Ten Years of Talking Back: Melinda Mattos
Illustration: Erin McPhee
In honour of our ten-year anniversary, we spoke with ten different people in the Shameless community, past and present. Today, co-founder and board member Melinda Mattos shares why Shameless is important and why Shameless needs your support.
Want to take part in our community and support our work? Check out our list of ten ways to support Shameless. Don’t forget: our 10-year anniversary hashtag is #Shameless10. Help us spread the word!
A transcription of the video is below the embedded file.
My name is Melinda Mattos and I’m the co-founder of Shameless magazine. When Nicole Cohen and I launched Shameless in 2004, we started with $0, a small team of volunteers, and a powerful belief that something needed to change.
We were sick of how mainstream magazines fostered a climate of low self-esteem, and then convinced readers that this icky feeling would go away if only they bought the right jeans or lipstick or hair product; basically whatever was being advertised on the very next page. We wanted to create a teen magazine that empowered its readers, something to help combat the daily onslaught of media messages telling teens to feel ashamed of their bodies, ashamed of their minds, ashamed of their sexuality.
Over the past decade, Shameless has received countless letters from readers across Canada and around the world telling us that the magazine’s made a real difference in their lives. We’ve watched with pride as the first generation of Shameless readers grew up to become writers, artists, entrepreneurs, social service workers. And in that time, Shameless has grown up, too, evolving to meet the needs of its readers and its community. But a lot of things haven’t changed. The vision that fueled us in 2004 is just as urgent in 2014. Shameless is still 100% volunteer-powered and it still relies on the support of its amazing subscribers and donors in order to keep publishing.
Over the years, a lot of people have said to me that they wish Shameless existed when they were a teen. Unfortunately, I can’t make that happen without a time machine.
But together we can do the next best thing, we can help ensure that Shameless is around for years and years to come, providing a healthy media alternative for young women and trans youth. Sound like a plan? If so, I invite you to help Shameless in whatever way is possible for you. Tell a friend about Shameless. Buy a subscription for yourself or someone you know. Make a one time donation, or join the Hall of Shameless: our monthly giving program. Whether you’re able to give $5 or $500, every bit helps and you’ll make your teen self so incredibly proud. Thanks.
- Transcribed by Acacia Christensen