The Laughing Medusa is a women’s literature and arts journal, created in 1992 by the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) Department of Women’s Issues. Though it went on hiatus from 1998 to 2006, the literary magazine has been active again for the past decade. A council of approximately fifteen female students at Boston College work to ensure that the Laughing Medusa not only survives but thrives each year.
Within its pages, we aim—as its founders did—to provide a safe space for female writers and artists, who often find their voices overshadowed by their male contemporaries. In the words of former council members, “This magazine is a collection of our voices which are so often silenced on this campus. It not only brings sight/light to women’s stories, it brings life/fight to our breath, our tears, and our laughter.”
Hélène Cixous’ 1975 piece, “The Laugh of the Medusa,” inspired the title “Laughing Medusa.” Cixous herself is a feminist, writer, professor, and literary critic, whose mission aligns with that of the Laughing Medusa: to encourage female voices.
Originally, The Laughing Medusa was published biannually, but today it remains an annual literary magazine. Throughout the year, the council aggregates and reviews submissions from Boston College’s female students. The process is as democratic as possible. Each submission is anonymized and then thoroughly discussed before members vote on whether or not it fits within the journal. Though we do not look for specific content or themes, we seek out quality work in all its forms.
Traditionally, The Laughing Medusa publishes poetry, prose, art, and photography; however, the council remains open to new possibilities. In the fall of 2015, we began creating and publishing an annual Zine in addition to our regular print publication. Unlike The Laughing Medusa, the Zine is a smaller, less polished version of a literary journal and typically has a specific theme. The first edition, called the Seething Medusa, focused on feminist angst, while the 2016 version centered on reflective thought.
Moreover, we hope to keep this innovative momentum going by incorporating new technology in our process. We are active on various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The 2015 issue included a QR code linked to a spoken word version of a printed poem. This website, created in the fall of 2017, is our most recent attempt to extend our efforts into the digital world.