THE FRAMING OF FEMININITY IN POPULAR WOMEN'S MAGAZINES IN 2009: A CONTENT ANALYSIS OF SEVENTEEN, GLAMOUR AND COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINES

Open Access
Author:
Hoffman, Jennifer Haley
Area of Honors:
Journalism
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Marie Hardin, Thesis Supervisor
  • Robert Dwayne Richards, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • femininity
Abstract:
At all levels of media, commercialism preys daily on women’s insecurities (Oppliger, 2008). Research demonstrates that women’s magazines may make assumptions that women’s priorities are to stay fit, vanish wrinkles and to mold their looks and behavior to please men. Oftentimes, women are encouraged to perceive themselves, and in turn their self-worth, through a male lens. Research shows that young girls and women look to magazines to help them make lifestyle choices. Research for this thesis involved a content analysis of the popular women’s magazines, Seventeen, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. More than 1,500 images of women and 500 stories were analyzed for their emphasis on beauty, sexuality, health, relationships and their depiction of race. The data collected and analyzed revealed that overall, the magazines focused most on sex/love, followed by beauty and fashion. Most articles did not emphasize relationships, but the majority of those that did focused on romantic relationships, with a minority focusing on friendships and workplace relationships. The majority of women were pictured in inactive, but non-sexual poses, and the depiction of race was on par with the U.S. population according to Census 2000 data.