Media critics and feminists have long criticized teen magazines for providing limited substance and promoting a traditional view of femininity. This article challenges this assumption by using a critical discourse analysis to examine the production of girl glossies. Through interviews with four New York teen magazine editors, I unpack some of the contradictions embedded in editors’ identifying as feminists while creating a cultural product often deemed anti-feminist. My findings suggest that editors combine practical strategies with a distinctively “third wave ethic” to navigate between corporate and cultural expectations in order to integrate a popular feminism into the magazine content. This third wave ethos however, tends to yield a conception of feminism as primarily a celebration of individual agency, neglecting a larger analysis of structural barriers and power relations. While editors have some success in refocusing teen magazines as sites for individual empowerment, I argue that this is not enough to truly empower teen girls and to challenge inequalities on a societal scale.
|Journal||Women's Studies International Forum|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
- girl's studies
- popular culture
- third wave