one that is informative, educational and witty, as well as thought provoking. But more importantly you allow everyone to join in the conversation. We may be all over the globe, living in our own little worlds, but here we can come together to chat/debate/laugh and well, just be amongst like-minded people (most of the time!!)
    Congratulations on your first year and here’s to many more!!

  17. Happy Birthday Autostraddle!!!!
    I would thank you for being entertaining, informative, honest, witty and down right amazing, but obviously the wonderful members already beat me to it, so i will just thank you for Existing =]

    ps. I dedicated my facebook status to you for the Entire Day!! (i know!! crazy,right? i never done that before but you are special) <3

  18. Dear Autostraddle,
    Thank you for existing. It’s awesome. You entertain me seven days a week. More so on sundays.

    If it were not for you, when my super catholic/straight lady-friend called me last night to invite me to go to Hooters, i could say “can we go in 20 minutes, i’m checking out lesbian porn”

    You ladies rule my world.

    <3

    • NSFW Sundays is the reason why god decided to rest on the 7th day. You know, coz they’re not suited for work? and so, god decided to take a brief vacation on sunday? so “it” could watch hot lesbians, some of them topless or even nekekd! which is not suited for work. but now there’s no work on sundays. because of the lesbians. YES!!!!

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUTOSTRADDLE.

  19. Dear Autostraddle,
    I was there when your mom was gestating in L word recaps. I was present at your birth. I love you very much, more than one would think a straight black girl would. You are the best thing to happen to me since Angelina Jolie, Tegan and Sara, and Tom Welling! And I wish you many more years!!
    Love, NyJa

  20. congrats on a great year. i’ve only been visiting since january, but whenever there aren’t new things posted and i’m bored, i go back and read old stuff. so i can say that about the whole year.
    thank you for your balance of the serious and the entertaining/of the queer with the relevant and not queer. and thank you for the news mixed with comments that remind me how relevant it is to my life!

    Happy Birthday, AS. many more to you)

  21. Congrats and happy birthday, Autostraddle!

    Thank you to the AS team and community for creating such a welcoming place on the interwebs. Autostraddle consistently has great articles and interviews, lively discussions, thoughtful comments, and liberal doses of snark, sarcasm, and hilarity.

    Oh, and pretty pictures, lots of pretty pictures…those are nice, too. :)

  22. I’m so glad that I came across this site half a year ago!! I mean, I have been away from the US for almost a decade, and I love reading about stuff from a different culture, especially concerning the LGBT community and all. I love discovering the differences and similarities between Taiwan and the US. The best thing is that now I know how hilarious, interesting, friendly, and smart the gay community is all over the world. :)

  23. We should throw a handful of simultaneous Autostraddle parties across the world. With birthday hats and I’ll buy you a beer, because you’re beautiful.

    But for real, thanks for everything. Am I allowed to get misty-eyed over this? Because that’s happening a little maybe.

  24. instead of writing a comment on this i wrote my responses for the upcoming roundtable, i hope that is a good enough birthday present!

    but really, i just want to say that autostraddle has changed my life. i felt so much love and support from the wonderful people who work here that i came out to my parents immediately after returning from a trip to AS headquarters. also, summer ’09 was probably the best summer i’ve ever had.

    thank you riese, alex, laneia, sarah, brooke, crystal, carly, robin, etc., + the crazy fucking interns for being some of the best friends i’ve ever had. also tinkerbell, i feel like she secretly keeps this machine going.

  25. My Autostraddle birthday cookie! http://twitpic.com/17nnir
    The Valentine’s Day recipe page has been bookmarked on my computer since it was posted. Thank you Laura for these fabulous cookies. I was just asked for the recipe, but I’m not sure whether I want to give it to the girl, or tell her she needs to be in the super secret lesbian society and then MAYBE she will gain access to the recipe. The latter seems like more fun.

  26. I’ve been hooked on AS since this summer, but this is my first ever comment, because I think it’s really important that I share this:

    you. ladies. ROCK. my. world.

    That is all :)

  27. OMG, my fav sites birthday is the day before mine (technically) although as I write this its my birthday, the joys of being an aussie I guess. Happy first Birthday to you Autostraddle. Thank you for all you have done and wishing many many more birthdays because I dont know what I would do without you.

  28. Today in one of my classes I literally said out loud to the person next to me “I feel like I am forgetting someone’s birthday today… ” I think it was a website…. There really is only one thing to get a website for their birthday…….in my opinion

  29. I love Autostraddle because a) it has FEELINGS b) it’s a place with a lot of queer chicks like me (by which I mean queer chicks who like science fiction, video games, random funny things on the Internet, politics, etc.) c) it’s written by some very funny and smart people d) DID I MENTION FEELINGS

    Congrats, guys. Here’s to more awesome years to come!

  30. I first came here at the start of this year. I didn’t really get into the rhythm of the site at first, but I hung around long enough to find the prop 8 recaps, and that’s where it began for me. Despite knowing nothing about the issue, the sheer intelligence, humour and quality of the writing completely hooked me.

    It, and later articles, made me reconsider long-held opinions, care about things I’d previously been oblivious to or apathetic about, made me physically sit and think and, in turn, inspired a demand in me to write back. That’s not something I usually do.

    I don’t use the word love easily, but Autostraddle, if your car broke down in the middle of nowhere, I’d drive all night to come pick you up.

    So happy birthday, and have a drink on me.

  31. hello autostraddle. while i have been stalking you since i first saw you a year ago, this is the first time i have spoken to you. i felt it was the right time to introduce myself and say that… well… i love you a little bit. ok, i love you a lot. but not in a creepy way just in the way that, like, i think about you when i’m not on the internet and when i hear taylor swift and when someone is making a really dumb comment about something and i try to imagine what you might say about it. so there. i said it. also, happy birthday.

    • know what’s weird? i think about you guys when i’m not on the internet! and when i hear a cool song, i wonder how many of you would dig it and how many of you would think it was pretentious. and when someone makes a really dumb comment, i know there are thousands of ridic smart weirdos who would have something totally fucking clever / hilarious to say about it. and i really love this job.

      <3

    • Loved this.

      “..when someone is making a really dumb comment about something and i try to imagine what you might say about it.” I feel the same way about the other Auto-team members about the commenters here. For reals.

      Thanks for coming out of the shadows to say hi :)

  32. Happy Belated Birthday Autostraddle!

    If I had a card for you it would be one of those giant Hallmark Greeting music cards featuring a photo of Nancy McKeon circa Facts of Life “Jo” riding in on a motorcycle with a big smile and a twinkle in her eye.

    Open the card and it plays the following sound byte: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGoqw2q3388

    then the Facts Of Life theme starts playing: http://www.televisionhits.com/factsoflife/snd/factsopening80.mp3

    Thanks for being our contemporary Mrs. Garrett and teaching us the Autostraddle facts of life ;)

  33. i’d love to see a story utilizing our rodeo disco allies – dykes on bicycles. whether it’s about style, the feminist/political act of riding alongside cars, the DIY aspect of building your own bike, a profile on messengers, or even a story about Revolution Montreal – a bike shop in Montreal that sells fixed gear bikes and $15 lesbian haircuts.

    tell these stories and i’ll love you forever. more than i already do – which is maybe impossible. :)

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