Title: Depicting femininity: Conflicting messages in a “tween” magazine
Year: 07/14/2014 [Published Online before Print]
Journal / Publication: Youth & Society
Authors: Velding, Victoria
Femininity is learned from a myriad of social agents and institutions. An avid consumer of media, today’s pre-adolescent girl, or “tween,” is inundated with messages about how to be a socially acceptable female. What is the nature of these messages tweens are receiving about femininity? Are tween girls in today’s society encouraged to adhere to traditional notions of femininity or are they encouraged to resist these norms? To answer these questions, I performed a content analysis of all advertisements found in Girls’ Life, a magazine whose target audience is the tween girl. Textual and pictorial coding took place for all advertisements in all issues for the years 2007 and 2008. Results revealed the presence of conflicting messages about femininity through the emergence of four themes: female togetherness, focus on appearance, independence, and control. The magazine presents a contradictory version of femininity, one that encourages the adherence to normative prescriptions of femininity while simultaneously encouraging resistance to these norms.