2014: Volume 7, Issue 2, pp. 5-21

Communicating Empowerment through Education: 
Learning about Women’s Health in Chatelaine

Heather McIntosh



To understand the ways in which Canadian women’s health knowledge is influenced by media texts, this paper explores the presentation of women’s health in Canada’s longest running women’s magazine, Chatelaine. Reflections on the positioning of women’s bodies in Canadian society are explored to understand the evolution of the discussion of women’s bodies throughout the 20th century. Perspectives on power, the body, and sexuality are traced to understand more recent discussions on women’s health in the Canadian public sphere. Feminist theorizing on the evolution and emergence of the modern female body in Western society is relied upon to obtain contemporary perspectives on women’s bodies and health. To study the ways in which such themes are presented in Chatelaine, a content analysis guided by frame theory is used to examine the ways in which Chatelaineframes information pertaining to women’s health from 1928 to 2010. Findings demonstrate Chatelaine’s growth in women’s health content, as evidenced in the increase in the volume of health content in the magazine and the sophistication and diversification of discussions on women’s bodies and wellness. It is suggested that Chatelaine’s dedication to the coverage of women’s health aids in the empowerment of women, as knowledge about their bodies and wellness is an essential tool necessary for bodily empowerment and female autonomy.


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