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A Content Analysis of Gender Stereotypes n Contemporary Teenage Magazines

Author: 
Anjalin, Umana
Committee Members: 
Dr. Roxanne Hovland
Date: 
May 2015

Abstract: 

 

The portrayal of women has long been a matter of concern as well as discontent. The patterns reflected in the media mostly deal with stereotyping females in very limited roles, and frequently as sex objects. Magazine content could be a crucial source in the issue of adolescent socialization. Magazines directed to adolescent female consumers orient the audience with the explicit and implicit messages of socio-economic lifestyle. Teens' relying on the subjective as well as objective comprehension of these magazines is crucial to their growing up. Therefore, it was essential to understand the factors that are influential for much of adolescent socialization. In this regard, a content analysis of Goffman's stereotypical categories was examined for the contemporary teen magazines. Coding on two magazines — Seventeen and Teen Vogue (2014 issues) was done using the frameworks of Goffman's scale categories. Two more variables from Kang's (1997) categories were added.

While the roles of females are going through far-reaching changes in society-at-large, advertisements nevertheless have remained as stereotypical. The females' portrayal in the teenage magazines was mostly inclined towards the essence of deferential dispositions and was rarely about self-assurance and independence. There was almost a nonexistent depiction of women in positions of power and in occupational frames. The stereotypical categories that were rife with examples were in the categories of: Ritualization of Subordination, Feminine Touch, Independence/Self Assurance, Licensed Withdrawal, and Body Display. It could be noted that with these stereotypical portrayal of images, especially with the increased sexualization of teenage girls, there is a huge possibility of limiting the teenage women's self-definitions and potential to grow up into resolute and strong-minded individuals.

The racial representation was not been duly addressed, according to the sample results. A more realistic representation of the races in the teen magazines could hold more promise of monetization as the racial groups like the Black Americans, Asian Americans, and the Hispanics have the growth potential over the next few decades. If there is lesser objectification of women in the magazine contents, the lesser would be the likelihood of alarmingly dangerous tendency of far-reaching problems like sexual coercion.