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‘This Shot Can Save Your Life!’ (Or Can It?): Framing of the HPV Vaccine in Teen, Parenting, and Women’s Magazines
Unformatted Document Text:  ‘This Shot Can Save Your Life!’ (Or Can It?): Framing of the HPV Vaccine in Teen, Parenting, and Women’s Magazines The way parenting magazines framed the HPV vaccine was a complete reversal of the women’s magazines, as it began being cautiously positive, and discussing the vaccine as being “just another shot,” like the flu vaccine, and by 2010, the tone was more insistent, telling parents to go get the shot for their children now, overstating the HPV-cancer link, and oversimplifying the issue. Two of the teen magazines, CosmoGIRL! and Seventeen, began by relying on fear appeals, offering readers scary story after scary story about how HPV and cervical cancer would ruin a young girl’s life, therefore the reader must go out and get the HPV vaccine now. The vaccine was depicted as a cure-all and a medical miracle. CosmoGIRL! never mentioned the vaccine again after 2007, so this frame is the one that persists. Seventeen moved toward a more cautiously optimistic frame in late 2009 and 2010. The articles encouraged readers to talk to their doctors to find out if the vaccine was right for them, and that the vaccine wasn’t a cure-all after all. Of all the magazines in this sample, across all three genres, Teen Vogue offered the most complete, most evenhanded coverage of all the magazines studied. These articles were some of the only ones that even mentioned that there was any controversy over the vaccine, and though were positive about the potential for the vaccine, encouraged girls to think and/or ask their doctors for more information before making up their minds. The articles were extremely informative, relied on a variety of sources – both experts and teens – and never portrayed the HPV vaccine as a cure all. This cautious approach continued over the entire timeframe studied. Finally, across all three types of magazines, the frames of not getting the vaccine having “killer” consequences, the vaccine being depicted as mainstream, and that women who get HPV

Authors: Lepre, Carolyn.
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‘This Shot Can Save Your Life!’ (Or Can It?): Framing of the HPV Vaccine in Teen, Parenting, 
and Women’s Magazines
The way parenting magazines framed the HPV vaccine was a complete reversal of the 
women’s magazines, as it began being cautiously positive, and discussing the vaccine as being 
“just another shot,” like the flu vaccine, and by 2010, the tone was more insistent, telling parents 
to go get the shot for their children now, overstating the HPV-cancer link, and oversimplifying 
the issue.
Two of the teen magazines, CosmoGIRL! and Seventeen, began by relying on fear 
appeals, offering readers scary story after scary story about how HPV and cervical cancer would 
ruin a young girl’s life, therefore the reader must go out and get the HPV vaccine now. The 
vaccine was depicted as a cure-all and a medical miracle. CosmoGIRL! never mentioned the 
vaccine again after 2007, so this frame is the one that persists. Seventeen moved toward a more 
cautiously optimistic frame in late 2009 and 2010. The articles encouraged readers to talk to their 
doctors to find out if the vaccine was right for them, and that the vaccine wasn’t a cure-all after 
all.
Of all the magazines in this sample, across all three genres, Teen Vogue offered the most 
complete, most evenhanded coverage of all the magazines studied. These articles were some of 
the only ones that even mentioned that there was any controversy over the vaccine, and though 
were positive about the potential for the vaccine, encouraged girls to think and/or ask their 
doctors for more information before making up their minds. The articles were extremely 
informative, relied on a variety of sources – both experts and teens – and never portrayed the 
HPV vaccine as a cure all. This cautious approach continued over the entire timeframe studied. 
Finally, across all three types of magazines, the frames of not getting the vaccine having 
“killer” consequences, the vaccine being depicted as mainstream, and that women who get HPV 


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