När hen blev en han

En studie av heteronormen i tidningen Frida åren 2004 och 2014

This study explores the heteronormativity of the Swedish teen magazine Frida. Since the year of 1981, the magazine is on a mission to guide teenage girls through adolescence. The magazine is filled with celebrity gossip and fashion tips, but it also has a more serious approach when it writes about sex and STDs. It is keen on giving advice on how to manage your relations with your friends and your partner. Frida describes itself like a fun, yet responsible older sister. But how does this older sister talk about sexual orientation and how well is this magazine suited for those young girls who don’t find themselves taking a romantic interest in guys? The purpose of this study is to reveal who Frida presents as a possible sex and/or love partner for their young readers and what sexual norm the magazine produces. The theoretical framework is queer theory, gender theory and theories of representation. We carried out a quantative content analysis on all of the articles under the relation section from the years 2004 and 2014. This analysis shows that Frida has changed the pronuon in the articles that is about relations and sex between the years. In 2004 the partner is almost always a he, but in 2014 they’ve changed the pronoun to the gender-neutral hen. Does this mean that Frida has stopped writing in a heteronormative way? To fully comprehend this turn to the gender-neutral way of writing, we carried out a qualitative text analysis on some of the articles in the quantative study. We strategically selected articles from both years that we found representative and/or interesting from a queer-theoretic perspective. This qualitative analysis, performed with a semiotic approach, unraveled that a heterosexual norm is still prevailing, despite the use of the gender-neutral pronoun. In 2014 the heteronormativity is produced in the images, since the images, with a few exceptations, portrayes heterosexuality; young girls and boys holding hands, smiling at each other or cuddling in bed. Both years have in common this invisibility of other sexualities than the heterosexual one; in 2004 the obscuring of homosexuality is done by almost never talking about the female sex as a possible sex or love partner and by assuming that the reader takes romantic interest in guys; in 2014 the obscuring is done by letting the gender-neutral texts being accompanied by images portraying heterosexuality. Since text and image is not read separately, but together, the gender-neutral use of the pronuon does not challenge the heteronormativity, rather it turns the gender neutral hen back into a he. This study shows that Frida still promotes heterosexuality as the normal sexuality and the others as deviating from this norm. When the magazine writes about homo- and bisexuality it is from the heterosexual’s point of view. This study finds that Frida is trying to be open minded about different sexual orientations, but rarely lets the homosexual reader comprehend her sexuality as something that is not deviating from the norm.

Hanna Gisslén, Emma Nilsson och Elinor Strand
Journalist, Journalistikgranskning , ht15
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