Portraying women and femininity : a case-study analysis of the Norwegian women’s magazine Stella
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Women’s magazines are often filled with beauty tips, romantic advice, and weight-loss tricks to look better in a bikini. This stereotypical women’s magazine rhetoric is familiar, but what does all of this mean in terms of a feministic perspective? This thesis aims to conduct a qualitative, case-study analysis of the Norwegian women’s magazine Stella from a feministic perspective, examining the question of how women and femininity are portrayed in the magazine, analyzed against the backdrop of Naomi Wolf’s book The Beauty Myth (2002) – a book that has been highly influential in the development of the third-wave feminism movement. In this way, my examination places focus on the portrayal of women in this medium rather than on readers’ reception of its content, and seeks to determine to what degree the content of Stella does or does not promote and uphold the beauty myth ideals. My study finds that Stella’s editorial content does not promote the ideals of the beauty myth, and that in many cases, this editorial content even works to fight against such ideals. There is, however, a contradiction found in the juxtaposition of Stella’s editorial content and Stella’s advertisements, which do reflect the beauty myth’s ideals. Thus, this works to show a positive example of feministic portrayals within this medium, but also serves to illustrate the conflicted reality that women’s magazines today face.