In this world of online media, social networking and blogs, teen magazines are still have a large presence (for example Seventeen’s circulation is still over 2 million). In the article Teen Magazines as Educational Texts on Dating Violence: The $2.99 Approach published in the journal Violence Against Women, authors Kettrey and Emery analyzed how teen magazines reported on dating violence, rape and domestic violence.
I am not surprised that the study’s content analysis found almost 95% of the articles used an individual frame focusing on individual behavior while only 65% of the articles recognized social factors (described as “societal attitudes, sexism, socialization, violence in the media, societal tolerance of violence, and poverty.”)
For dating violence and sexual violence prevention efforts, this study suggests that prevention not only provides information, but it also must help reframe dating violence as a social and cultural phenomenon. Kettrey and Emery recognize that these articles are often a resource teens use to find out about dating violence and suggest
…it is essential that educators, counselors, coaches, and other professionals who work with adolescents understand this and be prepared to deal with the content of those articles so that they can help adolescents construct more accurate meanings around the physical and sexual violence they may encounter in their dating relationships.
What we also need is media to frame the issues of dating violence and sexual violence from a social and cultural perspective. What examples have you seen that do this well?
Here is the abstract and details about the article:
Teen Magazines as Educational Texts on Dating Violence: The $2.99 Approach
Heather Hensman Kettrey and Beth C. Emery, Violence Against Women 16(11) 1270 –1294
Click here for a link to the article on the journal’s web site.
This study analyzed the portrayal of dating violence in teen magazines published in the United States. Such an investigation is important because previous research indicates that dating violence is a serious problem facing adolescents, teen magazines overemphasize the importance of romantic relationships, and teens who read this genre frequently or for education/advice are especially susceptible to its messages. Results indicated that although teen magazines do frame dating violence as a cultural problem, they are much more likely to utilize an individual frame that emphasizes the victim. Results were discussed as they apply to the responsibilities of professionals working with adolescents.