History of women's magazines

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This article addresses the history of women's magazines.

In 1693 the first issue of the first women's magazine in Britain, The Ladies' Mercury, was published.[1][2]

In 1857 the first women's magazine in Gujarati, Streebodh, was established by Parsi social activists.[3]

In 1886 the first Malayalam women's magazine, Keraleeya Suguna Bodhini was published from Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala.[4]

In 1892 the first women's magazine in Egypt, and indeed in all the Arab countries,[5][6] Al Fatat, was established by Hind Nawfal.[7][8][9]

In the period before the American Civil War, Godey's Lady's Book was a United States women's magazine that was the most widely circulated magazine.[10][11] Its circulation rose from 70,000 in the 1840s to 150,000 in 1860.[12]

In 1919 Mabel Malherbe of South Africa founded the first Afrikaans women's magazine, which was called Die Boerevrou.[13]

Published from 1934 to 1945, the NS-Frauen-Warte, the Nazi magazine for women,[14] had the status of the only party approved magazine for women[15] and served propaganda purposes, particularly supporting the role of housewife and mother as exemplary.[16][17]

In 1952 the first English language women's magazine in Ceylon was founded and published by Sita Jayawardana. Titled Ceylon Woman it had a tagline "The Premier women's magazine of Ceylon" It.covered fashion, society events and short stories. The magazine helped launch a generation of designers and artists.The magazine also ran an annual fashion show and various other cultural activities to raise money for social causes.

In 1963 Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique was published; it is widely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States.[18][19] In Chapter 2 of the book Friedan stated that the editorial decisions concerning women's magazines at the time were being made mostly by men, who insisted on stories and articles that showed women as either happy housewives or unhappy careerists, thus creating the "feminine mystique"—the idea that women were naturally fulfilled by devoting their lives to being housewives and mothers. Friedan also stated that this was in contrast to the 1930s, at which time women's magazines often featured confident and independent heroines, many of whom were involved in careers.[20] However, historian Joanne Meyerowitz argued (in "Beyond the Feminine Mystique: A Reassessment of Postwar Mass Culture, 1946-1958," Journal of American History 79, March 1993) that many of the contemporary magazines and articles of the period did not place women solely in the home, as Friedan stated, but in fact supported the notions of full- or part-time jobs for women seeking to follow a career path rather than being a housewife.[21] These articles did however still emphasize the importance of maintaining the traditional image of femininity.[22]

In 1992 the first women's magazine in English to be published from North East India, Eastern Panorama, was established.[23][24][25]

Satree Sarn Magazine was Thailand's first women's magazine.[26]

Caitríona Clear has conducted research on Irish women's magazines.[27]


  1. ^ Anzovin, item 4454, p. 294 "The first advice column appeared in the first issue (dated Feb 27, 1693) of the first magazine for women, The Ladies Mercury, published by London bookseller John Dunton. The entire magazine, filling both sides of a single sheet, was devoted to the advice column, which offered expert replies to questions submitted by readers on the matters of love, marriage, and sex."
  2. ^ Kathryn Hughes. "Women's magazines down the ages | Media". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  3. ^ Achyut Yagnik; Suchitra Seth (24 August 2005). Shaping Of Modern Gujarat. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 88–91. ISBN 978-81-8475-185-7.
  4. ^ Pradeep, K. (2016-03-18). "A magazine much ahead of its time". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-05-19.
  5. ^ Werner Ende; Udo Steinbach. Islam in the World Today: A Handbook of Politics, Religion, Culture, and Society. Cornell University Press. p. 639. ISBN 0-8014-6489-7. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  6. ^ Mervat F. Hatem (12 April 2011). Literature, Gender, and Nation-Building in Nineteenth-Century Egypt: The Life and Works of `A'isha Taymur. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-230-11860-7. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  7. ^ Boutheina Khaldi (24 December 2012). Egypt Awakening in the Early Twentieth Century: Mayy Ziydah’s Intellectual Circles. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-137-23530-5. Retrieved 28 October 2013.
  8. ^ Mona Russell (13 November 2004). Creating the New Egyptian Woman: Consumerism, Education, and National Identity, 1863-1922. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-4039-7961-2. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  9. ^ Earl L. Sullivan (1 January 1986). Women in Egyptian Public Life. Syracuse University Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-8156-2354-0. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Godey's Lady's Book archives". Onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  11. ^ Rose, Anne C. (2004). Voices of the Marketplace: American Thought and Culture, 1830–1860. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, p. 75, ISBN 978-0-7425-3262-5.
  12. ^ Fackler, Mark; Lippy, Charles H. (1995). Popular religious magazines of the United States. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, p. 241, ISBN 978-0-313-28533-2.
  13. ^ Women Marching Into the 21st Century: Wathint' Abafazi, Wathint' Imbokodo. HSRC Press. 2000. p. 254–255. ISBN 978-0-7969-1966-3.
  14. ^ "The NS Frauen Warte"
  15. ^ "German History". GHDI. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  16. ^ "NS-Frauenwarte: Paper of the National Socialist Women's League"
  17. ^ "German Propaganda Archive". Calvin. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  18. ^ Betty Friedan, Who Ignited Cause in 'Feminine Mystique,' Dies at 85 - The New York Times, February 5, 2006.
  19. ^ Addison, Heather; Goodwin-Kelly, Mary Kate; Roth, Elaine (2009). Motherhood misconceived: representing the maternal in U.S. film. SUNY Press. p. 29. ISBN 1-4384-2812-X.
  20. ^ Friedan, Betty (1963). "The Happy Housewife Heroine". The Feminine Mystique. W. W. Norton. Retrieved 2011-02-18.
  21. ^ Joanne Meyerowitz, "Beyond the Feminine Mystique: A Reassessment of Postwar Mass Culture, 1946-1958," Journal of American History 79 (March 1993): 1455-1482.p.1459
  22. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (2013-02-18). "'The Feminine Mystique,' Reassessed after 50 Years". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  23. ^ "Magzter". Magzter. 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  24. ^ "Assam Spider". Assam Spider. 2014. Archived from the original on December 10, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  25. ^ "Assam Times". Assam Times. 10 November 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  26. ^ "THAILAND-WOMEN: Oldest Women's Magazine Succumbs to Cash Crunch". Inter Press Service News Agency. 5 March 1996. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  27. ^ Murphy, Judy (2 June 2016). "Taking a leaf out of magazines for book". Connacht Tribune. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016.