n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Christian-Afrikaans women under construction : an analysis of gender ideology in and

Volume 22, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



In this article we explore the nature of a particular kind of femininity, which we term 'Christian-Afrikaans femininity'. It is our contention that the rise of glossy magazines over the last two decades, and specifically since the fall of apartheid in 1994, aimed particularly at Christian-Afrikaans women in South Africa, is linked to a so-called crisis of cultural identity facing (white) Afrikaans speaking people at this time. The aim of the semiotic and iconographical analysis undertaken here is to explore the nature of contemporary Christian-Afrikaans femininity as it is constructed in two South African, glossy, women's magazines, namely, and . The construction of an ideal Christian-Afrikaans woman is considered here in terms of two closely related issues. On the one hand, we argue that the contemporary version of Christian-Afrikaans femininity is rooted in the social-political context of Afrikaner nationalism. On the other, we show that such myths are also rooted in the ideological construction of the 'ideal' woman in a Christian context, where patriarchal notions of gender continue to be perpetuated and maintained. It is, therefore, our aim to explore and expose the ways in which these two magazines naturalise a specifically white and normative construction of Christian-Afrikaans femininity thereby regulating and restricting the gender identities of modern Christian-Afrikaans women. This research is derived from H Mans' MA in Visual Studies, completed in 2013 under the supervision of J Lauwrens.

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