From Barbie to the oligarch's wife: reading fantasy femininity and globalisation in post-Soviet Russian women's magazines

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This article demonstrates how an analysis of fantasy femininity sheds light on how norms of gender, class and national identity reflect global and local cross-cultural currents in post-Soviet Russia. Drawing on a discourse analysis of women’s magazines and in-depth interviews with readers, it shows how, in the globalised post-Soviet cultural landscape, fantasy femininity represents both change and continuity. Feminine archetypes in women’s magazines, from fairytale princesses to Barbie dolls, reflect a wider post-Soviet cultural hybridisation and are an example of how Western women’s magazines have adapted to the Russian context. Furthermore, the article highlights readers’ ambiguous attitudes towards post-Soviet cultural trends linked to perceived Westernisation or globalisation, such as individualism, conspicuous consumption and glamour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-198
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Early online date13 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • gender
  • Russia
  • women's magazines
  • folklore
  • audience research

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