Collective identity and gender How do lifestyle magazines create a collective identity of gender? (of their readers and for their readers) We will be focusing on: Collective gender identity in lifestyle magazines: Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Nuts and men's health Using the adverts within the magazines as an example of the second media.
How do the adverts themselves reinforce a gender identity? In the exam you will have the choice of two questions: Question one will usually discuss: to what extent/ how far/ have an opinion or take a view Question two will usually discuss: explain how something operates/ explain/respond to a quote or a statement. Marking: Explanation/ analysis/argument (20 marks) Use of examples (20 marks)
Use of terminology (10 marks) Examples of questions Media and Collective Identity Discuss the contemporary representation of a nation, region or social group in the media, using specific textual examples from at least two media to support your answer. How far does the representation of a particular social group change over time ? Refer to at least two media in your answer.
Key questions to ask: How do the media form an identity for a group of people? What is the impact when that identity is negative? How do the media portray this identity as negative? Does the audience take the identity as a truth rather than recognise it as a stereotype? How does the dominant ideology/ collective identity spread? Are all the depictions in the media negative? Should collective identity exist in our modern world?
Prompt questions How do contemporary media represent nations regions and ethic/social/collective groups of people? How do contemporary representations compare to previous time periods What are the social implications of different media representations of groups of people? To what extent is human identity increasingly mediated? How media that are in public circulation now represent groups of people in different ways The effects in society of particular kinds of media representation of collective identities
Debates around the idea that our identities are increasingly constructed by or through or in response to the media (and arguments against this notion) So what is gender? Gender- It is important to understand gender as different from sexuality. Sexuality concerns physical and biological differences that distinguish males from females. Cultures construct differences in gender See gender handout http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIwWS2atEmc
&feature=related Anthony Giddens The mainstream and mass media have historically played a pivotal role in shaping how girls think and feel about their bodies, their lives and their ambitions. The creation of a coherent self-identity is a process that is universal (Giddens), Consumerism is one of the clearest ways in which we develop and project a lifestyle Key themes of Giddens
Gidden allows us to consider how people form their sense of self identity Anthony Giddens focuses on how we create and shape our identity in modern societies and how the media might feed into this. The fusion of individual actions and grand social forces in one theoretical approach (Structuration) The impact of late modernity where all activity is the subject of social reflection, on social actors, relationships and institutions Some other interests such as globalisation, the state and politics are less of an interest to us
Suggests that we understand rules of society even though they may not be written down or formally enforced, if people go against these social expectations, people may be shocked In terms of gender, this form of social reproduction When a boy wears make up, the punishments comes through in things like teasing- up holding what we expect to be the rules of society Women who choose not to shave their armpits may also be treated as deviants for ignoring a social convention about feminine appearance Peoples everyday actions therefore reinforce and reproduce a set of expectations and it is this set of other peoples expectations which make up the social forces and social structures (Macro) Society only has form and that form only has its effects on people
in so far as structure is produced and reproduced in what people do. He says that people have faith in the coherence of everyday life. We could say that this is why some men get angered when they see other men acting in an effeminate manner- This behaviour challenges their everyday understanding of how things should be in the world This suggests that gender is something that is learned and policed and which has to be constantly worked on and monitored The theory of structuration Human agency (micro level activity) and social structure (macro level forces) continuously feed into each other. The
social structure is reproduced through repetition of acts by individual people and can therefore change He notes that this theory suggests that social life is more random than individual acts but is not merely depicted by social forces. it is not merely a mass of micro acts but you cant understand it by just looking at the macro. Instead micro (human) and macro (social structure) are in a relationship with each other which reproduces the structure This means there is a social structure- traditions, institutions, moral codes and established ways of doing things, but it also means that these can be changed when people start to ignore them, replace them or reproduce them differently
Modernity? The word tradition comes from the Latin traditionem, acc. of traditio which means "handing over, passing on", and is used in a number of ways in the English language: Beliefs or customs taught by one generation to the next, often orally. For example, we can speak of the tradition of sending birth announcements. A set of customs or practices. For example, we can speak of Christmas traditions. Modernity typically denotes "a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period", in particular, one marked by progress from agrarianism via the rise of industrialism, capitalism, the nation-state, and its constituent forms of surveillance (Barker 2005, 444).
