Feminism and Anti-Feminism in Harmony? : A Critical Discourse Analysis of Postfeminism in Women's Magazines

Bachelor thesis English OPEN
Wahlström, Sofie (2016)
  • Publisher: Stockholms universitet, Engelska institutionen
  • Subject: General Language Studies and Linguistics | Jämförande språkvetenskap och allmän lingvistik

This essay investigates postfeminist discourses in women’s magazines with the use of Fairclough’s (2014) critical discourse analysis (CDA). Additionally, it presents consumers’ perceptions of women’s magazines in order to explore how women’s magazines might influence readers’ constructions of identity. Postfeminism is mainly defined by Gill (2007, 2009) and McRobbie (2004) as an idea of feminism and antifeminism combined with the use of neoliberal views. Previous research conducted between 1990 and 2009 has stated that women’s magazines follow a postfeminist discourse and therefore give a contradictory message to their readers, emphasising the importance of individuality and empowerment as well as promoting a traditional feminine image. The magazines analysed in this essay were the January 2016 issue of Elle Magazine US and the February 2016 issue of Elle Magazine UK. The magazines follow a postfeminist discourse, and it is constructed with the use of wording and modality. To complement the CDA, an interview with a target group of women’s magazine readers was conducted. Findings indicate that the magazines both largely follow a postfeminist discourse, constructed through the use of rhetorical features such as wording and modality, and readers believe magazines affect their identity construction negatively. The article is concluded with a discussion on what the aim of a postfeminist discourse is.
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