Since 2013, Magdalene has been publishing articles that speak to adolescent girls and women, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and religious minorities in Indonesia.
This online publication was launched to offer a space for writers who wanted to tackle taboo topics in a country where Islamic hardliners have been aggressively pushing authorities to enforce their religious beliefs in society.
Indonesia is the largest country in the world with a Muslim-majority population. Its founding principles as a nation include the promotion of pluralism, moderation, and a concept of religious harmony known as Pancasila.
Below is Magdalene’s manifesto:
Magdalene is the fruit of our vision of an online publication that offers fresh perspectives beyond the typical gender and cultural confines. We channel the voices of feminists, pluralists and progressives, or just those who are not afraid to be different, regardless of their genders, colors, or sexual preferences. We aim to engage, not alienate.
Magdalene's founders are former journalists Devi Asmarani, Hera Diani and Karima Anjani. They said in a recent interview that they initially planned to create a web-based magazine that would serve as an alternative reading platform for women. Asmarani explained further:
We want to raise issues that are important… progressive issues that do not receive a lot coverage by the mainstream media because of reasons such as being taboo
It has built a team of dedicated writers and a growing reader base who support the website’s manifesto.
Below are some of the appreciative comments from Magdalene's readers:
one of the daily websites that I always read, I as a Muslim is also very much inspired from various content. https://t.co/9qCghJWYH5
— Azmi Ro'yal Aeni (@azmiroyalaeni) April 10, 2018
Such an important piece!? Good to know that I'm not alone in this situation. I'm a feminist & I've been struggling w/ the concept of religion. “We question our social circles. We are not comfortable with the way our family members, relatives, and friends see the world.” INDEED? https://t.co/FYzfb3O7tN
— FANY (@fanybecks) April 2, 2018
Loving the narratives (and the content also) ? https://t.co/EDD2rQHe6l
— That freckled girl (@julianisatya) April 10, 2018
In an interview with this author, Hera Diani mentioned that Magdalene’s male readers comprises 30 to 40 percent of all readers recently. She added that many male readers have expressed their gratitude for the enlightening articles published by the magazine. LGBT readers have also commented on how Magdalene articles have opened their minds about the paternalistic, misogynist and hetero-normative behavior that still exist in the community.