Cynthia Ryan

Competing discourses and the female consumer: Implications for feminist composition theory, research, and pedagogy

Cynthia Ann Ryan

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 1998 pp: 291
  • Advisor: Lauer, Janice
  • Source: DAI-A 60/12, p. 4412, Jun 2000
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Women’s Studies (0453); Mass Communications (0708)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 304449230
  • ISBN: 0-599-56909-3
  • UMI Number: AAT 9953752


    • The purpose of the present study was to consider the consumption practices of twelve women, six diagnosed with breast cancer and six with little or no acquaintance with the disease, in response to competing messages about breast cancer and breast image located in popular women’s magazines. The researcher sought to discover what such behaviors might reveal about current constructions of the female as a student and as a teacher in the composition classroom, and to apply these findings to existing theoretical, investigative, and pedagogical frameworks. Two categories of consumption repertoires are presented from the study: identification repertoires, which illustrate the criteria that subjects elicited for relating to or rejecting specific representations; and activist repertoires, which suggest the criteria by which subjects determined whether to share these representations or to initiate discussions about them. These findings coincide with questions often asked by composition theorists, researchers, and teachers regarding how individuals make me from popular texts and the ways in which they carry ideas gathered through such sources to other communities of readers and writers. For feminist compositionists, in particular, this ethnographic study revealed the ways in which twelve women constructed themselves as readers, interpreted the texts provided, and positioned themselves as members of. a society in which competing discourses are regularly introduced.