Constructing girlhood: abject labour in magazine offices

Carolyn Hunter, Nina Kivinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Girls’ magazines act as important texts through which meanings of childhood, girlhood and womanhood are mediated and constructed. However, previous research has focused on either the conditions of work practices or cultural production of the magazine as a product. Separately in each context women or girls have been described as abject. The paper will argue that employees working on girls’ magazines experienced a simultaneous double abjection: in the gendered working practices and as an outcome of the construction of girlhood they produced. Two studies of all female teams producing teenage and pre-teen magazines were used including interviews and observations. Our approach engaged with the difficulty of examining abjectivity in working practices, as present but marginalised, silenced or othered. As a result of scrutinising the gendered embodiment in these studies, the findings suggest there is a relation between the working practices and gendered cultural production, forming a process of abjection. This process was threefold: a marginalisation of a particular gendered embodiment, the cracks or leaks where abjectivity became apparent and the silencing of those leaks. This study will be of value to scholars interested in gendered embodiment in workplaces, abjectivity and cultural production, noting the interrelation between these areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551–565
Number of pages15
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number6
Early online date9 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016, John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details. Embergoe period : 24 months


  • Abjection
  • work practices
  • Femininity
  • Magazines
  • Girlhood
  • abjection
  • femininity
  • girlhood
  • magazines

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