There are many possible sources for youth to become educated about sexuality and reproduction, however the media are cited as particularly powerful and prominent sources of information (Jaworski, 2009). Particularly in an era in which abstinence-only messaging dominates sex education, media become a source to which young people turn and where they receive much of their sex-based messaging. Due to backlash over problematic content that perpetuates gender stereotypes and relays harmful messages about sex and sexuality, some magazines, including Teen Vogue, have attempted to shift towards more feminist-minded content (Keller, 2011, Milkie, 2002). This study is a qualitative critical feminist media analysis that examined the framing of sex, sexuality, and reproduction content in a sample of 60 Teen Vogue articles, an online publication that targets adolescents and young adults. The analysis revealed that overall, articles conveyed positive representations of sexuality, advocating for affirming and evidence-based sex education, self-empowerment through knowledge, and comprehensive reproductive healthcare for all. However, contradictory frames of sex stigmatization and a reproductive rights framework that advocates primarily for abortion rights were still highly prevalent in the data. Considering media is a significant component of the sexual socialization of youth, Sex Positive framing of sexuality which prioritizes pleasure, healthy relationships and sexual dynamics, and inclusive and affirmative sex education helps to create new narratives in media concerning how sex is viewed. These messages may have positive impacts by creating healthier sexual scripts and becoming dominant narratives in the future. However, articles in the data also utilized fear-mongering tactics that are notoriously used in abstinence-only sex education. These messages aid in further stigmatizing young people not only for having sex but also for not being informed of the potential associated risks, creating a harmful paradox that may counteract the goals of sexual health and sex positivity. Additionally, reproductive rights and reproductive justice messaging and the presentation of policy updates relevant to young readers has the potential to inform and socialize young people to be better informed about sex and sexuality, which may, in turn, lead to greater sexual empowerment. Such messaging may also empower youth activists in a time of political turmoil, connecting teen readers to what is going on around them, and providing concrete actions they can take to create political change.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Londono, Estefany, "Repro, But Make It Fashion: Discourses on Sex, Sexuality, and Reproduction in Teen Vogue Magazine" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6798.