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What the first women's magazines of the USSR wrote about, and How print accents shifted along with the regimes
What the first women's magazines of the USSR wrote about, and How print accents shifted along with the regimes

The attention of print publishers was given to women as early as the beginning of the 18th century. On the pages of popular magazines, the image of a worthy woman was drawn through associations with restraint, homeliness and family hearth. As for the magazines of the early Soviet period, embroidery schemes or culinary recipes were supplanted by propaganda editorials and essays on the fate of the Bolsheviks. The heel was scolded for the harm caused to health, and they talked about fashion from the standpoint of bourgeois vestiges.

Women's editions of a new country

Pre-revolutionary female magazine image

After the revolution, traditional women's magazines were declared bourgeois vestiges, since their essence did not correspond to the tasks of the party in the formation of a new type of person. Since 1917, completely new types of women's press have been formed in Russia. The usual heroine of the beginning of the century, a sophisticated lady in bright lipstick and blackened eyes, was replaced by a stocky worker-peasant woman without emphasis on gender differences. From that period it became commonplace for the party to use periodicals for propaganda purposes. And if the women's periodicals under the tsarist regime concerned fashion, family and cooking, then the new course corresponded to party decrees. The activities of the media were aimed at popularizing the ideas of communism with the involvement of women in the production process.

The authors of the magazine articles were now party members, production workers, worker correspondents with village correspondents. The publications included sections of political education, materials on agriculture, industry, as well as literary pages. Housekeeping headings, pedagogy, fashion and medicine were allotted a couple of pages.

Lenin's "worker"

The first issues of "Rabotnitsa" in 1914 were withdrawn from circulation

One of the first mass Soviet magazines was Rabotnitsa. Invented The first issues of the publication appeared at the beginning of 1914, and the initiator was Vladimir Lenin. According to his idea, the publication defended the interests of the women's labor movement. 7 issues saw the light, after which the publication was closed due to the results of police investigations. The magazine became the first mass Bolshevik publication, in the creation of which Armand, Krupskaya, Kollontai participated.

The "worker" came to life after the February revolution, but again for a short time. The vicissitudes of the civil war again pushed women's issues into the background. The release was resumed in 1923, when the editorial board was tasked with raising a woman party member, social activist and production worker. In an effort to expand the ranks of the female proletariat into housewives, the editors printed materials about any profession that women could master. The ideological strategy of the publication broke the patriarchal foundations. The stories of the participants of the meetings, articles about the editorials of the cotton fields, women-stakhanovka were published.

New target audiences

The first Soviet covers

In the 1920s, magazines were divided into specific target audiences: party workers, working women, housewives, activists, peasant women. Now the interpretation of party attitudes was based on the specifics of women's employment, the way of life of the region, customs and history. Under party pressure, the magazines refused to cover love topics, questions about family amenities, and women's rights.The main attention was paid to the anniversaries of the leaders and officials of the USSR, politics and production, criticism of the "philistine".

One of the brightest representatives of that period was the Kommunistka magazine (1920-30). From the name it is clear that the publication raised a Soviet female leader. The audience was female workers and party members, and the structure excluded practical sections.

"Peasant" in the 20s

In 1922, the Krestyanka magazine was founded, designed to introduce Soviet workers to the social and cultural way of life. "Peasant" in simple words conveyed to the readers the basics of party politics, explained the importance of educational programs, contributed to the organization of women's councils, catering points, kindergartens. The column "Fiction" published the corresponding works: Dorokhov "Woman", Platonich "Matryona the Warrior", Neverov "Nursery". Only as an appendix were printed instructions for cutting, sewing, knitting.

Pre-war "photo models"

Typical female image of the 30s

Throughout the 1930s, women's magazines glorified the industrial success, collectivization, and effectiveness of the Soviet five-year plans. The publications urged women to go to production, to participate in the socialist breakthrough, to strive for shock work. Fashion was viewed only from the position that it should not go beyond the human needs of a simple Soviet worker. Representatives of the creative elite were involved in the work of the magazines: fashion designers, sculptors, poets, artists. In magazine photos of that period, women looked, as they would say today, unkempt. Faces without a hint of makeup, wide eyebrows, uncomplicated hair cut or hastily gathered. The figures of the fashion models are strong, stocky, a short neck on wide shoulders, an unexpressed waist. The clothes are baggy, no bright colors, often a man's jacket.

Family landmarks on the eve of the war

An appeal to family values

In the 1930s, women's editions unexpectedly resumed their release in a bright design, affecting purely gender thematic niches. In those years, the magazines "Art of Dressing", "Home Dressmaker", "Atelier" were published. They are printed on quality paper, include color illustrations and are large format with pattern attachments. In addition to clothing, materials are published about fashion trends in the selection of shoes and accessories. True, the circulation of such magazines was small. The family issue was radically revised, to which more and more attention is paid on the pages. But it was only about the family, questions of love and sensuality were not covered.

Before the war, reports from maternity hospitals, photos of pregnant women and babies prevailed in magazines. There is information about women's doctors, nurses, midwives, articles on childcare, articles on nurseries and kindergartens, recommendations for young mothers. The country has taken a confident course towards augmenting a healthy Soviet society, remembering the main women's mission. The air already smelled of war, and rallying was going on at every level, starting with the family, as a unit of society.

Women have finally begun to be reckoned with. After all, they did not wait until they were given rights, but sought them themselves all over the world.

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