Heroines Under Control: Unexpected Portrayals of Women in the Organ of the Bulgarian Communist Party, 1944-1989

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This is a framing analysis of the news coverage of women's issues in the official newspaper of the Bulgarian Communist Party over three nonconsecutive years. At the start of the Communist regime, women were ideologically constructed as warriors and tearless mothers of lost sons, deserving of complete equality. In the 1960s, the emphasis unexpectedly shifted to fashion and beauty as part of the Party's pronatalist propaganda. The age of perestroika in the late 1980s deconstructed the "double burden" faced by women and suggested social policies to relieve it, while still maintaining that chores were women's work only. Throughout the decades, the ideal Bulgarian woman was seen as androgynous, combining masculine and feminine traits to both contribute to the country's industrialization and birth the next generation of male elites. The analysis shows how quasi-feminist policies offered women limited career fulfillment while maintaining oppressive expectations, such as having sons over daughters, being attractive, and shouldering all household chores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-166
Number of pages25
JournalWomen's Studies in Communication
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Bulgaria
  • Communism
  • Eastern Europe
  • gender roles
  • ideology
  • news
  • women

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