Controversial Writing: Q&A with Bitch Media’s Sarah Mirk

Jay Rogers

February 13, 2013

Eugene, Ore. –

Sarah Mirk is the online editor for Bitch Media magazine. She writes and blogs on current feminist and political issues. Today, she published The Feminist Facebook Army: How FORCE Spoofed Victoria’s Secret with Social Media (and Didn’t Get Sued), and says it’s her favorite piece she’s worked on so far.

Q: How did you decide you wanted to write about feminism?
SM: I’m personally interested in dissecting the stories I tell myself about gender and sexuality, in figuring out the ways I’ve been taught to be a certain way. This connects with a larger political goal of building choice and equality for people in all aspects of their lives.

Q: With Bitch Media, you’ve blogged On Our Radar and Beaker Bitch. What was your favorite beat to ever cover?
SM: I just started here as the web editor of Bitch, but my favorite thing I’ve done so far is interview these Baltimore feminists about a campaign they ran. It was inspiring to talk two such smart, on-the-ball, fun activists.

Q: What is the most memorable story you’ve ever worked on?
SM: Before this job, I worked for the Mercury for five years as a staff writer. I’d have to say the most memorable gender-centric story there was either the time I faked pregnancy to investigate crisis pregnancy centers or the time I auditioned for a reality show called The Bad Girls Club and failed miserably.

Q: What is the most difficult aspect of writing about feminism?
SM: Everything about is is difficult. The toughest thing is that everyone disagrees on pretty much every topic, so no matter what my opinion is, people will fight me on it. Publishing an opinion with my name on it is scary. Also, it’s hard to write in a way that’s inclusive—there’s always a more progressive and ethical extreme.

Q: Your bio says you live mostly online. What are your favorite, most useful networking sites, tools, apps?
SM: I like Twitter a lot and got into Tumblr last year—that’s a fun way to waste time. I use Instagram, too, it’s all the good parts of Facebook. I don’t use Facebook much except to promote work and talk to high school friends, it’s just too much otherwise. Mostly, online I read news and blogs.

Q: Where do you want to take your career in the future? What is your dream job?
SM: This is my dream job, I guess. I just want to be better at it.

Q: Who is your role model? What inspires you?
SM: I don’t have any role models, except my coworkers. I feel like I’m making this up as I go along. I’m inspired by people who work hard for things they believe in and create great new things in the world. I work hard because I love working hard and I’m driven to create because I have so many ideas for things I want to have exist.

Q: What is your best advice for new journalists, particularly those of us covering feminism?
SM: Actually write. Most people who want to be writers don’t write because it’s scary to publish something. Start a blog, start a Tumblr, start a zine, actually create something interesting and eventually someone will pay you for it.
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