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Ms. Understanding Feminism in Fairbanks

**UPDATE** It appears Mr. Roberts has lost his battle to decide which reading materials you may purchase where. From the Co-op’s General Manager: “The next issue is on the way. The co-op does not make buying decisions based on one member-owners wishes.”


Feminism is what tells women they can sleep around and just get abortions when they go to (sic) far. Feminism is women saying they want to do it their way and not God’s way, and it gives men the ‘out’ to do nothing. I see feminism as one of the worst heresies that have completely messed up our church today (and the whole world for that matter).

FAIRBANKS, AK—Just so we’re clear on what borough assemblyman Lance Roberts thinks of the ladies, the above is a selection of his contributions to online forums like Stack Exchange and the comments sections of the local Fairbanks paper.

Roberts also crowed in his most recent newsletter that he’d made a stink about the local Fairbanks food co-op carrying that “extreme pro-abortion” rag Ms. Magazine, and that he’d no longer shop there or remain a member of the co-op while it remained in the store. According to Roberts, the general manager of the co-op contacted him specifically to tell him that they no longer carried the magazine. “So I’m staying as a member-owner of the Co-op Market and am shopping there again,” Roberts claims.

Co-op member Sue Sprinkle reported on Facebook that she had attended the Annual Meeting for members when Mr. Roberts stood up to “decry Ms. Magazine to the Board.” According to Sprinkle, the initial co-op position was that the buyers should be the ones to decide what should be sold at the market. “I’m surprised that they decided to take that magazine off the shelf,” said Sprinkle. “That’s a real shame that one unhappy, noisy, extremist shopper should be allowed to decide for others.”

It's not just abortion: Roberts resent empowerment of the Ladypeople in general.

It’s not just abortion: Roberts resent empowerment of the Ladypeople in general.

But the reason the co-op stopped carrying Ms. Magazine may not be that simple. Or it may be that simple. The story changes depending upon who is asking, and the current situation appears to be a moving target. Currently, there are four versions.

1) Assemblyman Lance Roberts said in his newsletter:

“First, I want to make sure I point out a positive result and a change of position. I had brought up a few newsletters ago how the Co-op Market had some left-wing political magazines they were selling, and at that time they seemed unwilling to change that. They have now contacted me and said that they wouldn’t be carrying those extreme magazines anymore (my words, not theirs). So I’m staying as a member-owner of the Co-op Market and am shopping there again. I went in yesterday, and sure enough, they only had food and health magazines up for sale. If you let anyone know about my prior post, please let them know about this development.”

2) Local Fairbanks resident David James, quoted in our original story, received an email from co-op General Manager Mary Christensen stating that Roberts had accused the Co-op of “supporting abortion.” When Christensen explained that the co-op does not take positions on political issues, Roberts had responded that “to carry that magazine is to support abortion.”

The co-op then reviewed sales of the magazine, which they said had been slow, and made the decision to pull it from the shelves. “It was done because the demand from the product wasn’t enough to warrant having controversy.”

3) Fairbanks resident Sine Anahita, paid a visit to the co-op and met Christensen, reporting back thusly:

“I went into the store to buy a copy of Ms. Magazine, but they no longer carry it. The way that Mary explained the decision to stop stocking Ms. is quite different from the way that Lance Roberts tells it. While [he] claims a political victory, Mary says that the decision was based on the simple fact that Ms. didn’t sell well. The co-op seeks neutral political ground, but Lance is insisting that the co-op be politicized.”

4) A representative from Ms. Magazine reached out to the co-op after reading our story, and was told yet a fourth version: that the Co-op had not removed the magazine from the shelves, but that the distributor had just stopped sending it. However, the distributor, One Source, said that the new issue of the quarterly Ms. Magazine was scheduled for shipment to the Fairbanks Co-op on that very day, Wednesday, March 5.


Christensen explains in The Fairbanks Daily Newsminer that some customers have now threatened to stop shopping at the store if it discontinues Ms. Magazine, citing a barrage of calls and emails on both sides of the issue.

“I feel like it’s a really complicated issue,” Christensen tells the Newsminer‘s Amanda Bohman. “We are trying to be non-partisan. We really want to focus on what is important to us, which is food, sustainability and producing more food locally.”

Roberts said he had also received lots of contacts since the controversy blew up. He noted “harsh” comments on his Facebook page, which is ironic for a man announcing, “I don’t want to be part of a business that supports genocide.”

We reached out to Mary Christensen for clarification on the number of different responses we’d heard, but she declined to comment.

Whether the new shipment of Ms. Magazine will be stocked on the shelves when it arrives still remains to be seen. Residents in support of stocking the publication have stated their willingness to purchase it if it’s available.

Meanwhile, Anahita is urging support of the local Co-op, explaining that “the best way to challenge political bullies is to stand up for their targets. Let’s turn Lance Roberts’ attack against the Co-op Market into a membership drive. My household joined today.”



18 Responses to “Ms. Understanding Feminism in Fairbanks”
  1. Jerry-Micheal says:

    I have served with L/R in the (R) Central Committee, during the 2010-12 legislative session; L/R usually is a thoughtful, honest, intelligent, and Generous person.

