Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Impact of Teen Magazines on Adolescent Girls in North Cyprus

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Impact of Teen Magazines on Adolescent Girls in North Cyprus

Article excerpt

Previous researchers have suggested that adolescent girls get pleasure from reading teen magazines, which, in addition to other types of media, affect them by communicating messages about ideal beauty and stereotypical gender roles (Ballentine & Ogle, 2005; Nam, Lee, & Hwang, 2011; Radway, 1991). Studies have also been conducted on the effect of teen magazines on adolescent girls' beauty perception and consumption habits in general (Duke & Kreshel, 1998; Gane, 2007; Gonick, 1997; McRobbie, 1993), and in different countries around the world (Aybay, 2010; Chen & Jackson, 2012; Nam et al., 2011; Silvestre, 2009). Most of the results of these studies suggest that a Western beauty standard that characterizes women as thin, blue-eyed, blond, and with an upturned nose is promoted globally in women's and adolescent girls' magazines. Being repeatedly subjected to these messages about beauty may cause a cultivation effect in women (Gerbner, 1999).

The media and advertising industry frequently uses idealized images of femininity to further increase the desire to attain ideal beauty. The promotion of this standard makes adolescents less happy with their looks, and results in body dissatisfaction (Ballentine & Ogle, 2005; Chen & Jackson, 2012; Knauss, Paxton, & Alsaker, 2007; Tiggemann, 2003). Voelker, Reel, and Greenleaf (2015) indicated that adolescence is a critical period in body image development and that media influence body image perception. Likewise, Bucchianeri, Arikian, Hannan, Eisenberg, and Neumark-Sztainer (2013) showed that body dissatisfaction increased during middle and high school years. In addition, Silvestre (2009) found that the thin body ideal promoted in Western society was an important factor in female adolescent body dissatisfaction in Portugal. Sauer and Robles-Piña's (2003) findings showed that adolescent girls perceive themselves as overweight even when they are not, and that some attempt to become thinner by adopting unhealthy dietary habits.

Regarding the effect of teen magazines on consumption behavior, Cook (2008) indicated that there are few studies on the consumption habits of children and adolescents. McRobbie (1982) stated that adolescent girls are being introduced to and educated within the sphere of feminine consumption through magazines. Other researchers have shown that girls become major consumers of cosmetic products in an attempt to attain an unreachable beauty standard (Martin & Peters, 2005; Opree, Buijzen, van Reijmersdal, & Valkenburg, 2014). Ballentine and Ogle (2005) reported that adolescents place higher importance on appearance than adults, and that popular media promote the use of consumer products for achieving the ideal body shape.

Evans, Rutberg, Sather, and Turner (1991) showed in a study on teen magazines that advertisements are mostly for beauty products and fashion. Further, other findings have shown that different types of media encourage women and adolescent girls in different societies to become major consumers of cosmetic products to obtain an appearance that is as close as possible to ideal Western standards of beauty (de La Ville, 2007).

To our knowledge, no researcher has reported the audience-side impact of teen magazines on Turkish Cypriot adolescent girls. To fill this gap and to investigate the ways in which adolescent girls in North Cyprus interact with teen magazines, we used a focus group methodology to understand the effect of the messages in these magazines from a reader's perspective. This methodology allows for discussion among participants to obtain a better understanding of their views on various issues (Parker & Tritter, 2006). The methodology that we applied is similar that used by Tiggemann, Gardiner, and Slater (2000). We then performed a narrative analysis of the focus group discussions using an inductive approach (Frith & Gleeson, 2004). Our aim was to answer the following research questions:

Research Question 1: Do teen magazines influence Turkish Cypriot adolescent girls' perception of ideal beauty? …

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