Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

E-mail this page 1

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: The Textual Construction of Femininity in Women's Fitness Magazines Add Dissertation
Author: Tracy Rundstrom Williams Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Texas at Arlington, Department of Linguistics and TESOL
Completed in: 2007
Linguistic Subfield(s): Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics;
Director(s): Laurel Stvan
Donald Burquest
David Silva
Winnie Orr
Charla Markham Shaw

Abstract: Women in the first decade of the 21st century encounter competing
ideologies of traditional femininity and empowered femininity. Language, in
particular Discourse Analysis, provides a means for investigating what
these ideologies, or discourses, are and how they are perpetuated. One
source of language which encodes and perpetuates ideologies of femininity
is women's magazines. As pervasive, monthly texts directed specifically at
women, women's magazines provide a rich source of contemporary ideologies
of femininity. Given the rise of health and fitness magazines over the past
20 years, it appears that one primary focus of contemporary femininity is
the body. Previous research has found that the idealized female body today
– an extremely thin body – encodes traditional femininity in that it
represents social values of beauty, smallness, and others-orientation, but
it also encodes empowered femininity in that it represents will-power,
dedication, and strength.

Using one fitness instructional text from eight different women's fitness
magazines, an analysis of the rhetorical structure, clauses, and lexicon
demonstrates how these texts perpetuate a hybrid discourse which actually
integrates traditional and empowered femininity. This hybrid discourse
appears as a seamless combination of the two 'parent' discourses by placing
itself in the middle of a continuum between traditional femininity and
empowered femininity: emphasizing achievement but to a limited degree, and
celebrating beautification and objectification. The hybrid discourse also
supports a sociological trend of many women wanting to balance competing
demands of portraying highly valued but traditionally male traits while
still being seen as traditionally feminine.