Strike a pose: Gender and the public and private performance of magazine reading

Dana McKay, Michael B. Twidale, George Buchanan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The study of reading has a long history in the digital library community, but one issue that has been largely ignored is gender. Gender is known to play a significant role in the acquisition, reading and use of print material. However, there it is unknown to what degree the influence of reading norms carries into digital reading. In this paper we examine the differences in the readership of a variety of magazines, between their print and electronic editions. The results reveal that digital reading is, in general, less gender-conforming than print reading. However, it also appears that consumption of digital editions on mobile phones reverts towards the gender stereotypes found in print. Together, this data serves to demonstrate that digital library services, including search engines, should consider the risk of reinforcing gender stereotypes that occur when reading is a public performance, and entrenching those biases when reading is done privately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationJCDL 2020 - Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries in 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781450375856
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Event2020 ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, JCDL 2020 - Virtual, Online, China
Duration: Aug 1 2020Aug 5 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries
ISSN (Print)1552-5996


Conference2020 ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, JCDL 2020
CityVirtual, Online


  • Affordances
  • Digital reading
  • Gender
  • Magazines.
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering

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