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CU Denver student redefines feminism in her magazine

Laci Williams isn’t afraid to let her voice be heard

Laci Williams speaks out with her conservative lifestyle magazine.
Photo: Madison Daley • The Sentry

Laci Williams, a 20-year-old political science student, certainly isn’t bashful when it comes to expressing her beliefs; she’s a Donald Trump voter, pro-life supporter, gun rights activist, conservative feminist, and proud of it. Williams expresses as much in her own lifestyle magazine titled Expressions. Her conservative publication gained so much attention, it landed her on the Fox News show Fox and Friends, where she spoke about her mission of reclaiming feminism after she felt ostracized from it for being a conservative. 

Expressions gives Williams a platform where she can freely express her outlook on life and politics as a proud conservative woman, and in return, give her audience a different take on a lifestyle magazine by offering the well-known topics of this genre—beauty, fashion, health—with a conservative approach. 

Within minutes of meeting Williams, it’s easy to recognize that she has a defined sense of self. This was displayed in her interview on Fox News, where she said this about the current trend in feminism: “We’re seeing [these] sort of men [that] are not allowed to be masculine anymore, be the protector that they’re supposed to be. Men and women are a partnership, and they’re supposed to complement each other well. Women are not supposed to be men and vice versa. This is a matter of biology, and it’s not a social construct.” In other words, she’s not a supporter of the current feminist movement. Her strong-willed behavior regarding feminism and other political aspects transfers into her own work.

The inspiration behind this magazine was when Williams had enough of being discredited as a feminist due to her conservative political beliefs and when she noticed countless lifestyle magazines falling short of her expectations, whether it was with their poor grammar or lack of representation of conservative women. Instead of ignoring these issues that persistently caught her attention, Williams paved her way into the published world by contributing her own voice and fierce personality. Some of her inspiration can even be traced back to Williams’ childhood where she read magazines at a young age. She thought they showcased beautiful women, but as she got older, she realized that they were “beautiful women with the wrong politics.” Now she describes her own magazine as having both—beautiful women and politics that align with her own ideology. 

The first issue of the magazine features Antonia Okafor, a conservative African-American woman who’s a gun rights activist, on its cover. Williams made the strategic decision of picturing Okafor, a woman who breaks the mold, because she wanted someone who wouldn’t be given the chance of appearing on any other magazine cover. Also appearing on the front page is the statement: “Hillary: NOT Our President.” With this past election creating a deep rift between Americans, it seems as though Williams made a bold move by including a statement that plays on the liberal saying against President Trump, but that’s exactly what Williams was going for, as she personally feels that  Clinton is overly worshipped.

Moreover, Williams strongly believes that Clinton shouldn’t be deemed as a feminist icon nor a role model for young women, as Williams describes Clinton sitting idly during the sex scandal involving her husband. Williams summed up her views on the entire situation with one word: “disgusting.” 

The combination of a nontraditional African-American woman and the blunt statement about Clinton intrigues onlookers of the cover, baiting them to read the magazine, just to see what it’s all about. Beyond its cover, the magazine includes an exclusive interview with William Witt, a former student of CU Denver who’s now a social media personality for Prager University. Williams deemed it necessary to get an interview from Witt as she believes in both his conservative politics and accomplishments involving his position as the president for the organization they are both affiliated with, Turning Point USA. “He’s the next Sean Hannity,” said Williams, “I wanted to get him early for my magazine.” Needless to say, the content both on the cover and within the magazine’s pages delivers strong messages to its audience.

Although Williams credits her major of political science with teaching her how to think more critically, she said she truly owes the organization she’s currently involved in, Turning Point USA, for giving her a solid foundation. For those who don’t know, Turning Point USA’s mission is “to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government,” according to its website. Williams said, “I’ve honestly learned more from Turning Point USA in the last two years than from school.” The organization has provided important networking opportunities for her, as well as an internship. Williams added, “I also get my drive from my dad,” which contributed to the production of the magazine.

After all the effort Williams put into Expressions, she’s left with hopes of what her audience will take away from it. For many, it would be overwhelmingly vulnerable to publish their own thoughts and put them out into the world to face uncensored criticism, but for Williams, it’s a triumphant moment that she’s proud to embrace. “Feminism is for all women,” Williams said. “I want girls, conservative and nonconservative, to have a safe place where girls like them are writing things they resonate with for the first time in a very long time.” She wants everyone to be their own individual, knowing that it’s okay to disagree with others, including her. One of her ultimate goals for this magazine is to, in her own words, “empower women to fully take on what they believe.” In addition to her message that encompasses individuality and empowerment, Williams also added these three words: “Do your research.” This statement alludes to some comments she made early on in the interview, regarding her disappointment in the people and news publications who, she believes, unfairly judged the politics of Trump before conducting the thorough research required to understand them. From her personal experiences of interacting with both people and the news, as well as publishing her own magazine, Williams strongly feels that research is an integral component to daily life and success.

For those who aspire to create their own published work like Williams, she has some advice: “Grow your network before your business; have faith in your idea; when people tell you no, tell them yes.” With so many people in today’s world, Williams thinks there’s bound to be someone who will believe in a similar or identical vision, causing a seemingly minute idea to flourish and come to life. The team of 50 girls who she currently has working for her on the magazine staff proves this to be true.

Expressions is a quarterly publication that will have a total of four issues. With only 100 copies being printed for the first issue, the magazine had a humble beginning but is now in high demand as sales have quadrupled. The first issue is available now and the second issue will make its debut on Sept. 21. Find Expressions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as express-conservatism.com to read and order a copy.

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