Bust (magazine)

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Bust (magazine) cover.jpg
Editor-in-chief/Publisher Debbie Stoller
Categories Feminism
Frequency Every two months
Founder Debbie Stoller, Laurie Henzel, and Marcelle Karp
Year founded 1993
Country United States
Based in New York City
Language English
Website bust.com
ISSN 1089-4713

BUST is a women's lifestyle magazine that is published six times a year. The magazine is published by Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel.


BUST covers music, news, crafts, art, sex, and fashion from an independent ("indie"), third wave feminist perspective. The magazine's slogan is "For women with something to get off their chest."

In the book titled Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia Volume 1, Miranda Campbell wrote a section on Bust magazine and the consistent features of each issue which include: "Real Life: Crafts, Cooking, Home and Hearth" which encourages readers to make their own items instead of buying them, "Fashion and Booty" which suggests clothing, accessories, and other novelty items readers might be interested in purchasing, and articles on car maintenance featuring auto technician Lucille Treganowan. Bust magazine promotes a balance of contributing to consumerism as well as encouragement of independence from consumerism. The magazine also features articles on issues about sex in which they encourage women to embrace their sexuality and each issue also includes an erotic short story.[1]


BUST was founded in New York City in 1993[2][3] by Stoller, Henzel, and Marcelle Karp. The trio founded BUST after meeting at Nickelodeon;[4] they wanted to create a positive and outspoken women's magazine for their generation. "Our intention," Stoller said, "was to start a magazine that would be a real alternative to Vogue, Cosmo, Mademoiselle, and Glamour, something that was as fierce and as funny and as pro-female as the women we knew." She said the women she knew who read the Cosmos of the world "always ended up feeling bad afterward. They support very stereotypical ideas about women."[5] BUST started off as a zine, with Stoller, Henzel, and Karp photocopying, stapling, and distributing the issues themselves after work and on weekends. After receiving positive feedback on their zine, Stoller, Henzel, and Karp left their jobs to work on BUST full-time, putting out four issues a year.

Stoller named the magazine BUST because she wanted a name that was "provocative, funny, and also sexy."[6]

BUST was purchased by Razorfish Studios in August 2000; one year later, after September 11, Razorfish Studios went out of business.[4] Stoller and Henzel later bought BUST back from Razorfish Studios.

In the United States, BUST can be found at: Barnes & Noble stores, Universal News, Hudson News, Wild Oats, Whole Foods, McNally Jackson, Books-A-Million, Powells, Rough Trade (Brooklyn), Other Music (NYC) and Bouwerie Iconic Magazine (NYC).

Bust magazine currently has apps available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.



BUST sponsors the Holiday Craftacular,[7] an annual craft fair in New York City that began in December 2005, and added a Spring Fling Craftacular in 2008.

The fierce, funny, and feminist women at Bust Magazine started an annual indie and DIY craft fair in New York City that hold events throughout the year. There are additional events in London, Los Angeles, and Boston. They have received different awards for being a celebration of DIY culture that displays the work of people all over the United States. The events are intended to bring the feminist community together and also include food, giveaways, and participation with non-profits. The 10th annual Bust Craftacular 2015 was in Brooklyn, New York and was at the Brooklyn Expo Center.[8]

20th anniversary[edit]

On July 25, 2013 Bust held 'The Bust Magazine 20th Anniversary Extravaganza' in Brooklyn, New York. To commemorate the magazine's 20th anniversary, they held the 'Golden Bra Awards'.[9]

DIY Guide To Life[edit]

Bust's DIY Guide to Life consists of more than 250 of the best DIY projects from the magazine's then 15 years of publication. There is DIY guide to a wide range of things from gardening, to weddings, and sex projects. It is organized by the categories, beauty and health, fashion, food and entertainment, career, finance, travel, and sex. It is a DIY encyclopedia formulated to assist in empowering women with practical ideas for do it yourself projects.[10]

The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order[edit]

The founders of Bust, Stoller and Henzel are the authors of The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order which was published on August 1, 1999, by Penguin Books. The book has eight topics on female issues and comprising the best writings from the magazine. There are essays about girls' culture, such as women in media, sex, fashion, growing up, and relationships with boys.[11]

Cover models[edit]

Many mainstream and indie actors, directors, comedians, and musicians have appeared on the covers [12] of Bust. They include Lily Allen, Broad City, Carrie Brownstein, Aidy Bryant, Lizzy Caplan, Laverne Cox, Diablo Cody, Sofia Coppola, Kat Dennings, Vera Farmiga, America Ferrera, Tavi Gevinson, Kathy Griffin, Grimes, Kathleen Hanna, Gillian Jacobs, Rashida Jones, Mindy Kaling, Ellie Kemper, Jemima Kirke, Jenny Lewis, Courtney Love, Helen Mirren, Janelle Monáe, Tracy Morgan, Ellen Page, Anna Paquin, Dolly Parton, Aubrey Plaza, Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, Portia de Rossi, Krysten Ritter, Maya Rudolph, Amy Schumer, Jason Schwartzman, Alia Shawkat, She & Him, Sarah Silverman, Jenny Slate, Amber Tamblyn, Liv Tyler, Florence Welch, Hayley Williams, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Shailene Woodley.

