G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Kuinka naistenlehdestä tuli osa sotapropagandaa : naisihanteen muodostuminen ja muokkautuminen Kotiliesi-lehdessä toisen maailmansodan aikana (2020)

Aunila, S. (2020). Kuinka naistenlehdestä tuli osa sotapropagandaa : naisihanteen muodostuminen ja muokkautuminen Kotiliesi-lehdessä toisen maailmansodan aikana [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU dissertations, 269. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8256-0

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Aunila, Seija

eISBN: 978-951-39-8256-0

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 269

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (284 sivua)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8256-0

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


This study investigates how the Finnish women’s magazine Kotiliesi built and shaped the normative ideal of a home front woman during World War II in Finland and how editor in chief Alli Wiherheimo managed the content strategy of the magazine. The subject of research were Kotiliesi magazine issues from 1939 to 1945, annual reports of Yhtyneet Kuvalehdet publishing company and private archives of key writers. The conceptual framework of this study is on one hand that of discourse theory and on the other hand gender studies. A three-discourse theoretical model has been created on the basis of the research materials: first, a discourse validating the justification of war, second, a pronatalist discourse of preserving the nation, and third, a discourse of common experience that strengthens the sacrifice-hero premise. The key figure in creating the discourse of preserving the nation was member of the magazine’s advisory board, vice chairman of Finnish Family Federation Elsa Enäjärvi-Haavio, who lobbied for a six-child family ideal. To achieve this goal, the articles rejected lengthy education and suggested young women should marry early. The message was emphasized by means of fictitious growth stories meant to inspire young women to marry invalids of war. The sacrifice-hero premise was strengthened by common experience writings of two causerists who had lost their sons in war, smallholder Impi Aronaho and writer Tyyni Tuulio, and archetypical fictitious sacrifice stories. The study shows that the meaning of the Kotiliesi magazine motto ”Home is the heart of society” shifted during World War II, and the idea of a woman’s role changed. Before the war, the magazine had given seasonal tips and instructions for homemakers, but after the war broke out, the focus shifted to supporting the war efforts. When describing the change in female identity, editor in chief Wiherheimo used a metaphor relating to the Finnish national epic Kalevala: a pre-war active member of society, Louhi, turned into Lemminkäinen’s Mother, sacrificing her son. The editorial content was clearly affected by hegemonic thought patterns in the society, the conservative Christian values of the magazine, and the writers’ view of a woman’s role in the war, based on their shared set of values. The magazine’s propagandist content was strengthened when Wiherheimo set up an advisory board in 1941, consisting of influential members of society supporting her worldview and values. Thus, Kotiliesi separated itself from the two other commercial women’s magazines, Hopeapeili and Eeva, which in their content supported an escapist, adventurous female identity.

Keywords: magazines; women's magazines; Second World War; home front; view of women; ideals; war propaganda

Free keywords: World War II; home front; women's magazine

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:34