Veronika Winkels

Wandering into a newsagent today you will find magazines covering fishing, motorbikes, science, politics, history, new technologies, and more. But the monopoly is still held by what are generally described as ‘women’s interests’: rows and rows of publications about weddings, homes and gardens, cake decorating, craft, health and wellbeing, and, of course, cuisine, couture, and celebrity gossip. How then, could any woman browse these well-stocked sections and still see a gaping hole? Because there is one—where a publication dedicated to the philosophical and cultural contributions of, and impact on, women ought inhabit.

So, while we have copious amounts of magazines on weddings, we have none on the wisdom of the past; on food and fashion but not philosophy; on pop culture but not high culture. What have women done to deserve this neglect? Is it simply that no one thought Klimt or Kant would appeal to a female audience so much as the Kardashians? Perhaps that was the safer bet. Alternatively, believing women would be interested in perusing, in a staff room or waiting room, or in adorning a coffee table with such conversations as how we might relate to Homer’s Odyssey, or how Wollstonecraft can still guide women today, was the riskier. And yet, why not take it?

Mathilde (pronounced ‘Matilda’ and meaning ‘battle-maiden’) is a small ‘c’ conservative magazine for women, in that its mission is to protect the endangered species of age-old wisdom, the pursuit of excellence, and celebration of art and culture at a time when expediency and efficiency, technology, and radical individualism occupy the popular imagination as the highest good. In the face of cancel culture, and a growing fear around speaking freely and showing reservations about issues regarded as ‘settled’, Mathilde seeks to create a space to explore ideas that may or may not fall within accepted narratives about women, culture, and history. We maintain that what is needed is a publication which would, for example, act as an antidote to gesture politics, by promoting virtue above virtue-signalling, and provide a response to today’s climate by ‘holding fast to what is good’ (our motto), in a continual search for truth rather than a naïve belief in the triumph of progress. We seek to navigate a way forward for women, anchored in the belief of women’s distinct, inimitable, and irreducible value; unshackled from popular perceptions of women, and expectations for their beliefs and behaviours. We aim to encompass this with the term ‘reclaimed feminism’.

Mathilde investigates culture under the headings of ‘Considering’, ‘Connecting’, ‘Child-Raising’, ‘Creating’, ‘Contemplating’, and ‘Culture-Making’, as well as through literary reviews and poetry. In this way, we seek to understand how the modern trajectories of each of these realms affect our lives, our sense of ourselves, and our purpose. A mission that, of course, has everything to do with the Liberal Arts.

The irony is that while six of my nine siblings attended Australia’s first and still-only Liberal Arts college, Campion College, I elected not to, instead opting to undertake a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University, perhaps the nation’s hottest hotbed of the type of deconstructivism and secular humanism which would on the whole, I think, be proud to be contrasted to Campion’s far humbler and far more glorious Classical program. Why, knowing this, would an immersion in the alternate world of queer theory and feminist studies seem more appealing to me then? Arts at Melbourne University was an education, if not in the way it sought to achieve. Perhaps I would not have chosen that path again. But as the injunction to “hold fast to what is good” is preceded by the equally important one to “test everything”, I felt I had to both test the strength of my love for the Classics and my conviction of their importance, by placing myself in a position where I would perhaps need to defend them in a hostile environment. And then, too, I wanted to see which world would present itself as the more attractive: one untethered from history, in a perpetual state of self-determination, or in one which is built upon the ages, which in the words of Isaac Newton, accepted it could see so far because “it stood on the shoulders of giants.”

Here comes the spoiler alert.  Perhaps it simply came down to indolence. I couldn’t be bothered with a philosophical outlook which demanded me to reinvent the wheel all over again. I was satisfied that it had been done. I was just happy to learn about the roads it had since traveled. This does not mean that ideas such as those about women and very many other things have been decided. The beauty of a wheel is that it keeps on turning.

Australia has been showing signs of interest in participating in a new cultural springtime, as increasing enrolments at Campion College, and the growing adoption of Classical curriculums in schools, both secondary and primary, around the country show.

Our own experience, too, at Mathilde HQ, is that we are struggling to keep up with demand. Our emphasis on creating an aesthetic experience as well as an intellectually rich one, delivered in the quality of our paper as well as the multitude of artwork throughout the pages is an act of hope: that, as Dostoevsky said, “Beauty will save the world”. Alongside our pursuit of truth and upholding the good, our celebration of the beauty from past centuries reinforces, we hope, the former aims. 


Increasingly, readers pre-order not one but two issues ahead, to avoid the risk of missing out, because we are consistently selling out as soon as issues (metaphorically) hit the stand. What we hope to do is put Mathilde in actual newsstands, so that the more general public can vote with their purses whether it is open to participating in a national conversation around women, culture, and history in ways that have not been pre-approved by the elite or popular media. It sounds rather subversive, but in reality, it is transcendent. In that sense alone, does Mathilde seek to incite an uprising.

  • About the Author: Veronika is Founding Editor of Mathilde Magazine, and resides in Melbourne. You can find out more about Mathilde at or