Title: Women’s magazines and the public sphere
Journal / Publication: European Journal of Communication
Pages: 247 – 261
Authors: Ytre-Arne, Brita
This article explores the relationship between women’s magazines and the public sphere, arguing that women’s magazines can be positioned as having a marginal or an important role in the public domain — depending on how the functions of popular media in democracy are understood. Women’s magazines are generally not associated with the forms of journalism which bring citizens information of crucial democratic importance. Nevertheless, research on women’s magazines emphasizes their political relevance as purveyors of ideology about class, family structures and women’s role in society. In addition to this implicit political dimension, women’s magazines also include journalism which deals explicitly with political issues. Because of this, women’s magazines constitute an interesting case for fundamental debates about the categories of private and public. Drawing on feminist contributions to public sphere theory and using Norway as an empirical case, this article offers a broad exploration of the role of women’s magazines in the public sphere. The empirical data include interviews with readers and editors as well as analysis of texts and media policy debates.