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Women’s Lifestyle Magazines

Cardoso, Carla Rodrigues and Cardoso, Daniel (2020) Women’s Lifestyle Magazines. In: The International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 1119429102

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This entry is about the relations between gender studies and women’s lifestyle magazines’ studies, a relevant part of Communication Studies. It discusses how magazines function as marketing tools that also mirror and normalize gender and ethnic concerns, and work as social memory constructors in implicitly political ways. Magazines base their content on the projected needs, desires, hopes and fears of their target group, with whom they try to develop a bond, promoting community-like interactions. Women’s lifestyle magazines have mostly been marketed and organized around the gender binary, turning themselves into technologies of gender, producers of those identities and bodies. We will focus on four different aspects: (a) the heavily imagetic and discursive processes of the magazine cover, a hybrid structure and its most important and enduring element, which declares its personality; (b) the market and business changes regarding how they are created, and how the public engages with them; (c) their content and attending cultural presuppositions; and (d) the way recent sociocultural changes have transformed the discourses, but not the political implications of these magazines. We will focus on contemporary aspects of globalized media production, without losing sight of the changing nature of the meaning of “women’s magazines”. We will also consider how postfeminism and its critique, biopolitics and discipline are fundamental to understand the nature of women’s magazines.

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