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Bust Mag Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel pic Adrienne Grunwald NYT

Bust Magazine – for women who have something to get off their chests – is a scrappy little magazine that has outstayed the big guns. Bust is a rarity, having kept its cult following while staying afloat in a media sea of bankruptcies, mergers and buyouts. Founding editors Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel ( above) started the magazine with a Riot Girls sensibility in 1993. Twenty-five years later, they are still here.

“We started Bust because women’s magazines were crap and made people feel bad about themselves,” Ms. Stoller, 55, said from her office, located in Sunset Park’s Industry City. “I wanted to make women feel better and make a different kind of women’s magazine.”

The magazine was a good 15 years ahead of the outspoken and unapologetic feminist content that would happen online in the aughts, said Anna Holmes, editorial director at Topic.com, a visual storytelling platform, which is part of First Look Media.

“Bust was an examination of gender politics,” said Ms. Holmes, who was also the founder of the feminist blog Jezebel and its editor in chief for three years. “Bust has legitimacy and authenticity because they predate all of the feminist websites, newsletters and verticals that cropped up in 2009 through today.”

A Trump bump in 2016 helped, as enraged women took to the web, each looking for ways to lend their support. They donated money to Bust; its subscriptions increased. But the enthusiasm was short-lived. The website is particularly hard to finance because of changing Facebook algorithms and Google ads that don’t bring in much revenue.

This is the reason to subscribe…..

“Bust was one of the original resistance magazines,” Mr. Husni said. “They never let an ad influence their decision, they remained in touch with their audience, and they provided an antidote for women before it was the norm,” he said. “They have a lot of financial trouble, but they were on a mission. When you’re on a mission, you’re not going to let anyone stop you. Their subscribers feel the magazine is like a membership card to a community. That keeps the magazine going.”

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