News, Wit & Commentary for Lesbians
JIC Post:From Houston VoiceATLANTA — When Linda Bryant opened Atlanta's Charis Books & More in 1974, she dreamed of creating a place where people could not only buy books, but literally come together to change themselves and the world. Buoyed by feminist publishing companies that thrived in the 1970s and '80s, the store evolved into a community center of sorts. But after three decades as a beacon for lesbians across the region, the South's oldest feminist bookstore needs a significant increase in sales if it is to survive to reach its 32nd birthday next November, according to Bryant and Charis co-owner Sara Look. In a widely disseminated Dec. 11 e-mail, the bookstore's staff asked the "Charis Community" if they still "want and need Charis to be here." Look said in an interview that she and Bryant, both lesbians, have been "carrying" the business financially, and cannot continue indefinitely. "I'm not asking people to save us," Look said. "What I want to know is, in this culture, do people still value and want there to be feminist bookstores?"
I'd be interested to know what the lesbians of Atlanta say. The women's book store in Santa Cruz closed last year, and frankly, although I wish we had a women's book store, I don't miss it. It wasn't a gathering place, and I long ago cease buying books locally. (I buy them from abebooks.) As a place for women to gather, what are we to do? Sometime in the last ten years I got tired of fighting with other women about "gender nazis" everytime a women's event was produced. The attacks at the Michigan festival were just too much for me. Perhaps the only women's communities in our future will be our retirement communities? Maybe the younger women don't want them? they don't know what they are missing, but you can't force people.
It's more convenient these days to buy books online, yes. But it's also sad to think of "the bar" as the only women's gathering place left. Of course, now that a statewide smoking ban has kicked in, we don't go to the bar anymore...
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