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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2013
Thesis number: 13497
Identity construction through women's magazines: A narrative life story approach
Author: Välimaa, Milla
Title: Identity construction through women's magazines: A narrative life story approach
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; viestintä; communication; media; media; aikakauslehdet; journals; naiset; women; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; tarina; narrative; identiteetti; identity
Pages: 77
Key terms: Consumer Research, Consumption, Identity, Narrative, Life-­Story Interview, Postmodern, Postpostmodern
Objective of the study: The objective of my study was to understand how consumers construct their identities through women's magazines. The fundamental idea was to recognize the meanings behind the identity construction and the differences between women of different ages. Furthermore the objective was to study what these reflections do to the women's magazine consumption, such as willingness towards long-term subscriptions. Existing consumer research has concentrated on possessions and their importance in one's identity construction. The goal of this study was to concentrate more precisely on women and to their consumption of women's magazines and also how women of different ages differ with their identity construction processes.

Research method: My research is a qualitative study. I did twelve life story interviews for women at different ages, in which the idea was to go through the whole life of these women. After that a narrative analysis was used to analyze the interviews. Narrative analysis gave me an opportunity to understand the whole life story of these women. I especially took a hermeneutic approach and therefore concentrated on to the deeper meanings behind of what the women were saying.

Findings: As I went their whole life story of these women through, the narrative approach helped me to clarify what the magazine consumption of women reflects of their identity construction. After doing the interviews and defining the commonalities in them I came up with five following themes; Turning points and identity conflicts, Escaping from the reality, Authority and credibility, Differentiation versus being part of the group and Comfort and stability versus willingness to try something new. I analyzed interviews based on these presented themes. With this analysis my study clarified that there are differences in how do women born at different ages construct their identities and express themselves through these magazines. Women born at the time of modern paradigm are used to tie themselves up to long-time commitments in everything they do, and this could be seen also in the way they consume women's magazines. Younger women, born at the time of postmodern paradigm see magazines and brands overall as permanent sites through which they experience and express the social world. They are also willing to change from an option to another, in case they feel that the magazine does not satisfy them anymore. In addition, youngest women, born at the time of postpostmodern paradigm treat brands and therefore women's magazines as one of the many cultural resources, which are important in their self-construction process. Especially they like to keep their options open and make the choices more on moment-by-moment basis. Overall, women's magazine consumption represents other values that they appreciate in their lives, and therefore these banding paradigms play an important matter.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.