Reflections on
the Muse

Abby Kingsley

I have been at The Muse for four years since I co-founded the magazine with Sabriyya Pate. Leaving The Muse post-graduation will be difficult, but also amazing to watch from afar to see what the magazine becomes.
When I liked a Facebook post about a feminist magazine in the Summer before my freshman year, I never imagined that I would help found and grow a community of dedicated and inspirational feminists. Working to build The Muse has been one of my proudest endeavors during my time at Duke. When Sabriyya and I were conceptualizing what we wanted The Muse to be we settled on two guiding principles: first to empower women (and feminist men) to find the inspiration (or Muse) within themselves and second to build an intellectual community open to all and free from judgement.
We felt that feminist values should be the anchor to our community and that these values should be upheld to empower each member to express their beliefs in the method that feels most authentic to them. Feminism comes to each of us differently. I find my values by examining policy and its effect on women, especially women at the intersection of additional marginalized identities. In my time at The Muse, I profiled legislators, reported on feminist news stories, and looked at political issues at play. I’ve loved creating these pieces and I’ve also loved reading the work done by my fellow club members. I have been enamored with pieces that explore feminism through art, photography, poetry, prose, and so many more media. The individual perspective and talent brought by club members make The Muse successful.
Duke is often a competitive place, including organizations that lift up and empower women. We felt that competition is the antithesis to a truly inclusive vision of feminism. We decided to work with content creators no matter their skill set coming in. A lack of experience is not a lack of potential nor does it mean someone has nothing important to say. Looking at The Muse today, I see a community of women who listen, debate, and understand each other.
Community is often more than the sum of its parts. To me, The Muse is an intellectual and creative forum for feminist and social justice thought. It has helped strengthen a guiding set of values and provided an anchor throughout my time at Duke.