Monday, July 2, 2012

A Terrible Ms. Take

If I were playing the word-association game and someone said "Ms. magazine," my response would likely be feminism. It's the heart of that publication, which began in December 1971 as an insert in New York magazine.

The magazine's rise in the early '70s coincided with the fledgling women's rights movement, and it provided a place where feminist voices could be heard. And, in the middle of 1996, it provided a place where glaring errors could be seen.

Ms. magazine may have helped to shape contemporary feminism, but it also did its part to set the movement back by spelling that very word incorrectly, in large letters, smack-dab in the middle of its May/June 1996 cover.

This classic blunder surely will go down in history. Or herstory.

7 comments:

  1. How did you find this one? It's almost unbelievable!!!!

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    1. I came across it on another editing blog, The Friendly Stickler (thefriendlystickler.wordpress.com). The error is more than 15 years old and has already been written about, but I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to put my own spin on such a spectacular faux pas.

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  2. I love this - did they acknowledge their error?? How embarrassing for such an arrogant organization. It reminds me of the cool girl who is strutting her stuff and then her shoe buckles under her! Gotcha - you are not so cool afterall! Humiliation is a good thing.

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    1. The “Ms. Take” was acknowledged in the August 1996 issue of “Esquire.” Here’s a copy of the short article by Jeannette Walls: “No wonder feminism has seen better days. On the cover of its May/June issue, ‘Ms.’ magazine misspelled the word: FEMINISM. Founding editor Gloria Steinem — who is now a consulting editor — took the typo with good humor. ‘Everybody was laughing about it,’ she says. ‘Nobody knows whose fault it was, if it was the printer’s or whatever. You know the word, so you skip over it.’ In other words, an honest mistake.”

      Honest mistake or not, I find it hard to believe G.S. and company were able to laugh about it. Seems to me like she was putting on a good face. Behind the scenes, at the “Ms.” offices, I’m sure there was more than meets the I, er, eye.

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  3. Oops - after all - my shoe just buckled!

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  4. Maybe they were trying to tell us something...there may be no I in Team...but there are lots of I's in Feminisisisisim? Or maybe they are trying to tell us there are more important issues in this world than spelling! Or maybe it is a zen thing and they need you to look into their third eye (I) to truly understand their point of view?

    Or maybe they just can't spell? Just a thought.

    Chris

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    1. All valid theories, Chris. Do me a favor: Get in touch with Glioiria Stieineim and get to the bottom of this mystery. Find out what’s with “I” infection. Thank you.

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