The Double Bind: Ambiguous Expectations of Womanhood in Belgian Fashion Magazine De Vrouw
De Vrouw was a Belgian fashion magazine published weekly by Patria in Antwerp between 1930 and 1935. The original subtitle Weekblad voor jonggehuwden en het huisgezin was exchanged for a new subtitle in 1933: Weekblad voor het huisgezin. Several editions of this magazine can be found in the Library of the ModeMuseum (MoMu) in Antwerp.
Yet, the glamourous cover photographs that depict Hollywood actresses such as Joan Crawford, Kay Francis, and Lilian Harvey promised the reader something different than what they could find inside. In contrast to the cover images, the content - as well as the title - of De Vrouw was classical, disseminating content featuring the stereotypical gendered representation of a stay-at-home mother taking care of the children and managing the household. So while the magazines visuals feature stylish women with fashionable clothing, the texts were unprogressive.
In the context of the research project Fashioning Belgium, Charlotte Van den Hende and Aline Deruytter will take a better look at this specific Belgian fashion magazine by examining the tension between the use of these fashion cover photographs that allowed the reader to visualize the modern woman and the content that confirmed gender stereotypes and pushed women back into their pre-war roles.