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Eliza Haywood's "The Female Spectator", the First Periodical Written for Women by a Woman

4/1744 to 5/1746

English writer, actress and publisher Eliza Haywood wrote The Female Spectator. This monthly periodicalpublished in London, written in answer to the contemporary London journal, The Spectator by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, was the first periodical written for women by a woman.

"Haywood anonymously published a monthly journal entitled The Female Spectator. It was the first magazine by and for women, and was extremely popular. It was a collection of essays that allegedly originate in letters from readers. The essays provide an ideal forum of disscussion which gave Haywood direct contact to her public and vise versa. Haywood concerned herself with how women might operate better in a society that held restrictions upon them. She knew the difficulties of female life within a patriarchal system, but she wrote to show how not to accept such difficulties as definitive of women's possibilities. Haywood's explicit recommendations  [were] to women urge them to work within the existing system, gain an education, and a strong sense of personal power.

"As Haywood began finding her authoral voice, she created the magazine as a product of four women. She created those women as voices that would relate to the public and help her reach her moral purpose of the magazine. First, was Mira, a lady descended from a family to which "wit" was hereditary . . . . She married a gentleman that was ever so deserving of a great wife, and together, they live in perfect harmony. Next, is a widow of quality, who is able to find innocence and honour in most situations. She was called the wise widow . . . . The third was the daughter of a wealthy merchant, charming, but endued with so many accomplishments, that to those who know her truly, her beauty is the least distinguished part of her . . . . The fourth was the "Female Spectator" herself . . . . Within the pages of The Female Spectator, gambling, lying, jilting, scandal bearing, and the like are discussed as they affect women. Current affairs, wars, and politics, were not a part of the magazine. Naturally, the focus was on women and their concerns, principally courtship and marriage" ( accessed 02-23-2009).

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