In the spring of 2016, Tiffany Tao (SFS’19) and Michele Dale (SFS’19) were taking Intro to International Relations with Professor Lise Howard. Following a lecture focused on women as weapons of war, Dale approached Tao with an idea.
“Michele realized that while Georgetown has plenty of places to share policy ideas and opinion pieces about the subject, there were few to no platforms dedicated to sharing how these horrendous acts against women made us feel, which is just as valid and important as the hard political side,” Tao says.
It was out of this void that Bossier was born.
Bossier (pronounced “BOSS-ee-ay”) is an intersectional feminist ‘zine aimed at empowering women and femme writers and artists, providing them with a space where their voices can be heard and validated.
“Georgetown students are impressive in a myriad of ways and have outlets on campus to showcase these ‘hard’ skills, but it was clear to me that before Bossier an avenue to collectively be vulnerable and feel empowered was missing,” Dale says.
The duo first met in Professor Lahra Smith’s first-year proseminar, which focused on women in Africa.
“So two brilliant SFS women [Howard and Smith] have been parts of Bossier‘s story without probably realizing it,” Dale notes.
Dale and Tao spent the summer before sophomore year developing Bossier’s mission and crafting their vision for the publication.
“Tiffany is a big-picture thinker with a genius for branding and marketing and working with her to develop our vision was indescribably exciting,” Dale says. “It was incredibly important to us that we spent the time to get Bossier right.”
After months of effort assembling a team and pulling together submissions, the first issue launched digitally in the fall of 2016. Bossier became an officially-recognized organization that following spring, securing the university funding needed to produce the publication’s first print edition.
Dale, a Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) major served as Bossier’s Editor-in-Chief from the publication’s launch through spring 2018, and Tao, a Culture and Politics (CULP) major focusing on digital media and pop culture, was Bossier’s creative director over that same time period. But they didn’t work alone.
“Every member of the B-Team has helped Bossier grow into what it is today and really left their mark on the magazine in some way, which is something I’m so grateful to them for,” Dale says.
Since its initial conception, Bossier has expanded to a 50-person team, taking on new multimedia projects and partnering with other on-campus groups to support events connected to their mission.
“Bossier has definitely evolved to become more multidimensional, from a single print publication to a full creative and activist organization,” Tao says.
The activist side of Bossier is deeply important to both co-founders.
“We’ve been trying to develop the activist arm of organization because we feel the personal pieces we publish have very real ramifications for our everyday politics,” Dale says.
While SFS classes were what brought Dale and Tao together in the first place, lessons from the classroom have impacted Bossier in other ways as well.
“The international focus of the SFS has also reinforced that my feminism and Bossier’s mission must extend beyond an America-centric perspective to include the experiences of women whose narratives have historically been minimised,” Tao says.
Dale and Tao both studied abroad in the spring of 2018, marking their last semesters at Bossier’s helm. Shifting to more of a behind-the-scenes, backseat role, they have since passed the torch to new EIC Elizabeth Cregan (COL’19) and creative director Dan Rojas (SFS’19). But they’re looking forward to watching Bossier continue to grow. Tao hopes to see Bossier “tackle challenging subjects” and have a “meaningful impact on campus.”
“I want all the people that come after us to leave their mark on the ‘zine and continue to use it to elevate voices across campus,” Dale adds.
However Bossier evolves, the publication will certainly continue to fill a unique campus niche.
“Reading Bossier feels like having an in-depth discussion with your best friend or getting hugged by a loved one and helps emotionally connect people across corners of this campus,” Dale says. “Bossier helps to humanize the sea of faces you see at Georgetown every day and empowers its readers and contributors to go out in the world and be themselves.”
Check out Bossier’s latest work at bossiermag.com.