7. Female models . Several women pointed out to me that GDR models weren’t anorexic waifs or larger-than-life sex bombs but rather average women. There was no East German Kate Moss. In fact, many weren’t professionals at all but hobby models. Leafing through a few old copies of magazines like Für Dich ( For You ) and Modische Maschen ( Fashionable Stitches ) most of the clothes look dowdy and, indeed, the models are everyday women — though, naturally, on the pretty side. They certainly wear less make up and show less skin than those in Vogue . There are no sex tips, but rather an emphasis on work, motherhood, and party politics. For all their libertine body culture, it all strikes me as awfully prude.
Newer scholarship on the arts under socialism seeks to re-appropriate the field by bringing contemporary interests and research questions to bear upon it. Such work is yielding more nuanced and in-depth insights into how the arts functioned in socialist society, which highlight commonalities as well as differences between socialist and capitalist modernity. Because the different disciplines we engage exhibit significant interpretive differences—and the experience of East German artists working in different media was also quite varied—the Institute expects to break new ground by challenging conventional assumptions about periodization and socialist ideology and cultural policies.