Portland’s foundational feminist bookstore, and the inspiration for Portlandia’s famous “feminist bookstore” sketches, announced Monday that it’s going out of business at the end of June because of white supremacy, the Patriarchy, racism, and the decline of modern feminism.
The store, called In Other Words, opened in 1993 with a mission to “strengthen resistance against a culture of oppression,” and “to create a safer space where women, people of color, queer, trans, gender variant folks, workers, and those who live at the intersections of these identities can organize for self-determination and build a sustainable movement for liberation.”
They do mention, in passing, that they also sell books, a capitalistic pursuit of which they are no doubt ashamed.
According to their statement, they aren’t closing as a result of fewer books sold, but because in this woke day and age they couldn’t exorcise their own interior demons. Confronted with their own white supremacy and regressive ideas of gender, In Other Words announced it could no longer contribute to the Portland community.
They faced an “inability to ‘reform and re-envision’ a space founded on ‘white, cis feminism’ (read: white supremacy),” they say on their website.
And so, the era must end.
The store is most famous for serving as one of the backdrops for the IFC channel show, Portlandia, starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, who impersonated the store’s humorless, angry feminist-archetype saleswomen for a “feminist bookstore” sketch where the pair, dressed in wigs, operated their own Portland feminist bookstore called “Women and Women First.”
After the staff of In Other Words saw the sketch, which had been filmed in the shop, they railed against Portlandia and accused it of adulterating their precious stacks of women-authored tomes and lampooning the very serious work of feminist bookstore owners. The show, In Other Words staff said, had “a net negative effect on our neighborhood and the city of Portland as a whole,” (they added plenty of four letter words to drive home their point).
Community members are hoping to raise enough money to keep the bookstore open as a “community center,” which is mostly what it was anyway since profit is evil.