The present dissertation constitutes a critical analysis of the discourse of the beauty myth which manifests itself in the Cosmopolitan ideology. The linguistic analysis was conducted on a sample of the above-mentioned discourse, realised by daily horoscopes of the Cosmopolitan magazine. These Cosmopolitan horoscopes constitute a research material in the thesis.
The aim of the work is the study of discourse and the beauty myth understood as a compilation of false convictions concerning femininity, social roles of women, their identity and sexuality. The essential assumption in the research is that myth is a type of speech and, therefore, a discursive phenomenon, and that it persuasively shapes and reinforces the socio-cultural-linguistic image of women and femininity in order to fulfil the expectations and requirements of contemporary consumer reality embedded in patriarchal culture.
The work consisting of theoretical background, a research part and conclusions has been divided into eight chapters, preceded by Introduction presenting fundamental aims and the scope of the research.
Chapter 1 concerns discourse analysis and presents horoscope as a genre representing the discourse of the beauty myth.
Chapter 2 describes myth as a discourse phenomenon, attempts at defining the concept of myth and discusses the mechanism of its functioning.
Chapter 3 presents the linguistic-cultural picture of the contemporary woman and the woman-body-identity relation as approached from the feminist perspective. It also explains the beauty myth phenomenon in contemporary consumer society.
Chapter 4 includes the characteristics of the research, outlines aims and the methodology of the analyses conducted in the work, it also explains the reasons for applying Cosmopolitan horoscopes as a research sample.
Chapter 5 reveals the discursive dimension of the beauty myth. The analysis embraces a qualitative and quantitative study of the texts in question. Different aspects of discourse, such as discourse community and context have also been discussed here. Furthermore, the
chapter presents lexical, syntactic and compositional manifestations of the language of success in the corpus.
Chapter 6 focuses on the axiological dimension of the discourse of the beauty myth and is an attempt at explaining the mechanism of this phenomenon. To an extent, the chapter is simultaneously a critical consideration of the beauty myth, although the actual criticism of the discourse is included in the last chapter.
Chapter 7 is an attempt to create a prototypical Cosmopolitan horoscope. This specific summary of the research is simultaneously an introduction to the author’s own interpretation of the mechanism of the beauty myth.
Chapter 8 constitutes the summary of the dissertation and includes conclusions which indicate the presence of the beauty myth in the discourse represented by Cosmopolitan ideology, and realised through horoscopical texts and the context in which they are embedded. The discourse of the beauty myth is critically approached due to its detrimental influence on the socio-cultural construction of female identity in contemporary patriarchal culture dominated by consumerism, and targeted at financial benefits and the maintenance of particular power relations.
Lastly, the dissertation includes Bibliography, Index of tables, Index of figures and Appendix.