Chandra LeGue: I Support...

Bitch Media & Willamette Riverkeeper

The hard working staff at Oregon Wild are dedicated to defending Oregon’s wild lands, wildlife, and waters. But there is more to us than our efforts to protect old growth forests, recover gray wolves, or reform Oregon’s lax clearcutting laws. We are also part of our broader communities. At a time when reaching out to our neighbors and working together across causes is more important than ever, we wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight some of the work done by other organizations. Our staff has selected causes that are important to them, and explained why they think these efforts are worthy of your support.

Bitch Media isn’t the friendliest of names, I know. But if you’re trying to call attention to your cause, a provocative name can help! Bitch’s mission is definitely worthy of attention. The nonprofit media group seeks to provide and encourage “an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture.”

I’m a feminist. You probably are too. But I don’t think deeply about feminism every day – I work to protect forests! Fortunately for women and advocates everywhere, the folks at Bitch Media do think about this stuff every day. They get diverse bloggers, writers, artists, and activists to weigh in and critique media coverage and pop culture through their magazine, website, and podcasts.

One of these guest writers is my friend Everett Maroon. As a long time feminist activist and a trans man raising a couple of boys, I admire and respect Everett’s point of view, which challenges me in the best way possible. Here is his perspective on the importance of Bitch Media, and I hope you’ll agree!

Bitch Magazine just celebrated its 20th anniversary. That's twenty years of holding up popular culture to a feminist lens, looking at everything from Barbie dolls to depictions of femininity in magazines, to women in television -- in front of and behind the camera -- and of course, in understanding American politics as a pervasive facet of popular culture. Yes, nowadays we have The Rumpus, and Jezebel, and other feminist web sites, but Bitch did it first, and as a nonprofit, the Bitch team continues to occupy a strong intellectual yet accessible space for feminists of many generations to consider more effectively how popular culture reflects and produces the opportunities for women. Given what is ahead for women in the near term, Bitch is extremely deserving of support as people try to make sense of and anticipate our new reality.

Willamette Riverkeeper

At Oregon Wild, we mostly deal with rivers running through public land – Wild & Scenic Rivers, pristine headwaters of major watersheds, and popular riverside trails. The headwaters of the Willamette River fall into those categories – the McKenzie, the North Fork Middle Fork, Opal Creek, the Middle Santiam… By the time these streams and rivers reach the mainstem, the Willamette’s more or less outside of our “jurisdiction” if you will. But it is the mainstem Willamette that really connects communities up and down the mighty Valley. 

Many of us in western Oregon likely take the Willamette River for granted, but nearly 70% of the state’s population lives within a 20 minute drive of the river. Where I am in Eugene, at the confluence of 3 of the Willamette’s big tributaries, I jog along the river path, swim at a beach I can ride my bike to, and watch osprey dive for fish while I’m enjoying a beer. The same water flows by those of you in Portland, who might be doing the same things along its banks.  The Willamette connects us all the way up the valley – through pioneer towns, farm fields, woodlands, and industrial wastelands.

Groups like Willamette Riverkeeper help foster a connection to this mighty river that connects us all. While they do great work to reduce pollution, protect land along the greenway, and restore wildlife habitat, their work goes far beyond your classic environmental group:  They help connect people to the river, and communities of people to each other.  Bringing people of all ages, from diverse communities, to the river to pick up garbage, plant trees, or dip a paddle is a great way to bring us all together!