My Topics

11 June 2021

Girl magazines as postfeminist domain?

Girls’ magazines play an important role in the maintenance of gender perceptions and the creation of gender by young girls.  A recent study in Media and Communication explores the shared norms and values related to gender as well as the presence of a postfeminist themes in popular girls’ magazines.

Take aways

  • Girls’ magazines discuss topics from a feminist as well as an anti-feminist perspective, thereby enacting a postfeminist vantage point in their reporting.
  • The topics in which this postfeminist sensibility is present include the body, sex, male and female relationships, female empowerment, and self-reflexivity of the reader.
  • The magazines encourage their girl readers to be self-aware, self-monitoring and self-critical. The readers are supposed to constantly work towards perfecting themselves on all terrains included in the magazines.

Study information

  • Who?

    The three most popular girls magazines in the Netherlands,  Fashionchick, Cosmogirl, and Girlz (N = 27 editions, from 2018).

  • Where?

    The Netherlands

  • How?

    The researchers conducted a thematic analysis on 27 editions of the popular girls’ magazines  FashionchickCosmogirl, and Girlz. The thematic analysis was informed by the idea of a postfeminist sensibility as proposed by Rosalind Gill (2007b, 2016).

Facts and findings

  • The body, body acceptance, and ways to perfect the body are dominant features in girls’ magazines
  • The magazines suggest that sex should be pleasurable for both partners, but in terms of contraceptives they put the responsibility with the female readers
  • Female empowerment is also a dominant theme in the magazines. The role models the magazines provide are all part of the entertainment industry.
  • Magazines present women as active subjects and mostly objectify men, except when they have a “feminine” occupation.
  • Girls are given various tools, such as quizzes, to self-reflexively work on perfecting themselves.