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BUST Readers Share Their Memories For Our 25th Anniversary

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For our 25th anniversary, we asked BUST readers to share their favorite BUST memories with us. Here are a few of our favorite letters.


I used to run a small business called Luna Offbeat Gear. I took out an ad in BUST in 2003, but something went wrong with the image and they needed it re-sent. I was worried about the info not getting to BUST in time, so my (now ex) husband and brother-in-law went to the BUST offices to deliver the files on a hard drive. When they got back, my husband was cracking up! He said everyone was really cool and all went well, but that there were vibrators and dildos in the office and my bro-in-law was freaked out! My husband was used to seeing just about everything (having worked in graphic arts in the Bay Area), but my brother-in-law was in shock. Ha! We laughed about that for a while. Thanks for holding it down, BUST!  –Keziah Gamboa Stoner, San Leandro, CA


When I was in high school, circa 2001, my best friend and I were reading BUST in history class, and when we got to the “One-Handed Read,” we were straight up laughing our adolescent asses off. The story was about a woman who had always had a crush on her dentist, and one day during a routine checkup, she started sucking on his finger and they ended up taking a trip to pound town. Of course it made us uncomfortable and giddy. But the funniest part for us was that my best friend’s father had been my dentist since I was five, so we were losing our shit. Our laughing got so distracting, our teacher threatened to take the magazine away. We still laugh about that story to this day, and her dad is still my dentist. Thanks for the memories, BUST!  –Vanessa A., New Orleans, LA

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I’ll never forget picking up my first copy of BUST, the “She’s So Money” Issue with Ann Magnuson gracing the cover (Spring 1999). Working for peanuts in a record store, I knew I had to get that hot issue in my hands. It felt alive! It reminded me of Sassy, and I couldn’t wait until the next issue. From Björk to Tina Fey, I’ve always gleaned wisdom, and more importantly, comfort from your interviews. Every issue reminds me that I am not alone. BUST has been with me in good times and dark times. And it has helped me connect with other strong women who are doing important things and inspiring one another. I am proud to support BUST, and all “women with something to get off their chests.” Congratulations on 25 years, and here’s to 25 more.  –Serine Shannon, Apex, NC

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In the summer of 1995, I went to the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago with my mom. At one of the booths, I saw this adorable, bright-pink magazine. It was BUST’s “My Life as a Girl” Issue (Winter/Spring 1995). I had to buy it. Flipping through, it was like peeking into a new, risqué world that I was flirting with but hadn’t fully grasped yet. I was 13, and I re-read this magazine over and over. I still have it. It’s a little tattered and dog-eared, but still intact. The short stories, articles, and pictures helped develop my bubbling mind! I’ve been a huge fan and subscriber ever since. Not all of my issues made it through the years, but I cherish my collection. Happy 25th anniversary! I love you, BUST!  –Emily Rose Cohen, Chicago, IL


I first came across BUST when I was 20. I had just left a verbally abusive relationship, was shaken to my core, and needed a magazine like BUST badly. Coming from a Latin culture, I was starved for voices that portrayed women as we really are: multi-layered, messy, unpredictable, and sometimes weird. BUST provided this for me—it inspired me and gave me ideas I didn’t know I needed. Reading your pages, and seeing images of women who stretched beyond the status quo, I saw and felt my sexuality, humor, and style embodied. I’m 34 now and have a daughter who looks through BUST with curiosity. I hope many other young girls grow up finding what I found in your pages as well. Thank you for making a space where women can take a breath and find humor while fighting the patriarchy.  –Soheyla Guillo, Chicago, IL

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When I was 15, I was suffering from OCD and depression. That year, my mom found BUST’s Summer 2004 issue with Jena Malone on the cover and brought it to me because she thought I’d like it. I did! I ended up subscribing, and I read every issue cover-to-cover. BUST exposed me to so much not-necessarily-mainstream culture and so many wonderful feminist ideas. It was smart and funny and cool, it helped drive my activism in high school, and it provided a lifeline to the outside world on days when I felt isolated. I’d often spend weekends listening to music and reading BUST (sometimes cutting it up to make collages). Fourteen years later, I still love the magazine! Thanks for continuing to highlight awesome women doing awesome things, and for having smart articles and cool crafts. I’m so glad you exist!   – Whitney Donielson, Eugene, OR

In high school, I wore vintage clothes, obsessively read Anaïs Nin and Joan Didion, and listened to Nina Simone and Bikini Kill until my cassettes wore out. This was not the norm at my all-girls Catholic school. While I wasn’t bullied, I always felt like an outsider. But then I discovered BUST, and found out there were other girls like me. BUST celebrated unique style and encouraged me to explore and question every aspect of life, from sexuality to politics to my career to consumerism. As a 41-year-old entrepreneur today, I look back on BUST as a mentor that led me to start Dear Handmade Life, an organization that helps women turn their passions into businesses. By celebrating indie culture and female empowerment, you inspired me to create a life that reflects my beliefs, embodies the DIY ethos, and feeds my soul.  – Nicole Stevenson, Orange, CA

