Pin Ups and Political Passions: Citizenship Address in Post-War Men’s Magazines

  • Laura Saarenmaa
Part of the Citizenship, Gender and Diversity book series (FEMCIT)


Men’s magazines have mostly been analysed in terms of representations of male sexuality and heteronormative, masculine identity. However, the post-war Finnish men’s magazines of the late 1940s and 1950s have rather been publications with a political agenda. Men’s magazines have participated in the ongoing political debates and addressed their implied male readers as citizens. Moreover, men’s magazines challenged the dominant, negative representations of Finnish men as violent drunks by outlining the idea of “common gentleman”. Theoretically, the chapter draws on Robert Asen’s (Communication Theory 10(4): 424–446, 2000) critical redefinition of Nancy Fraser’s concept of counterpublics. Rather than assuming that counterpublics are limited to race, class, gender or sexuality as a historically dominated or oppressed social category, Asen suggests that counterpublics can emerge in any social context. This chapter argues for the counterpublic functions of men’s magazines in a specific temporal context, post-war Finland. In these turbulent years, men’s magazines provided a forum for male fantasies in terms of sexuality and engagement, as well as politically oriented visions of the future.


Public Sphere Street Violence Illegal Abortion Cultural Citizenship Political Citizen 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Saarenmaa
    • 1
  1. 1.Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication (COMET)University of TampereTampereFinland

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