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Deconstructing a Cultural Icon: A Case Study of Gwen Stefani

Deconstructing a Cultural Icon: A Case Study of Gwen Stefani

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Published by Karen Woodward
Master's Thesis, Syracuse University June 2006
Master's Thesis, Syracuse University June 2006

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categoriesTypes, Research
Published by: Karen Woodward on Apr 22, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Deconstructing a cultural icon:A case study of Gwen StefaniKaren WoodwardSyracuse UniversityTHESISJune 2006
 Copyright 2006 Karen WoodwardAll rights reserved
 AbstractA textual analysis of singer Gwen Stefani, and in-depth fan interviews revealed that theway Stefani presents herself is often very different from how the press presents her andhow audiences receive her. First, Stefani is analyzed through textual analysis of magazines and television appearances. Analysis revealed that she presents herself as areal person who worked hard and got lucky. She attempts to convey that she is atraditional woman with feelings and a longing for family. The press focuses on her image, presenting her as either the girl-next-door, a tough chick, or, later in her career, asa glamorous icon. Next, fan interviews reveal various reasons why audiences like thesinger. Most importantly, fans have a love/hate relationship between the two incarnationsof Gwen Stefani: Stefani as she was when she first entered the mainstream (“old Gwen”)and Stefani as she is now (“new Gwen.”) Fans appeared suspicious of the press, anddetermined to make their own decisions. While Stefani, the press, and her managementteam/label have worked to create the iconic figure “Gwen Stefani,” fans don’t see her asan icon (yet). This thesis suggests that an icon should be someone who stands for something and sticks by her convictions, and that fans want to be treated with respect, notas consumers. I also suggest that society has become more interested in celebrity culturein general then in celebrities in particular, something worth further research. Futureresearch should include the role of social networking sites in creating stars and in musicconsumption.

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