“Our readers consider themselves activists” : A Mixed-Method Study of Consumption Discourses and Activism in Teen Vogue
Abstract: During the year of 2017 and 2018, the online magazine Teen Vogue saw an immense rise in reader statistic after laying all efforts on digital channels and increasing content about social issues to attract audiences of young people. Teen Vogue is a form of lifestyle journalism. This type of journalism is known for providing popular journalism, infotainment and human-interest stories with close ties to commercial interests. The target audience of Teen Vogue are adolescents or youth, which has for a long time been a group that often shows resistance and calls out for change. But, what happens when a magazine with close connection to commercial interests also aims to attracting a more socially conscious group? This research explores the connection between lifestyle media, consumption and social issues through a mixed method study of the articles in Teen Vogue. The first part of this research consists of a content analysis which identifies the main social issues within the content categories of the magazine and established the close connection between commercial issues and activism in the content. The second part of the study involves a critical discourse analysis which analyzes how language is used and how discourses of consumption interplay in the material. It was found that discourses of consumption as a means to extend one’s identity was intertwined with consumption as ethical or responsible, highlighting that being an activist is mainly a matter of consumption.
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