Self-Improvement and Teen Magazines: A Matter of Fashion and Beauty: A Content Analysis of Sassy, Seventeen and YM--Teen Magazines for Adolescent Females
Staub, Catherine M.
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This research is a content analysis of three teen magazines: Sassy, Seventeen and YM. It replicates an earlier study by Evans, Rutberg, Sather and Turner, to determine if teen magazines targeting a young, female audience still promote self-improvement through fashion and physical beautification. The data was collected from ten issues each of Seventeen, Sassy and YM. lssues selected for Seventeen and YM were published during the time period from June 1996 through July 1997. The issues selected for Sassy were published during the time period from December 1995 through November 1996, Sassy's last issue. Articles, advertisements and photographs were coded according to the coding scheme developed by Evans, Rutberg, Sather and Turner to facilitate a comparison of results. Results of the content analysis and comparison with results from the earlier study show that the three teen magazines studied do still promote self-improvement through fashion and physical beautification. The content analysis of photography in each of the magazines shows each of the magazines studied have made progress in representing a multi-cultural, multi-racial population by including pictures of more non-white models. Further study of teen magazines is needed to determine the impact of the magazines' messages on readers. Further studies might explore a possible correlation between teen magazine readership and eating disorders or body-image distortion. Further research might also consider uses and gratifications theory to help explain why teen magazines are read, and if the magazines are fulfilling reader needs.
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