Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2007

Capstone Advisor

Anne Hettinger

Honors Reader

Melissa Chessher

Capstone Major

Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism

Capstone College

Public Communications

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Communication | Journalism Studies


The first women’s magazines date back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Throughout the years, they continue to advise, entertain, and give a voice to women. This paper examines one particular area: health journalism, an area that offers the potential for a substantial impact on readers’ health and lifestyle. This thesis explores the potential impact through interviewing the health editors and writers, as well as the readers themselves. The thesis also profiles a pioneer health writer, Barbara Seaman, whose decades of health writing for women’s magazines served as a catalyst for change on several critical women’s issues. Seaman’s work appeared in several influential publications directed at women, and these magazines emerged as advocates for women’s health at a historically important time—the 1960s-1970s—the beginning of the women’s movement. Overall, women’s magazines push for change and serve as advocates for women’s health, and this was especially true in that time period. The articles that ran in magazines helped sway society on two specific issues: choice in breast cancer surgery and the option of having fathers in the delivery room. Today, magazines include articles on just about every aspect of health: from anxiety disorders to exercise advice. This thesis examines the six issues that pertain to women’s health that women’s magazines helped define and promote: menopause, drugs/pharmaceuticals, sex, diet/nutrition, cigarette smoking, and parenting. Readers take magazines seriously and rely on them to provide accurate and useful health information. Therefore, a cohesive code of ethics for this area was formulated and included in the conclusion.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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