Cover image for Girl talk : adolescent magazines and their readers
Title:
Girl talk : adolescent magazines and their readers
Author:
Currie, Dawn, 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
x, 362 pages ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780802044150

9780802082176
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PN4878 .C87 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Current feminist debate finds itself at an impasse concerning the significance of magazines for adolescent girls- are they full of oppressive prescriptions of femininity, or celebrations of female-centred pleasure and resistance against the patriarchy? The question has been examined largely by middle-aged academics, in some cases far removed in age and education from the intended consumers of these magazines, and the assumptions they have reached about the messages absorbed by young women may be completely wrong.

Dawn Currie takes a new approach, by looking at the readers themselves and how they interpret the message of the magazines in their everyday lives. Based on interviews with 48 girls aged 13 to 17, this book challenges many assumptions that have arisen through researchers making their own interpretations, such as the supposed appeal of glossy photo spreads and advertisements. In Currie's study, we find that girls prefer written texts, particularly advice columns, because they view them as useful for everyday living, particularly within the school culture, which Currie finds reinforces the message of the 'teenzines' by encouraging girls to doubt themselves rather than to question the cultural constructs that surround them. Using intertextuality as a reading strategy for materialist feminism, Dawn Currie distinguishes between the 'social' and the 'cultural' and allows us to better understand how power as a quality of social relationships works through the cultural media of fashion and beauty magazines.


Summary

Current feminist debate finds itself at an impasse concerning the significance of magazines for adolescent girls- are they full of oppressive prescriptions of femininity, or celebrations of female-centred pleasure and resistance against the patriarchy? The question has been examined largely by middle-aged academics, in some cases far removed in age and education from the intended consumers of these magazines, and the assumptions they have reached about the messages absorbed by young women may be completely wrong.

Dawn Currie takes a new approach, by looking at the readers themselves and how they interpret the message of the magazines in their everyday lives. Based on interviews with 48 girls aged 13 to 17, this book challenges many assumptions that have arisen through researchers making their own interpretations, such as the supposed appeal of glossy photo spreads and advertisements. In Currie's study, we find that girls prefer written texts, particularly advice columns, because they view them as useful for everyday living, particularly within the school culture, which Currie finds reinforces the message of the 'teenzines' by encouraging girls to doubt themselves rather than to question the cultural constructs that surround them. Using intertextuality as a reading strategy for materialist feminism, Dawn Currie distinguishes between the 'social' and the 'cultural' and allows us to better understand how power as a quality of social relationships works through the cultural media of fashion and beauty magazines.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

Although a great deal of feminist scholarship in recent years has focused on women's magazines, much less research has been accomplished on girls' magazines, perhaps because scholars view such texts "simply [as] a younger' version of the more general genre of women's magazines." Currie addresses this oversight, suggesting that the messages in girls' magazines do not always mirror those in women's publications. She argues that in order to understand how girls grow into "correctly" gendered adults, one must pay attention to the messages about gender roles conveyed by girls' magazines and by a host of other popular media sources. What follows is a well-researched study about girls and their popular reading practices. Beyond this, Currie also provides an insightful exploration of how girls' magazines teach their readers about the consumption habits they should adopt as teens and, later, grown women. For many reasons, this book is engaging reading for any researcher studying girls' reading habits and consumption practices. Thanks to the acumen of its scholarship, Girl Talk will become one of the standard references for undergraduate and advanced scholars wishing to understand more about girls' popular reading. S. A. Inness; Miami University


Choice Review

Although a great deal of feminist scholarship in recent years has focused on women's magazines, much less research has been accomplished on girls' magazines, perhaps because scholars view such texts "simply [as] a younger' version of the more general genre of women's magazines." Currie addresses this oversight, suggesting that the messages in girls' magazines do not always mirror those in women's publications. She argues that in order to understand how girls grow into "correctly" gendered adults, one must pay attention to the messages about gender roles conveyed by girls' magazines and by a host of other popular media sources. What follows is a well-researched study about girls and their popular reading practices. Beyond this, Currie also provides an insightful exploration of how girls' magazines teach their readers about the consumption habits they should adopt as teens and, later, grown women. For many reasons, this book is engaging reading for any researcher studying girls' reading habits and consumption practices. Thanks to the acumen of its scholarship, Girl Talk will become one of the standard references for undergraduate and advanced scholars wishing to understand more about girls' popular reading. S. A. Inness; Miami University


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