Viva's launch in 1973 added a new perspective to the conversation between women's magazines, which at the time consisted of the Ms. Magazine camp, offering feminist news and writing, fashion magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, or traditional but still popular publications such as Good Housekeeping. Viva joined elements of these magazines with erotic content, refusing to shy away from sex and controversy. Associate Publisher and Editor Kathy Keeton explained "Viva's Woman" in her First Word section for the August 1974 issue, explaining who the modern reader of Viva was. The inclusion of antiquated delineations between the "feminist" and the "traditional housewife," as well as a decidedly heteronormative stance, shows how Viva very much represented social currents of its time. This offers the perfect jumping off point to learn about other feminist movements through magazines thanks to ChatGPT, and to begin to theorize about what the future of the feminist magazine would look like.
Viva's Woman by Kathy Keeton
When Viva first appeared on the newsstands in October 1973, the establishment media made dire predictions of immediate oblivion. These critics maintained that there was no real female readership to be found for a sexy, forthright, new woman's magazine and that even if there was, women were not capable of responding to visual and intellectual erotica with pleasure.
These same critics attacked Viva because it was published by Penthouse International and therefore, they said, must be totally male-oriented. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Half the Penthouse executive staff is made up of women ; even more important, however, is the fact that Viva originally was inspired by the thousands upon thousands of letters from female readers of Penthouse who wrote us saying, "Publish a magazine like Penthouse for us."
And so we have. In each issue Viva celebrates the erotic lives of millions of young women who are loving, sensual, and free. Viva appeals not to the feminist or the traditional housewife, but to that curious mix - the new woman ...the woman who is sexually liberated but does not hate men; the woman who wants to live independently, but with her man. The editors of Viva do not believe that anyone, including Viva, can stereotype this new woman of the Seventies. She is too individual. Like Viva, this new woman has only recently begun to evolve.
What we are trying to do is to reflect and comment on that growth as we grow ourselves. Viva is not a magazine concerned with an ideology - it is a magazine concerned with change. It is a magazine that enjoys being unpredictable and provocative.
Viva is your magazine, a means of communicating with your world. If you don't like what we do, tell us with a letter. If you do like what we do, drop us a line. Unlike other publications, we read every bit of mail that comes into our office, because we are always searching for new ideas and insights that can be developed into articles and images that we hope will amuse and delight and inform and seduce all of us.
If we accomplish this - a big order, we admit- maybe we can find new, loving ways to live together as men and women without surrendering or subordinating our individuality. That's a real challenge - but that's what life and Viva are all about.
The content below was generated using ChatGPT. In the interest of transparency and learning, the heading represents the prompt that created it.
What is a women's magazine that characterizes first wave feminism?
"The Suffragist" was a prominent women's magazine during the first wave feminism movement. As the official publication of NAWSA, it championed women's suffrage and addressed various women's rights issues. The magazine featured articles and editorials by influential suffragists, spreading their message nationwide. It discussed suffrage campaigns, labor rights, education, and legal reforms. "The Suffragist" played a vital role in raising awareness, mobilizing women, and challenging societal norms. Its impact extended beyond its time, serving as a testament to the resilience of early feminists and their fight for gender equality.
What is a women's magazine that characterizes second wave feminism?
One women's magazine that characterizes second wave feminism is "Ms. Magazine." Launched in 1971, "Ms. Magazine" became a central publication of the second wave feminist movement in the United States. It provided a platform for feminist voices, addressing a wide range of issues including reproductive rights, workplace discrimination, sexual liberation, and gender roles. The magazine challenged traditional gender norms, advocated for equality, and promoted women's empowerment. "Ms. Magazine" played a significant role in shaping public discourse and raising awareness about the diverse concerns and aspirations of second wave feminism, leaving a lasting impact on the feminist movement.
What is a women's magazine that characterizes third wave feminism?
"Bitch Magazine" is a women's magazine that characterizes third wave feminism. Founded in 1996, it has been at the forefront of the third wave feminist movement. The magazine seeks to challenge and redefine societal norms and expectations surrounding gender, sexuality, race, and pop culture. "Bitch Magazine" offers a platform for diverse voices, highlighting issues such as intersectionality, body positivity, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. With its thought-provoking articles, essays, and cultural analysis, it engages readers in critical conversations and promotes empowerment and inclusivity. "Bitch Magazine" exemplifies the spirit and values of third wave feminism, pushing for progress and social change.
What is a women's magazine that characterizes fourth wave feminism?
As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the fourth wave feminism movement was still evolving, and no single women's magazine had emerged as its definitive representation. However, various online platforms and digital magazines have embraced the principles of fourth wave feminism. Some notable examples include "Everyday Feminism," "The Establishment," and "The F-Word." These publications aim to address contemporary issues such as online harassment, consent, reproductive justice, and gender identity. They provide spaces for intersectional discussions, amplifying marginalized voices and promoting activism. While fourth wave feminism is primarily driven by online activism and grassroots movements, these digital platforms contribute to its diverse and inclusive discourse.
What might a feminist magazine in 2050 focus on?
While it is challenging to predict with certainty what a feminist magazine in 2050 would focus on, we can envision several potential areas of emphasis based on the evolving landscape of feminism and ongoing social progress. Here are some possibilities:
- Global Intersectionality: A feminist magazine in 2050 might place a strong emphasis on global intersectionality, recognizing and addressing the interconnected systems of oppression that affect individuals based on their race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and more. It would highlight the experiences and activism of women from diverse backgrounds and regions, seeking to foster solidarity and inclusivity on a global scale.
- Climate Justice: With the growing urgency of climate change, a feminist magazine in 2050 could prioritize the intersection of feminism and environmentalism. It might explore the disproportionate impact of climate change on marginalized communities, promote sustainable practices, and advocate for eco-feminist perspectives that recognize the inherent connection between gender equity and environmental justice.
- Technology and AI Ethics: Given the continued advancements in technology and artificial intelligence, a feminist magazine in 2050 might critically examine the ethical implications of these developments on gender equality. It could delve into topics such as algorithmic biases, data privacy, automation's impact on the workforce, and the need for diverse representation in shaping technological innovations.
- Reproductive Justice and Autonomy: A future feminist magazine might continue to focus on reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, building upon the progress made by previous waves of feminism. It could address issues such as reproductive healthcare access, comprehensive sex education, family planning, and the dismantling of stigmas around reproductive choices.
- Gender Identity and Trans Rights: With an increased recognition and acceptance of diverse gender identities, a feminist magazine in 2050 might prioritize the experiences and rights of transgender and non-binary individuals. It could advocate for legal protections, healthcare access, and societal acceptance, while engaging in conversations that challenge traditional notions of gender.
These are just a few potential areas of focus for a feminist magazine in 2050, and it's important to note that the feminist movement will undoubtedly evolve in response to the social, cultural, and political landscapes of the time.
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Great article. Very insightful history of this publication. I didn't know it was a penthouse publication and how influence other women.
There was a fun TV show recently called “Minx”. A female journalist starts a magazine to spread feminist messages in the 70s… but the only way she can get distribution is by publishing them alongside nude male centerfolds. Lol! It’s a great commentary on shifting gender roles and societal standards.