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The decoding of menstruation management advertisements by post menarcheal female adolescents in the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu Natal.

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This dissertation seeks to explore the understanding of adolescent girls of sanitary pad advertisements. This study believes that advertisements are a form of social communication and can provide adolescent girls with a means to communicate about a topic that is often stigmatised. Menstruation is a natural occurrence that is highly policed by society and cultural norms. It is a taboo topic that is shrouded in secrecy. There are socioeconomic ramifications for the secrecy around menstruation. Using cultural studies offer a way for those who have been marginalised in a social and academic space to be researched. This qualitative study wanted to understand the interpretations of the adolescent girls to be understood in depth. The study used focus groups with adolescent girls from quintile five schools. The encoding/decoding model was used as an interpretive framework Hall, 2006; [1980]). It used Libresse and Always advertisements. Semiotics, as an interpretive tool is utilised to uncover the latent meanings o analysis (Fiske, 1990; Chandler, 2007. The results of this study show that menstruation is a taboo and stigmatised topic that requires more conversation in relaxed settings. The participants agreed with many of the dominant readings that are held by society and are encoded in the advertisements.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.