It’s all about your sex appeal

Deconstructing the sexual content in women’s magazines

Authored by: Claire Moran

The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex and Sexuality

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138777217
eBook ISBN: 9781315168302
Adobe ISBN:


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Women’s magazines have a long history, dating back to the first publication of Ladies Mercury in the UK in 1693 and Lady’s Magazine in the United States in 1792 (Ballaster et al., 1991). Much of the early content focused solely on domestic issues, and outlined ideal domestic female behaviour. It wasn’t until the very late 1800s that magazines began to move beyond household tips to the inclusion of topics such as sexuality and employment for women (Albisetti, 1986; Zuckerman, 1998). This reflected the changing role of women – from one governed by the domestic sphere to one that included broader social issues such as suffrage and women’s inclusion in public life (ibid.).

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