China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Creating a Local Women’s Magazine: Shanghai Women’s Federation and Modern Women

Friday, March 23
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Wilson A, Mezzanine Level

The years 1949–early 1950s saw a number of short lived local official women’s periodicals published by regional women’s federations in different provinces in China, such as Beijing Women,Tianjin Women and Northeast Women. Despite that women’s magazines and a few other kinds of printing had been sporadically published by female cadres in the Chinese Communist Party before the People’s Republic was established, to edit and publish these women’s magazines under the new regime may be still challenging to local women’s federations, which were themselves also new in China. Even in Shanghai where the publishing industry as well as women’s education were best developed in China by the time, the Shanghai Women’s Federation regarded the publication of Modern Women as its first attempt. Moreover, since the presentation of ‘modern girl’ had already flourished in Republican Shanghai, the imperative to reform and reconstruct different categories of women thus was not only realised in line with political propaganda, but also in a manner of creating other models that fitted into the socialist context. This paper examines the ephemeral publication of the magazine, Modern Women, by Shanghai Women’s Federation from 1949 to 1951. It argues that the magazine provides an important demonstration of the changes in the ideas that local women cadres formulated when they attempted to reshape Shanghai women in the transitional early 1950s.

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