Advertising in Bust[edit]

As a feminist publication, Bust strives to make money off of advertising while still upholding its feminist values. Bust does not shy away from using sex to sell, as many advertisers do, but it does so in a way that is still in line with the feminist ideals that Bust advocates. While sexual appeals appeal often in advertisements, including advertisements geared towards women, research has found that they typically operate within a Westernized, patriarchal framework that subordinates women to men and goes against many feminist ideals. [13]

Many scholars have criticized the use of sex as a means of selling in advertising, claiming that these type of ads silence the desires of women while presenting them as objects for the pleasure and consumption of men. [14] While some advertisers have made an effort to more empowering to women, some critics claim that these advertisements still fit within a narrow, Western, patriarchal framework of idealized beauty. For example, these advertisements still feature typically thin, white, conventionally attractive models. Furthermore, many sexual appeals in advertisements fit into a narrow heteronormative framework and do not address alternative sexualities or gender identities. [15] Bust attempts to subvert the way that sex is used in advertising in a way that fits into the feminist ideals it strives to uphold.

There are several ways that Bust has featured advertisements that make sexual appeals while simultaneously reinforcing the feminist ideals that it upholds. One way is through the use of sexual appeals as a form of sexual education. One example of this is an advertisement by Smitten Kitten that informs readers on the differences between silicone and jelly-based sex toys. This advertisement is sexual while also being educational with the end goal of consumer empowerment. Another method of advertising in Bust is advertisements that link a product to feminist and/or other social change agendas. An example of this is the use of sex appeals to advertise environmentally and ethically sourced menstrual pads. This is a way to sell a product while also promoting a cause that will resonate with Bust's feminist audience. A third method of advertising in Bust is advertisements that are more inclusive of alternative identities and that promote nontraditional body types and diverse sexual identities as sexy. This serves to include many people that are typically left out of traditional advertising schemes while also promoting them in a sexualized light that affirms that they too are fully human.

The advertisements that are featured in Bust are an example of sex appeals that are used towards the consumerist goal of making a profit while also working towards the promotion of feminist ideals.


"BUST readers are smart, independent, pro-active women who like celebrities, makeup and clothing as well as political activism and books." - Riese Bernard for Autostraddle[16]


  1. ^ Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia Volume 1 pp. 208-210 http://publisher.abc-clio.com/9780313084447/241
  2. ^ Elizabeth Groeneveld (2010). "Join the Knitting Revolution: Third-Wave Feminist Magazines and the Politics of Domesticity" (PDF). Canadian Review of American Studies. 40 (2). Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  3. ^ Mary Kosut (May 1, 2012). Encyclopedia of Gender in Media. SAGE Publications. p. 756. ISBN 978-1-5063-3828-6. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "BUST Magazine Refuses to Go, Well, Bust". LA Times. April 1, 2002. Retrieved June 10, 2012
  5. ^ "The New Feminist Mystique," The New York Times, September 10, 2001
  6. ^ "The Four Questions," The Association of Magazine Media, May 11, 2007
  7. ^ "Bust Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair Holiday 2011". Inhabitat New York. inhabitat.com. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Bust Magazine Craftacular Website http://bust.com/craftacular/bust-craftacular-home.html
  9. ^ Bust's Turning 20...Come Party With Us! http://bust.com/busts-turning-20come-party-with-us.html
  10. ^ Examples of crafts http://bust.com/info/downloads.html
  11. ^ The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order http://www.buffalolib.org/vufind/Record/1026546/Reviews#tabnav
  12. ^ Current and Past Issues http://bust.com/advertiser-showcase/back-issues.html
  13. ^ D'Enbeau, Suzy. "Sex, Feminism, and Advertising: The Politics of Advertising Feminism in a Competitive Marketplace" (PDF). 
  14. ^ Gill, R. "Empowerment/Sexism: Figuring Female Sexual Agency in Contemporary Advertising." Feminism & Psychology 18.1 (2008): 35-60. Web.
  15. ^ Johnston, Josée, and Judith Taylor. "Feminist Consumerism and Fat Activists: A Comparative Study of Grassroots Activism and the Dove Real Beauty Campaign." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 33.4 (2008): 941-66. Web.
  16. ^ Article: 15 Women's Magazines That Don't Suck, Are Awesome http://www.autostraddle.com/14-good-womens-magazines-stuff-thats-worth-your-time-money-136118/

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