"Which one of these girls are you?" Self-knowledge produced by female press tests

Constantina Xavier Filha About the author

Tthis paper aims to make a reflection on the discourses conveyed and produced by a peculiar textual element in the female press: tests. The study is based on gender assumptions and some foucaultian concepts. It intends to discuss statements found in the press (magazines Capricho and Cláudia) regarding female themes and sexuality in the first decades of the second half of the 20th century. By using prescriptive and normalizing statements, the tests were revealed to act as pedagogical tools whose objective was "to guide female conduct", as they were able to prompt examination and confession, thus making it possible for the inner discourse to be visible and verbalized. The tests indicate concepts of "truth" supported by moral codes and, especially, by precepts based on scientific theories about female conduct. The concept of truth is connected to power systems, pointing to regimes that are not necessarily negative or repressive, but fundamentally productive, as they stimulate reflection and provide personal work possibilities.

Female Press; Sexuality; Gender


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