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I took BUST to work with me one day—it was the Sex Issue with Cristina Martinez and Jon Spencer on the cover (Winter/Spring 1998). I’d been looking at it with a female coworker, but after we’d put it aside, a straight male coworker picked it up and started flipping through. I thought he was going to faint dead away. He seemed genuinely shocked that women were interested in sex or any sort of explicit sexual content. And this was not an older guy—we were all in our early 20s. My female coworker and I laughed a bit but we weren’t embarrassed, nor did we attempt to make it seem like we were ignorant of the subject matter. I hope he became at least somewhat more enlightened about female sexuality. I still have that issue.  –Nicole Wynter, Toronto, Canada

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It was the late ’90s when I first discovered BUST at Borders. The mag opened my eyes to a world of all sorts of books, music, and topics that weren’t available to the mainstream public. It was through BUST that I first discovered people like Björk and Tina Fey, but I was (and still am) a fan of the craft articles as well. I’m so glad you guys are still around, especially in this era when our country is led by people who openly despise us. Congrats to 25 years, and here’s to another 25!  –Christina Aragon, Oxford, PA

 

I have been reading BUST since 2001. I found it at a record store, and as a teenage misfit and feminist in a small New England town, it was a touchstone to a different world. Over the years, my subscription has followed me to different apartments, on a cross-country move, and kept me company on my journey from teenager to adult. While it’s hard to pick a favorite cover story, I am a big fan of the Kathleen Hanna and Carrie Brownstein issues. I have so many fond BUST memories. I attended the 15th and 20th anniversary parties and both were a blast. I have gotten lots of great book and music recommendations from your magazine. And after I read about the feminist exercise class Pony Sweat, I went to a few classes in Los Angeles. What fun that was! Happy 25th anniversary, BUST!  –Emma Quibbons, Seattle, WA 

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The first time I heard of BUST was when I read the not-so-friendly 1998 Time article, “Is Feminism Dead?” The story was very negative about everything from women’s magazines to Ally McBeal. The one good thing that came out of it was a picture and mention of BUST. A few years later, I saw Gloria Steinem on the cover of BUST (Winter 2000). I bought it immediately and I’m so thankful I did. It was a great issue with Kathleen Hanna and Gloria trying to bring second and third wave feminism together. My favorite part was their spirited debate on the merits and actions of Andrea Dworkin. The rest of the issue was excellent, too. It remains one of my favorite BUST issues ever. Actually, it’s one of the best issues of any magazine ever!   –Asia Alaska, Athens, GA


I first heard about BUST at my college’s Women’s Center, and the first issue I fell head-over-heels in love with was the one with Courtney Love on the cover (June/July 2013). She’s the perfect BUST cover star—a kick-ass feminist who has fucked up many times, but has come back many times, too. I’ve always loved your strong voice. Despite growing up in a conservative household, I identified as a feminist at a very young age. BUST helped me realize that women can be soft, into crafts, and strong, too. I know it’s a tough market out there, but your content is sorely needed in today’s world. I get many magazines, and BUST is the only one I read from cover-to-cover. Here’s to all the current and future feminists! What would we have ever done without you, BUST?!   –Teresa K. Traverse, Phoenix, AZ

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Tonight I opened my son’s time capsule (he was born in 1996). In it, I had collected fun things from his first year. I never thought the years would pass by so quickly. But here we are—he’s now a 21-year-old, smart, funny, and sensitive man. I wanted to share this picture, because it’s proof that I’ve been a fan of BUST for so long. The magazine is in perfect condition and it had a note in it that read, “One of your mom’s favorite magazines. Remember you are being raised by a riot grrrl, a feminist, and a strong woman.” –Claudia Lake, NY, NY

I started reading BUST 24 years ago, as a lonely, angry, and confused 9th-grader living in the suburbs of Dallas. In 1994, north Texas was extremely oppressive toward women, minorities, LGBTQ folk, and basically anyone who didn’t conform to conservative values and lifestyles. I was disgusted by the toxic masculinity and misogyny that surrounded me at home, at school, at church, and in the broader culture. But I had no words to explain my feelings and no one to discuss these things with. This was before widespread internet access, so it was difficult to find new art and music, discussions about female sexuality, and coverage of interesting matters for women. Luckily, I discovered BUST at my bookstore and was able to read about strong, independent, educated, nonconformist women. BUST provided me with hope and role models for who I wanted to become. I’m currently a 39-year-old civil rights attorney. I do meaningful work that I enjoy in a community that I embrace. I am the only person in my family to go to college, graduate school, and move out of state. Reading BUST helped me in my formative years and led me to this life that I now live and love. Thank you, BUST. –Claudette Rushing, Seattle, WA

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I had just moved to a small town and was missing everything about city life when I discovered the PJ Harvey issue of BUST (Fall 2004) at my local co-op. I was in my 20s at the time, and I only wish I’d found it sooner! (Though I did have Sassy in my teens.) I lived in that town for five years, looked forward to and kept every issue from my subscription, and when I moved, I donated the entire collection to the public library hoping it would make its way to some other girl and blow her mind.  –Leanne Drury Melsness, Alberta, Canada

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2018  print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

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