Representations of the German woman’s body in the official Nazi women’s magazine

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This study examines the ways in which the German female body is represented in the official National Socialist party’s magazine, NS FrauenWarte, published from 1934 to 1944. Analyses of the female body visuals help reveal the Nazi regime’s ideology and expectations of women within the Third Reich. Based on semiotic analysis of representations and illustrations appearing in 77 of the magazine’s issues, the study reads the female body as a site of negotiation on the Nazi women’s role in the German society. Ostensibly, we would expect representations appearing in essentially a propaganda magazine to portray Nazi ideology’s definition of women’s expected role in Nazi society. However, the findings indicate contradictions between various representations appearing in the magazine and Nazi ideology as expressed by leading Nazi ideologues. The magazine presents both “feminine,” healthy, and maternal bodies suited for nurturing “Hitler’s children,” as well as sexual and athletic body images, seemingly incompatible with Nazi ideology. In addressing these contradictions, this paper reveals Nazi ideology’s dynamism and complexity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-255
Number of pages18
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 17 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article draws on my MA thesis written at the Department of History, Tel Aviv University and supervised by Prof. Shulamit Volkov. I would like to thank Prof. Volkov for her dedicated mentorship. I also want to thank Prof. Naama Sheffi and Prof. Gabriel Weimann for their insightful comments on this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Nazi women
  • Nazism ideology
  • female body
  • visual representation
  • women’s magazine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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