Salome Magazine
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The Legend | Oscar Wilde's Play | The Inspiration | The Magazine

The Legend

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Salome, described as a bizarre adolescent, was the daughter of Herodias and the stepdaughter to Herod, ruler of Galilee during biblical times. Legend has it that Herod was holding John the Baptist captive throughout a grand celebration. Herod demanded that his stepdaughter, Salome, dance for him as entertainment. In return for her impressive exertions, he promised, "Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom."

Some say that Salome deferred to her mother, who suggested she ask for the head of John the Baptist (on a silver platter). And because Herod was a man of his word, he complied.
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Oscar Wilde's Play
Oscar Wilde published Salome, a one-act play, in 1893. The play was originally written in French --perhaps to create some distance between the United Kingdom and his scandalous subject matter. Mr. Wilde experienced a great deal of difficulty getting his play onto the stage at all. Once performed, Salome received shameful press. An English version was also published, featuring Aubrey Beardsley's provocative illustrations, which have inspired Salome Magazine's design. Wilde's Salome takes the myth quite a bit farther and reveals a far more decadent perspective.

Salome is drawn to John the Baptist because of the salacious insults he hurls at her mother. She tries to seduce him and fails. Meanwhile, Herod guzzles fine wines and openly and inappropriately lusts for his stepdaughter. Herod begs Salome to entertain his party with the "Dance of the Seven Veils." Salome performs this erotic dance, and demands John the Baptist's head. Then Salome shows her macabre side when she kisses the dead prophet's cold lips. Herod is suddenly disgusted by Salome and orders her killed.

The play's language is a feast of suggestive dialogue and compelling descriptions, similes, and metaphors. These vehicles are at once natural, planetary, and mystical. Wilde's writing is so evocative and filled with sardonic double entendres that it has been likened to literary masturbation. Whether on the page or on the stage, the experience of Salome is dense and sweet.
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The Inspiration
The publication of Wilde's play coincided with both the turn of the century and a literary climate called the "New Woman" movement. Authors (both female and male) were suddenly exploring gender, rejecting motherhood, and considering furthering their careers before accepting their domestic callings. The New Woman rebelled against the Victorian model of the woman as a pure, domestic angel in the hope of unleashing her true aspirations and happiness.
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The Magazine
Salome Magazine was conceived during a number of conversations with a close friend who writes for an online political magazine. She drafted but never published a piece exploring the sad state of contemporary "women's" media. She cleverly associated the term "ghetto" with the smattering of television programs, magazines, and websites targeted at the modern women. The article led me to reimagine the world of women's media and I began to consider methods for renovating women's entertainment.

My friend's article forced me to ask myself these questions: Why are Lifetime, Martha Stewart, and Oprah Winfrey dictating women's entertainment? And why is their subject matter so devoid of substance and intellectual pith? Why are women who are creating websites, magazines and television still consumed with dieting, dating, and beauty tips? Is there no place on the dial or on the web where women can find something rich and complex and stimulating?

This vacuum inspired me. I wanted to give my feminist heroes, colleagues, contemporaries, and
friends a place to post their writings. I myself yearned for a forum to write; and I wanted to create an intelligent model of entertainment for women not dictated by what fashion magazines tell us are important women's issues.

Mostly, I wanted to take a look at what has become The New Woman's evil twin -- the post-feminist woman. Today our familiar friend wakes up at age 35 only to realize that she has put her education and career first and is frantically trying to outrace menopause. She has finally acquired the husband, the house, the golden retriever, and the sports utility vehicle, and she's ready to start a family. But on the domestic side of life, she has some catching up to do. Does she cook, clean, sew, or iron? Of course not. Her life is way too busy for that. She eats take-out six nights a week, tips her cleaning woman, drops her clothes off at the dry cleaner and is running all the time. Is she happy? Has she really fulfilled her dreams? What solutions are there for finding balance in our lives? This is the crux of Salome Magazine.

Salome as a mythological character ties into these goals of reinvention as a revolutionary figure. As women we are still objects of sexual desire. We are participating in this "dance" as a matter of course, but we are also preparing our demands and revisiting our desires.

My vision for this website is to create an safe online sanctuary where intelligent women may read weekly submissions, consider them, and provide thoughtful and respectful feedback on the issues and opinions discussed herein. Let us forge a community and come to our own individual and communal understanding about our authentic and rich veritable experiences as modern women.
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