In honor of our 5-year relaunch-iversary, we’re sharing a selection of Dismantle essays that have made an impact on us.
To be sure, this isn’t a “best of” list. We only publish pieces we love, so the whole magazine is the best of Dismantle! Instead these essays highlight the range and evolution of Dismantle’s voice, marking some standout milestones that have brought us here today.
From inaugural editions of our beloved series to this year’s special issue on the body, we’ve seen some incredible work these last five years. Thank you to everyone who has made this magazine a special place to come for creative community, purposeful writing and excellent storytelling.
Before the Relaunch
In 2017, we were still figuring out who we were and how we should proceed. Luckily, we kept getting encouraging signs that Dismantle was a good idea. Highlights from the year include Jenny Saxton-Rodríguez’s essay on Hamilton, which was so gorgeous Lin Manuel-Miranda shared it on his socials with the comment that he wasn’t crying, there was just dust in his eyes. It was also the year we began the Dismantle After Party, and a short essay by Fiona Kang, one of Sara’s students, became a runaway hit.
by Jenny Saxton-Rodríguez
by Multiple Authors
by Fiona Kang
The year we became a real online journal! Our After Parties got bigger, and we started to find that sweet balance of story, personal narrative, and cultural critique.
by Multiple Authors
by Elise Chatelain
Ahh, the last Before Times year. We focused a lot on fashion and pop culture criticism that was deeper than the typical internet hot take, but more accessible and fun to read than an academic essay. We loved, for example, how Jen Ayre’s essay combined witty writing with actionable advice and empathetic critique.
These pieces continue to be among our most read.
by Maggie Levantovskaya
by Verena Hutter
by Catherine Fung
We feel like something important happened in 2020? Are we remembering right? Did the whole world literally close up shop, catch on fire, and try to end democracy? Yet somehow, our writers kept writing stunning, brilliant essays! One thing we learned when we published Aisling Walsh’s ahead-of-the-curve piece on cacao ceremonies: it can take time, but readers will always discover great writing.
by Ricardo Coleman
The same day we published Madeleine Barbier’s fabulous piece on Love Island, our website crashed and we spent three months rebuilding it from scratch. Fun times. Luckily, like Aisling’s Cacao piece, the essay was too good not to attract readers. And we kept going, kicking off our new website with a special Cottagecore series and rounding out the year with Justin Duyao’s gorgeous reflection on the relationships we build with inanimate objects.
by Madeleine Barbier
by Justin Duyao
This is the year we began publishing issues, rather than individual essays. Our first full issue came out in summer of 2022. All the essays below illustrate what every one of our writers has offered: the ability to weave critique and personal narrative around a purposeful idea, offering tools for everyday life and politics.
by Yumi Pak
by Effie Mitchell
by Iris Leona Marie Cross
Without really intending to, so far 2023 has taken us deep into reflections on the body and diet culture. We also love to joke that we need more boobs to make the algorithms happy, so thank you to Rachel Harmon for writing an amazing essay about shopping, bras and her changing relationship to her breasts!