‘I am luckily not the only one’: Analyzing the readers’ interpretations of texting advice in women’s magazines
Abstract: The aim of this master thesis is to contribute to a more profound knowledge of women's magazine reading by giving insights into the readerships’ interpretations of magazine texts. Three different dimensions of interpretation were thereby identified: the relation to the audiences’ own situations in life, the audiences’ reflections on their prior experiences, and the emerging emotions in the interpretation process. Audience and reception theory, as well as feminist media theory, form the theoretical framework of my research. As audience reception concerns the dynamic interaction between text and the audiences’ reception of it, I decided to concentrate on both text analysis and qualitative interviews. With my qualitative, methodological approach – comprising an analysis of three articles concerning texting advice and interviews with six regular readers, I was able to explore nuances and depths of the phenomenon. I identified four interpretative repertoires which the women used for making meaning of the texts: pleasure, rejection, self-reflection, and practical relevance. Pleasure and rejection were found to be the women’s predominant emotions in the interpretation process. Moreover, my research illustrates that women are interpreting the texting advice in a practical as well as in a self-reflexive way. Their own circumstances and prior experiences are thereby variables, which influence the reception. My work strengthens the perspective of readers as being empowered to understand, evaluate, and critique the media content they consume. This is an important finding influencing society at large. As my research outlines, critical readings were found to be superior to possible ideological influences of women’s magazines. Future research should focus on a further in-depth analysis of individual influencing variables in relation to the audiences’ interpretations as I was only able to evaluate some in my study.
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