By Indulgence Editors
As we are rebooting our magazine Indulgence, we decided to share a few thoughts with you on where our name comes from. We called our magazine Indulgence not to embrace mindless greed, gluttony, or sloth, but instead to insist on a sense of being whole, doing what we want to do, and indulging our own instincts and interests. This rejects the prescriptions of a hopelessly disenfranchised, corporate, torn world with a diminishing attention span.
When we founded Indulgence last year, the political situation had just taken a turn for the much worse. A competent, smart woman lost to a non-qualified, racist, (alleged) harasser, and full-time swindler. Creating this magazine, we forged space to communicate outside the academic world where both of us work. To devote our time to things we love, like writing and poetry, women’s novels, social justice, and discussion of all sorts. Our pieces and themes are centered on contemporary literature and a strong commitment to feminism and anti- racism, but draw on an eclectic canon that we form as we go. Indulgence means spending time with dear friends, working together. It means allowing ourselves to feel like contributors to the good bits of the world, even if it’s only a little bit.
We came to ‘Indulgence’ through a quick writing exercise at a coffeeshop close to our school. It sounded and felt right.
However, there is also some academic background to why Indulgence carries meaning for us, and that is the argument that pleasure, enjoyment, and indulgence are forms of resistance. We’ve come to believe that because of literature written by women when Angelina studied that literature and told Ian about it.
Angelina started to believe in pleasure as political when doing research on contemporary fiction written by women, novels such as Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, Gish Jen’s Mona in the Promised Land, and Mohja Kahf’s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. She also read theory by Audre Lorde and Luce Irigaray, and memoir-manifests such as Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me, Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness, Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl, and Carolyn Kay Steedman’s Landscape for a Good Woman. Angelina discovered that women tell stories about resistance to oppression by emphasizing pleasure in the private and in the domestic. Another example of this kind of storytelling can be found in Mindy Kaling’s television series The Mindy Project.
Woman’s pleasure and her indulgence in femininity—as experienced in friendship, relationships, or those supposedly superfluous leisure activities like shopping, makeup, dancing—are not trivial, superficial, or apolitical in a misogynist patriarchal society in which femininity is devalued and double standards are placed on women and men. Thus, pleasure is a site of the importance, completeness, and happiness of women’s lives because a woman who takes pleasure is a woman who is independent, equal, and enough. This is true for women. It is, by logical extension, true for every marginalized group.
Thus, at Indulgence we revel in what we love: reading, discussion, writing, and we select an eclectic, yet value based, group of authors and interlocutors to nourish those activities. We are so happy to share all of this with you, and can’t wait to hear your thoughts, publish your contributions, and move forward together.
Angelina & Ian