Sexing desire : the construction and treatment of female sexuality in popular women's magazines

Finney, Danielle (2001) Sexing desire : the construction and treatment of female sexuality in popular women's magazines. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the social construction of female sexuality in popular women's magazines and draws attention to the commercial interests that are served by the simultaneous processes of creating sexual difference and sexing desire. The teen magazines Seventeen, Ym, and Teen, and the young women's magazines Cosmo, Glamour, and New Woman, are used to track the cultivation of a specifically feminine form of desire, a form of desire which is differentiated from masculine desire, offered only to female bodies, and which bears no inherent relation to female bodies. It is shown that for the purposes of generating revenue, the cosmetic, fashion, diet, and magazine industries participate in the creation of feminine desire. In these magazines, feminine desire is established as the desire for male sexual desire and for committed, monogamous relationships while male desire is characterized as the desire for sexual gratification. This thesis also elucidates the ways that popular women's magazines often react to the differences that they themselves have helped to create. Numerous contradictions become visible through an examination of the advice given to readers on how to deal with or overcome the consequences of sexed desire. Ultimately, my analysis reveals that contradiction is a key feature of the women's magazines' treatment of female sexuality and suggests that contradiction may be an integral part of the magazines’ success.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/967
Item ID: 967
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 94-98
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: 2001
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Women--Sexual behavior--Social aspects; Women's periodicals

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