Sex-related content in teen girl magazines: education or encouragement?

Dukielska, Kinga Aeksandra (2013) Sex-related content in teen girl magazines: education or encouragement? BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Sexual content in mainstream media is increasingly explicit, and since it can be easily accessed by children and teenagers it has drawn widespread debate and concern. The aim of this paper is to update the existing research on the sexual content in teen girl magazines as well as to establish whether such content is sexualising adolescent female readers or rather becoming increasingly informative. I chose to focus on teen magazines as they constitute the first and oldest mass medium accused of the sexualization of young females. Drawing on the wide range of secondary readings, as well as on three different methods of textual analysis, I discuss the evolution of attitudes towards adolescent female sexuality since the 1970s. The application of qualitative (semiotic analysis, discourse analysis) and quantitative (content analysis) methods of textual analysis enabled a detailed examination of the case study material, Bliss, demonstrating the prevalence of increasingly tolerant attitudes towards teenage sexuality. By comparing two opposite approaches to teen sexuality and sex education, abstinence-until-marriage and comprehensive sex education programs, I argue that the comprehensive discussion of sexuality, even if perceived as controversial, is likely to have a positive influence on adolescent sexual socialization. I thus conclude that the sexual content in teen media is increasingly informative rather than sexualising, with the exception of the content which refers to sexuality for advertising purposes. I indicate that the ubiquitous display of unattainable beauty standards and frequent references to sexual appeal have a sexualising effect on adolescent female readers.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2013 11:31
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:31

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