New East Digital Archive

Wonderzine: the smart and sassy magazine pushing Russia’s gender revolution

In a hostile cultural environment, this mag is entertaining and educating a generation of young women

11 December 2017

“Being smart or being beautiful should no longer be a choice that women have to make”. If this statement may seem obvious to many, it still has a revolutionary ring in Russia, where gender freedoms are under attack and subjects of sex, mental and physical health and queer culture are still underreported and underexplored. But things are slowly changing now, in part thanks to Wonderzine, an online media platform promoting equality and positive lifestyle for young women as well as slowly building a society more open and tolerant than that we have now.

Launched by Moscow-based media holding Look at Media as an online magazine for progressive, independent women interested in issues spanning from body creams to psychological health, Wonderzine has quickly expanded to a broader audience. Features include: discussions of modern character types such as workaholic, trickster, polyamour or asexual; long reads investigating HIV positive life in Russia; first aid tips, legal help and self-defence tutorials for women suffering from domestic violence; real life stories of people working in sex shops, doing bodybuilding and working as models in China; and test-drives of sex toys and halal make-up. It is this rich mix, somewhere between Buzzfeed, and the New Yorker, that is helping Wonderzine’s team to create a platform unlike any other. The carefree design aesthetics and cheeky, social media-savvy language has allowed Wonderzine to talk about serious issues in a way that no one felt too heavy to read on a phone during the after-work commute, while avoiding a glib chattiness. Elsewhere, Wonderzine’s style and beauty sections present a more inventive, body positive and conscious approach to shopping, style and trends. Altogether Wonderzine is a sticker-packed, peachy, smart, opinionated platform proving the game is far from over for online media.

Text: Masha Borodacheva

Image credit: Wonderzine