    Why now this flap over a ‘rag’, is unusual, and confusing.

    At this time in Ak history, Fairbanks SHOULD be concerning their selves with SB-138; The LNG Gasline to tidewater – NOT This silly magazine fluff./BS.

    Hey, at least L/R is not trying to give-away the ‘store’ to corporate interests; like our Governor is Pushing to do.

  2. Zyxomma says:

    If he doesn’t like abortion, he should never have one.

    • juneaudream says:

      Hear hear, plus I have a clothespin..I would willingly send to HIM!

  3. mike from iowa says:

    Mayhaps Mr Roberts suffers from premature ejaculation of the mouth.

  4. Biff Barf says:

    Magazines? How quaint.

  5. carol says:

    Time to go to the Co-op Market and buy a copy of Ms.

  6. wallflower says:

    Hmm… might be a good time to renew my subscription to Ms.

  7. Alaska Pi says:

    As relates to the update here:
    I wish the co-op the very best.
    However, I hope some valuable lessons are learned , not the least of which would be the necessity of proactive and timely response to horsepunky like Mr Roberts pulled here.
    It appears he misunderstood , perhaps even lied about, what transpired during his contact with the GM.
    A formal written response from the GM addressing his “concerns”, at the time of his complaint or as an immediate followup , would have put paid to his BS before it got so far out of the gate
    I still question the doof’s notion of political neutrality. In the News Miner story he goes on about how he loves hisself some organic food. Doesn’t he know how political organic food is? 🙂

    • mike from iowa says:

      Yeah,but,what if his idea of organic food is eating human organs? I can see that happening. Damn the chianti,Hannibal!

    • slipstream says:

      Yeah, I frequently see organic tomatoes picketing City Hall . . .

      • Alaska Pi says:

        Whoa! Tomatoes picket there?! Here, it is only the spuds and Spinaches.
        Frankenfish v wild salmon?
        Farmed fish being fed grain crops which reduces aavailable nutrition?
        Big Ag’s endless monies spent on “proving” organic foods gain us no thing?
        Their endless push to fuzz the edges of what can be considered “organic” ? So Big Ag can take advantage of the label they say gains no thing ??
        The bullying of small farmers over pesticide drift and the like?
        It is all political- motivated by $$s but definitely political.

        • Alaska Pi says:

          oh and I left Monsanto out because I have no desire to stroke out today…

  8. ugavic says:

    I would hate to see this issue hurt the great things the co-op is doing in Fairbanks.

    It would help if the Board would review their policies on issues like this and make them very clear to their membership.

    I agree with those who say that let this be a membership drive to increase membership and business, and hopefully they can return to doing what they want to do, help the sustainability of Alaska’s food system, families and businesses of the area

  9. Mo says:

    The Facebook quotes nicely demonstrate the underlying fear these men have that they won’t be able to disable and dominate a woman by making her pregnant, as they fling their jibes at men and women who collaborate with and assist their partners rather than resorting to a bullying/submission relationship

    In other words, why the abortion issue is a tool used by frightened weak little men, so afraid of those women they cannot weaken and bully, so resentful of the success of those strong males who partner with equally strong women.

  10. juneaudream says:

    Places such as this..become the..talking-stick..for this community. We our schedules permit..and views..catch a bit of respite..from our own days activitys, and the local which we live. As the more modern people..gather..and the older views..are shared..looking at 50, 75 or 90 years of a pattern..we all evaluate. We let the chaff..drift..away..and snuggle, animated..toward the options that seemed to give the clan..the family of mankind..and the promise..for the young. Dustups..are our ..vitamins. Some..we still get..inhaling the breezes..from the woodlots, or..chewing the first green fern tips..others..we pop out of their little plastic cocoons..according to our needs. One walks through the forest..counting 37 drops of water..from the branche 37. Ah make about a tablespoon of water..livegiving..water. Not packed in..but fresh..avail . for the sharing. My NOT..his body. His NOT her body..and so..we go..out each day..noting where we seem to weave a bond, a healthy direction..and then keep the looking..for new..crisp and healthy choices..that will ..rise to greet us..IF..we seek. Of course..if some wish to wander this portion of their world..with 2 pirate eyepatches..clutched in hand..and then..they..put on one..then..after a flare up..don..the other.. well..they will ..step where they will..don’cha know…. 😉

  11. Mike Druce says:

    Until I came across this article, I had never heard of L.R. I imagine that is the case with many others. Now that he has increased his name recognition by acquiring new supporters and detractors, I suspect he has gained exactly what he sought.

  12. Alaska Pi says:

    Thanks AKM! Moving target is right. Not impressed with the GM at this point.
    Board really ought to have a transparent protocol for dealing with member grievances. Co-op I belonged to during university years hit a very rough patch and almost went under because of a few members who thought they could tell everyone else what to eat/buy ( oversimplification but close enough). They made it through and are 40 years old now. One of the hallmarks of a co-op is democratic member control. Mr Roberts seems to have effected an end run around that. Doesn’t bode well for the future if they can’t sort it out intelligently.

    And, golly gee, that Mr Roberts sure loves hisself the wimmins, doesn’t he?

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