Date of Award

5-2012

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

Advisor

Eric E. Peterson

Second Committee Member

Kristin M. Langellier

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Neiman

Abstract

Beginning as a black and white zine sold out of the back of a car, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture blossomed into a quarterly full-color magazine, website, and non-profit organization. With a focus on critiquing popular culture from a feminist standpoint, Bitch employs a diverse range of opinions and voices to engage a wide variety of readers. So, how do readers interact with and make meaning from Bitch? And, what does this say about Third Wave feminism? A phenomenological based qualitative thematic analysis of six feminist interviews with Bitch readers suggests that although the magazine is fun it also plays an important role in contemporary feminist identity and politics. Interviews resulted in 45 themes broken down into four meaningful clusters: The Social Connotations of the Word Bitch, Bitch in Academia, The Feminism of Bitch, and Spending Money. Interviews indicate that while engaging with Bitch these six readers built intimate relationships with the magazine and blog and consider it a representation of Third Wave Feminism. Regardless, there is an element of contradiction as well as similarity between opinions and experiences with Bitch, suggesting that the relationship that readers build with the publication is dynamic.

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