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Messy And Without Apology

Or, why we started PULP

July Westhale
Photo by Ricardo Viana // Unsplash

n addition to being a writer, I also straddle a love of science and medicine. I never could choose between the two; I am a writer before anything else, but to pay the bills I teach, and because I could never choose, I teach both.

I work as a community college educator, teaching Critical Thinking and culturally responsive pedagogy within a system that is inherently designed to only serve the mainstays of colonialism — and that acknowledgement, and the subsequent subversion of it, is what drives my own personal pedagogy. In order to make teaching sustainable for myself, I don’t do it full time.

My other teaching job is educating medical students and professionals within OBGYN about patient advocacy, trans competency, and trauma awareness; I essentially teach medical professionals how to not be assholes, how to read the room, especially when the room deals with already marginalized and systemically victimized demographics of people: patients, when they walk into an exam room, are in a position of vulnerability. They rely on a “professional” to tell them what’s “wrong” with them, and said professionals are often the gatekeepers of the most basic functions and performances of their/our bodies.

Throughout our lives, we become academized to consider the world through two writing lenses: that which is academic (code-switching), and that which is not. Rarely are we told to honor our personal narratives, our voices, the ways our beings and bodies have interacted with the very world we are often writing about. Personal journalism, especially about something as radical as bodies (which shouldn’t be radical, really) offers the opportunity to create space inside of narratives that interface with the larger world. That larger world is messy, complex, dangerous, and always political. Because we are not islands unto ourselves, we are always graying the space between public and private, consciously or unconsciously.

PULP Magazine offers the opportunity to have media that interacts with the world as we organically do, which is to say, physically, personally, messily, and without apology, but with a tremendous amount of contextualizing. We need narratives like these, not only because we find ourselves inside of them, but also because finding ourselves inside of them allows us to do the deep work of healing ourselves, and subsequently, healing the world.

Reading these stories allows us to find ourselves inside of them.
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So, PULP isn’t just a new publication about sex. In our pages, you’ll see stories about the body and all of its intersections: how a body grieves, how a body moves, how a body defines itself and is define by others. You’ll find stories that deconstruct, reconstruct, draft, dismantle, dismiss, and hold high gender. Stories that question the delineation between ourselves and others, as well as validate the necessary boundaries between ourselves and others.

And that, dearest reader, is the difference: PULP is a fresh look at the implications of humanhood in a time that increasingly polices. The umbrella of PULP isn’t just a publication about sex because sex is only part of it — and such a small part, at that.

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