And it was awesome.
No follow-up, just wanted to let you know.
Oh, fine. In case you aren’t already watching it, Vag Magazine is a hilarious web comedy that parodies some third wave feminist ideas (feminists skirts all incorporate anchor imagery!). It’s set at a magazine that sounds a lot like Bust where the staff is comprised of a roller derby champion,a perpetually smiling intern and a disaffected former Jane employee, as well as many others. We checked in with one of the show’s creators, Leila Cohan-Miccio, for insights into the nature of feminism and the magazine world. And spoilers. Mostly, just spoilers:
The Gloss: Great to talk to you! I love Vag! The entire office laughs. All four of us.
Leila Cohan-Miccio: That happens all the time! Caitlin and I were sitting in a restaurant once discussing the project and said “we need to talk about our vag” and it didn’t go over well. And then there’s another rival magazine called Cunt that we’re working into episodes, and we keep saying “the cunts are coming”, and then we realize it’s not appropriate.
It is a fantastic magazine. If we wanted to chuck this gig and get an internship at Vag or someplace like Vag, what would we have to do? I think what Kit [the show's intern] probably did was just showed up. No cover letter, just show up and seem polite and be happy to do whatever they want. I think that’s what they would value. I think the hiring staff wouldn’t care so much about traditional job metrics so much as someone’s ability to unquestioningly do what they’re told.
What prompted the idea for the show?:
Caitlin and I worked together on a past project. I wrote a sketch show called This is About Smith about Smith College. I wrote it, Caitlin directed, and several of the Vag cast members were in that. And it was just the fun-est experience. The cast got along really well. We wanted to do another project to capitalize on the chemistry we had there. And both of us are interested in feminist magazines, and we both had running bits about them. You know the erotica section in Bust? I remember one piece about a woman knitting a penis cozy for her boyfriend. And Catilin uses “vegan sweet potatoes” as a shorthand for everything about feminist magazines. So Caitlin brought the sketch idea to me, and we both wanted to go forward with it.
Will there be any male characters in the show?
Not immediately. Most of the cast from This Is About Smith is in it, except for the lone male from that. It’s not something we’re totally opposed to, but we do like that it’s an all female series.
What magazines do you enjoy?
I really liked Jane! I thought it wasn’t perfect, but in terms of a magazine I didn’t feel insulted by, it was great. There are parts of Bust I really enjoy. I still read Bust and Bitch. I used to work at New York Magazine and I’m a big fan, despite the bias. The New Yorker, too. All my favourite magazines keep folding.
The joke about funding in Vag!
Yes! Vag had to be funded by their sale of a reusable menstrual pad to a sole investor, who was one of the character’s dads. I think the joke goes by too quickly for most people to see, but that one pad that cost 100,00 dollars.
Have you gotten any flack about the show from, say, people who like to menstruate into buckets?
Not as much as I was nervous about. Bitch has been really supportive. Ms. has been really supportive. I think, overwhelmingly, people are really happy to be parodied. And I think that overall it’s fairly obvious that Caitlin and I identify as feminists and we’re saying that this is important enough to be parodied.
Why do you think feminists often get perceived as being humourless killjoys?
I think that there’s a lot of offensive stuff out there. Not to get Women’s Study 101, and pointing out that people are laughing from a place of privilege, but no one likes having their fun ruined. And I went to Smith! I know there are people who are totally humourless about it. But I think that’s changing. I love Tiger Beatdown and I think that she’s making feminist points in a way people can relate to, because you’re laughing when you’re reading it, not reading a horrible dry piece about “the male gaze”. I think it’s a good moment for funny feminist stuff.
Can you tell us why anchor imagery on skirts are so feminist?: That came from Bust’s fashion spread which is just anchor imagery! Which are really cute. But I don’t know why this is the predominant feminist fashion thing.
What’s coming up next?
We are releasing new episodes every Monday, and this Monday’s episode is a doozy. If you’re wondering about the logo, that will be revealed. And they’lll be released at vagmagazine.tv.