Debbie Stoller Talks About What Makes Bust a Hit

A Very Different Kind of Magazine Carves Out a Niche

A Bust Read: Debbie Stoller launched Bust as an answer to women’s publications that put women down while giving advice.
Aliya Naumoff
A Bust Read: Debbie Stoller launched Bust as an answer to women’s publications that put women down while giving advice.

By Michael Kaminer

Published June 19, 2013, issue of June 21, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Your 20th-anniversary issue includes a look at what’s changed since 1993. What would you say is the biggest change in the pop-culture landscape as far as women go?

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Tina Fey had her hands in so many parts of pop culture, from [“Saturday Night Live”] to her own show to playing Sarah Palin. Amy Poehler is also all over the pop-culture landscape. They’re two girls in the mainstream, but they represent the kind of person we represent — smart, funny, sarcastic, outspoken pop-culture feminists.

It’s tough out there for print media. How have you and Laurie Henzel managed?

We just did the whole thing scrappy. Started scrappy, still scrappy. We can never pay anybody what they really deserve, which is unfortunate, but it’s one way we’ve been able to stay in business. We live within our means.

What do you think Bust will look like in 20 years?

I have no idea, and I don’t want to have an idea. One thing that’s been so great is how much things have changed, and how feminism has changed. Cooking, crafting and domesticity are part of youth culture. They have a place. Feminism has worked its way through that. It’s not something I would have been able to predict 20 years ago. When surprises come up in the culture, that’s fun.

Bust magazine is rooted in feminism, but we don’t talk about feminism that much. I’d never say the way we’re seeing feminism right now is the be-all and end-all. That was the problem of second-wave feminism in the ’70s: There was an agenda of what feminism must be. Bust embraces some things that feminists have rejected. I’m hoping that in the next 20 years we’ll be able to work through this Rubik’s Cube of what feminism looks like. You have to keep rethinking and rethinking and rethinking, and eventually you hope society will get it right.

You own Bust.com. That must be worth a lot of money.

I don’t know. Nobody needs Bust.com to make money.

This interview has been edited for length and style.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.