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Standing out from the crowd : a study of frankie magazine, niche branding, and alternative femininities

Hunt, RJL (2017) Standing out from the crowd : a study of frankie magazine, niche branding, and alternative femininities. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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In the digital age, print media is said to be in decline. At the same time, the genre of
women’s magazines has been subject to escalating critique for its practices of
production and representation. In this context, an Australian ‘indie’ niche magazine
for young women has achieved remarkable success. Launched in 2004 by an
independent publisher, frankie magazine now has circulation figures that outdo
established glossy women’s titles such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue Australia. The
magazine has received multiple industry accolades, and in 2014 its publisher was sold
for a reported $10 million figure.
This thesis employs a combination of industry study and textual analysis in order to
examine frankie magazine’s success, which is notable when compared with other niche
titles. The thesis is concerned in particular with the gendered dimensions of the
magazine, given the focus in lifestyle magazine scholarship on gender as the central
‘problem’ of magazine texts. To this end, the thesis explores ways in which frankie
magazine and its production are discursively constructed in opposition to mainstream
women’s magazines, and identifies potentially subversive “gender manoeuvres”
(Schippers 2002) in the text. However, the analysis also highlights ways in which
frankie and its production can be thought of as distinctly ‘mainstream’.
The thesis argues that frankie has been successful because it balances an appealing
textual subversiveness with conventional production practices, thereby allowing it to
both signify an ‘alternative’ identity and occupy a lucrative position within the
mainstream market. This is significant because it suggests there is room for
subversiveness within a genre that has typically been thought of as inherently
conservative, and indicates that alternative representations of femininity can have
mainstream appeal. At the same time, this thesis demonstrates continuities between
frankie and the conventional women’s magazine industry, both in terms of production
practices and the pervasiveness of gendered representations in which white, middleclass
femininities are most visible. This thesis contributes an analysis of a
contemporary magazine and its production to the field of women’s magazine studies,
in which studies of the industry contexts and dynamics informing magazine texts have
previously been underrepresented.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Hunt, RJL
Keywords: magazines, gender, indie, femininities, frankie magazine, magazine industry
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 the Author

Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2017 21:02
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2017 21:02
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