Summer 2022 Issue Letter from the Editors

white dandelion flower shallow focus photography
Photo by Nita on

We are so very excited to present to you Dismantle Magazine’s Summer 2022 issue!

The major theme in our lives right now is letting go of what used to seem important to make room for better things. The last year has brought enormous challenges and losses in our personal and professional lives. But with that has come a renewed sense of purpose and direction. So we’re focusing on cleaning our literal and metaphorical houses to see what things, relationships and stories we want to let in.  

It might surprise you to learn that we both have tendencies to hold on to stuff—old dresses, bad jobs, labor-intensive publication schedules—a little longer than might be useful. (Maybe that’s why we loved Justin Duyao’s essay from December so much.) We’ve been wanting to make this switch to quarterly issues for a while, but weren’t ready to wrap our heads around something different. So we stuck with what we knew, because, well, change can be hard. 

In the end, overhauling our whole process was exactly as challenging as we expected. Life even threw in extra bumps like catching COVID just to make it more interesting. But we did it! Even with a little discomfort in the transition, we are so happy to take this leap. It feels great to let go of something familiar and in the process, yield amazing results. 

The essays in this issue weren’t chosen with a theme in mind. Yet, we do see the idea of letting go bubbling up in unexpected places. For example, Saachi Gupta and Megan Baffoe both write about letting go of conventional beauty standards. They find healthier ways to engage with social media and fashion in their essays on Glo Up culture and Princesscore, respectively. 

Meanwhile, Verena Hutter lets go of an incomplete version of history commonly taught in schools. She writes exquisitely on the connections between Germany’s ugly colonial past and the beauty of Herero ohorokova dresses

JA Laflin’s piece on artist and activist Sandy Stone and the proto-TERFs who tried to stop her demonstrates how art can release us from harmful notions of gender essentialism. 

With telling vignettes, Effy Mitchell challenges us to let go of the #VanLife fantasy so we can better understand what transience means to those who aren’t well-paid digital nomads. 

And finally, Justin Duyao reflects on the ultimate letting go—of life on Earth as we know it. 

A million thank yous to our godsend of an intern, Hvnly. Who knows when this issue would have come together if not for her!

And of course, two million thank yous to our Patreon members for sticking with us! You continue to make Dismantle possible. If you’re not a patron and like what we do, please consider joining this wonderful group of people supporting us on Patreon! You can also join our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss the next issue this fall.

We can’t applaud these six writers enough for their dedication to their work and publishing with us. We hope you’ll clear some space in your schedule and make room for their beautiful essays. 

— Sara and Elise

PS: You should also check out this bonus article on self-editing, the first installment in our new writing advice series. It’s part of our larger project of expanding our reach with Dismantle Writing Services!

Sara Tatyana Bernstein
Sara is the co-founder of Dismantle Magazine. You can also find her writing on Longreads, LitHub, Hippocampus, Catapult, The Outline, Racked, BuzzFeed Reader, and more.
Elise is a writer, editor and educator with 20+ years in academia and communications. When she isn’t writing web copy, editing a manuscript or putting together the next issue of Dismantle Magazine, she’s teaching. She works part time as a university instructor and recently became a certified yoga teacher. A Louisiana native, Elise enjoys spending time in Mexico with her partner and their dog, “Peligrosa.”