• Mass media theory and women's zines on the world wide web

      Wagaman, Jennifer Elaine (2000-08)
      Two mass media theories, 'Spiral of Silence theory' and 'Uses and Gratifications theory, ' have been used to explain and evaluate media usage from a feminist perspective. These theories both succeed and fail when used to analyze the World Wide Web as a mass medium. In order to effectively examine so-called 'fringe' groups and their publications on the Web, a new theory is needed that considers the more user-driven interface that the Internet and the World Wide Web provide for users. Using a modest case study of women's Web zines, (online underground magazines) this paper attempts to show how some young women use the World Wide Web to publish a different proportion of ideas and opinions than those currently available in the mainstream mass media, and goes on to show that the two current mass media theories used most by feminists are inadequate for the study of the World Wide Web as a mass medium. This paper takes into consideration historical theoretical approaches to the mass media, as well as the social constructionist principles important to looking at the media from a feminist point of view. Finally, it lays a framework of theoretical assumptions that should be considered when examining the Web as a mass medium.