Research Student: Elizabeth Lovegrove

Research Topic

How did readers and producers of twentieth-century magazines for teenage girls negotiate the nature of girlhood?


Elizabeth Lovegrove’s research project will explore the relationship between the producers (writers, editors, publishers) of twentieth-century magazines for teenage girls, and the readers of those magazines. The thesis will argue that the magazines are a key site of negotiation in the developing issues of twentieth-century girlhood (such as issues around work, education, suffrage, sex, body image, relationships) and the rights and freedoms for girls which increased as the century progressed.
The project will pay particular attention to the contributions made by readers to these magazines, treating girls not merely as passive recipients of messages peddled by their magazines, but as active participants, engaged in negotiating the meaning of girlhood, and using their relationship with their magazines as one way to work through the issues and contradictions of their own lives. The research will identify and analyse case studies to produce a composite picture of the relationship between readers and producers of twentieth-century teenage girls’ magazines, the way that the key debates of girlhood are played out within that relationship, and the way this changed across the course of the century.

This study will offer a new angle on feminist struggles throughout the twentieth century: while the academy, the mainstream (adult, often male-focused) press, and other social institutions argued about issues, teenage girls negotiated the same issues in their own lives, and they did so partly through the pages of their magazines. Their voices are often absent both from the debate at the time and from current writing; my research hopes to redress this. By shedding new light on the teenage experience of the twenty-first century woman, and on the increasing freedoms which form the basis of the position of women and girls in today’s society, this research will have contemporary, as well as historical, relevance.

Research interests

  • Nineteenth- and twentieth-century girls’ magazines
  • Amateur online publishing
  • Newspaper and magazine portrayals of gender (especially via linguistic choices)
  • Feminist history
  • Pop culture

Academic and other activities

  • Online course tutor, learning technologist and web editor, Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, 2002 - present
  • MSt Women’s Studies, University of Oxford, 2010
  • Member of organising committee, ‘Women’s liberation movement @ 40’ conference, Ruskin College, 2010
  • BA(Hons) English Language and Linguistics with Combined Studies (‘Changing society: print and internet’), Oxford Brookes University, 2008


  • U65032 ‘Cultures of publishing’, seminar leader and lecturer
  • ‘Teaching international students’, online course tutor
  • ‘Introduction to webwriting with Dreamweaver’, staff development trainer


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Supervisor: Leander Reeves, Dr Jane Potter,

Posted on 01 Jun 2011

Filed Under Publishing