Though vocal about his libertarian leanings in the past, megainvestor Peter Thiel recently turned his attention more directly to politics, funding “new right” campaigns in Arizona and Ohio to support his own political vision. His recent investment in 28, a period tracking app created by the founders of Evie Magazine, demonstrates interest in a feminine new right that encourages young women to abandon feminism and progressive causes such as trans and abortion rights.
A part of the growing movement that aims to reshape American politics into a post-woke, post-left landscape, Thiel’s attention has increasingly centered on media ventures that foster new right culture. Evie Magazine — and the app that puts its platform into practice — exemplifies these efforts, using a lifestyle brand to push a political agenda that rejects a feminist notion of bodily autonomy for an ethos of traditionalism.
Founded in 2018 by Brittany Hugoboom and her husband, Evie attempts to dissuade readers from using hormonal birth control, particularly the pill. In its place, Evie promotes FAM, or Fertility Awareness Methods, emphasizing femininity and authenticity as central to a reader’s sense of self and arguing that the “fifth vital sign,” menstruation, is put at risk by hormonal contraceptives. Evie, ironically personified despite not having hormones at all, is introduced to the reader:
“For years, these publications have focused on proving how women are great by showing how they can be just like men. Not us. We focus on women and celebrate what makes us so wonderfully unique. Because men can’t be us. And the ones who know that are the ones who love us the most. With that in mind, we’d like you to meet Evie. She’s the next-generation digital publication for young women by women covering the most interesting and important subjects of our lives. Her mission is to empower, educate, and entertain you with the highest quality content that affirms your femininity, encourages virtue, and offers a more truthful perspective than the biased agenda of other publications."
The magazine has a section dedicated to fertility concerns in which it exaggerates the side effects of the pill and suggests women manipulate their periods and fertility through exercise, diet, and tracking. The 28 app structures these values into exercise routines and dietary recommendations, prompting users to work with their hormones to avoid difficult periods and pregnancy.
Following the news that Thiel Capital would lead a round of funding totalling $3.2 million in the 28 app, several media outlets flagged Thiel’s reported ties to surveillance ventures, noting that the timing followed the overturning of Roe v. Wade and connecting 28 to Evie Magazine through the app’s founder. In addition to concerns over the efficacy of the app’s “wellness-focused activities” and “popular science”-based recommendations, 28’s relationship to Evie Magazine immediately hinted at a potential political, and more specifically anti-trans, agenda.
In line with the recent increase of anti-trans legislation and anti-trans coverage in right-wing media nationally, there has been a sharp increase in anti-trans content on Evie since the start of 2022. Anti-LGBTQ posts spiked by 333% percent from the previous year, with a total of 65 such articles published so far this year in comparison to just 15 articles of the same kind published in 2021, 10 published in 2020, and 2 published in 2019. Of the 65 of these articles published in 2022, many specifically target trans issues.
The magazine’s coverage of trans people generally falls into right-wing talking points: sports, in particular the debate surrounding Lia Thomas, pedophilia, and transition regret. Trans men are depicted as mentally ill and there is a notable fear around the topic of trans masculine children.
Gina Florio is responsible for 55% of the anti-LGBTQ content published on Evie, including 51 of the 65 articles published so far this year. A convert to the right, Florio pushes anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans content on her social media accounts. Interestingly, unlike Florio, Evie’s and Hugoboom’s social media platforms do not seem to emphasize the brand’s anti-LGBTQ content despite the increased rate of anti-LGBTQ content published on the website.
As right-wing media turn in full force toward issues of gender-affirming care and education, Evie has followed suit with an approach that embeds anti-trans talking points within advice for young women and entertainment coverage. Recently, its content has begun to question whether feminism and trans equality are causing an increase in mental health issues in women.
Given Evie’s obsession with “real” men and women, as defined by a non-medically assisted cycle of hormones, it isn’t surprising that the magazine attempts to delegitimize trans people with the same logic.
Thiel has funded several other “new right” cultural ventures. Vanity Fair reported in April that he met with one of the cohosts of Red Scare, a podcast touted for its “new right” views. More recently, The Guardian reported that Thiel invested $1.5m in Right Stuff, an invite-only conservative dating app that purports to connect “conservative ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen.’” Right Stuff’s marketing pushes a conservative, heterosexual vision of womanhood and femininity not dissimilar to that of Evie. According to the Economic Times, Thiel is interested in "disruptive business models" that, rather than providing a safe investment, have “high growth potential in new industries.” 28, Evie Magazine, and the feminine new right more broadly, could certainly be described in those terms.