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Fri, 07 Sep 2012 11:51:53 EDT by admin, 104771 views
University of Ottawa, Canada
Cultural Studies paper by Watson, Tanya (all papers)
Childless in Nők Lapja
Literature across various disciplines, as well as geographical and cultural borders, suggests that women without children, particularly those who have chosen to be child-free, often find themselves portrayed negatively in media. In this essay, a part of my PhD research, I contribute to this scholarship, examining representations of women without children in Hungary. Hungary makes for an interesting study, given the nation’s history of low fertility rates and reproductive and family policies. During communist control, various reproductive and family policies were created to encourage women to procreate. Hungarian women’s reproductive choices were curtailed—sometimes eliminated—during periods of intense pro-natal policy and they were politically pressured and cajoled into motherhood. After the regime change in 1989, party leaders blamed women’s workforce participation for the nation’s shrinking population and subsequent problems. Women in Hungary continue to face political pressure concerning their reproductive rights and in 2011, the new constitution included language that threatened Hungarian women’s access to abortion. In light of this history, my project examines how Hungarian women without children have been, and continue to be, represented in Hungarian society. For my study, I use the popular women’s magazine Nők Lapja, from 1989 to present, as a barometer for the dominant representations of child-free women in post-socialist Hungarian society, contextualizing the content of the magazine within the historical, political and cultural history of the country. This essay presents the working results of my research.
Brief Professional Bio:
Tanya Watson is a PhD Candidate at the Institute of Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada. She holds both an Honor’s Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s degree in philosophy. Her PhD research examines representations of women without children in the Hungarian women’s magazine Nők Lapja.