Constructing ideas of femininity: a contextual exploration of young girls’ advertising experiences

Morosi, F, 2014. Constructing ideas of femininity: a contextual exploration of young girls’ advertising experiences. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

The research explores how pre-adolescent girls interact with representations of femininity in advertising messages, through an in-depth, mixed-methods and mainly qualitative approach with a purposive sample of primary school girls (age 8-11). The study evolves through three major stages: preliminary, main and follow-up. In the preliminary stage, the use of questionnaire, group sessions and projective techniques provided standardised information about girls’ life context, body image, personality, media habits and their embodiment of femininity (N=37). In the main stage, two rounds of peer-to-peer phenomenological interviews prompted by adverts elicitation were used to gain insight into girls’ response and interaction with adverts (N=31 first round; N=21 second round). In the final stage 16 participants took part in follow-up interviews, for clarification and amplification of themes emerging from the analysis. The phenomenological interviewing provides insights into girls’ reception of adverts in their own terms and their own words, while the contextualisation of participants’ advertising experiences is able to illuminate on contextual factors affecting girls’ critical abilities towards ideals of femininity presented in advertising and other media. Through a process of triangulation and systematic focused comparison, the analysis reveals how girls’ response to idealised portrayals of femininity in adverts is deeply intertwined with their broader media consumption. The main emerging results indicate that there is a fundamental difference in the way different sub-groups of girls perceive and respond to representations of femininity in adverts and media. In particular, by grouping the girls according to their lower or higher embodiment of stereotypical femininity, the analysis suggests a correspondence between girls’ stance towards femininity portrayals in adverts and their actual embodiment of femininity. From the context of a group of girls who consistently displayed higher critical skills, positive body image and a more fluid and diverse embodiment of femininity,'the analysis seems also to suggest a 'protective’ or 'buffering' influence exerted by certain contextual factors which are mainly located within the family. The original contribution to knowledge of the study is not in providing definite conclusions about advertising effects, but a valid basis to comprehend participants’ interaction and negotiation with different media’s portrayals of femininity in view of their particular world and frame of reference.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Morosi, F.
Date: October 2014
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of Francesca Morosi. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights. © Francesca Morosi 2014.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 26 May 2016 11:06
Last Modified: 26 May 2016 11:06
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/27894

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