Conceptually, modernity is related to the modern era and to modernism, but is a discrete concept. I n context, modernity can denote association with cultural and intellectual movements occurred between 1436 and 1789 (for some thinkers until 1895), and extending to the 1970s, or later (Toulmin 1992, 35). Postmodernity (also spelled post-modernity or termed the postmodern condition) is generally used to describe the economic and/or cultural state or condition of society which is said to exist after modernity. This is the stage we are said to be in now When tradition dominates individual actions do not have to be analysed and thought about so much
because choices are already predescribed by traditions and customs In post traditional times (modernity) we dont really worry about the traditions from the past and options are at least as open the law and public opinion will allow. All questions of how to behave in society then becomes an issue of how we need have to consider and make decisions about. Modernity is post traditional. A society cant be fully modern if attitudes, actions or institutions are significantly influenced by traditions. He suggests that self identity is inescapable in a modern society
Feature of late modernity Gidden argues we are not in a time of post modernism, we are in a time of late modernity. Its modernity, just with bells on pre modern (traditional culture) modern (post traditional) culture post modern (extreme cases of fully developed modernity) The self is not something we are born with, and it is not fixed Instead, the self is reflexively made- thoughtfully constructed by the individual We all choose a lifestyle Relationships are increasingly like the pure relationship of equals, where everything has to be negotiated and there are no external reasons for being together
We accept that all knowledge is provisional and may be proved wrong in the future We need trust in everyday life and relationships or wed be paralysed by thoughts of unhappy possibilities We accept risks and choose possible future actions by anticipating outcomes. The media adds to our awareness of risks Anthony Giddens- Modernity and self identity Modernity and the self Change at every level Media and the self The reflexive project of the self
How would you sum up in Giddens points in terms of gender identity? Key ideas to reconsider: Ideology Semiotics Preferred/ secondary meanings Representation Macro Micro Uses and gratifications Diversion- escape from everyday life
Personal relationships Personal identity Surveillance Information/learning/personal identity/integration and social interaction/ entertainment Key terms Gender- It is important to understand gender as different from sexuality. Sexuality concerns physical and biological differences that distinguish males from females. Cultures
construct differences in gender Key terms Patriarchy- A male dominated order that expounds masculine values and excludes women from positions of power and authority it is a sociological way of saying that our civilization is pervasively patriarchal (men hold the power, women are secondary); which is based on bias in power based on the socially constructed concepts of gender rooted in historical premises. Patriarchy is a key concept in Marxist and socialist feminism from the biological (women are weaker) to the economic
(women provide domestic support for the working male, and/ or a cheap army of reserve labour) to the cultural (masculinity and traditional masculine skills are valued above femininity and traditionally female skills) Scopophilia- Pleasure of looking Stuart Hall Reception theory provides a means of understanding media texts by understanding how these texts are read by audiences. Theorists who analyze media through reception studies are concerned with the experience of cinema and television viewing for spectators, and how meaning is created through
that experience. An important concept of reception theory is that the media textthe individual movie or television programhas no inherent meaning in and of itself. Instead, meaning is created in the interaction between spectator and text; in other words, meaning is created as the viewer watches and processes the film. Reception theory argues that contextual factors, more than textual ones, influence the way the spectator views the film or television program. Stuart Hall http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=aTzMsPqssOY&feature=player_em bedded#at=63 See Staurt Hall handout Contextual factors include elements of the viewer's identity as well as circumstances of exhibition, the spectator's preconceived notions concerning the film or television program's genre and production, and even broad social, historical, and political issues. In short, reception theory places the viewer in context, taking into account all of the various factors that might influence how
she or he will read and create meaning from the text Stuart Halls Encoding/decoding model (1973) Suggest that a media producer may encode a certain meaning into their text which would be based on a certain social context and understandings but noted that when another person comes to consume that text, their decoding of it, based on their own social context and
assumptions, is likely to be somewhat different. Reception theory Reception theory- based on the idea that no text has one single meaning We decode the texts we encounter in individual ways David Morley- he said there are three main types of reading for any media text Dominant (hegemonic)- the reader shares the programmes codes and accepts the preferred reading Negotiated reading- the reader partly shares the programmes codes but modifies it in a way which
reflects their position and interests Oppositional (counter hegemonic) the reader does not share the programmes code and rejects the preferred reading bringing an alternative frame of interpretation e.g a feminist reading of a lads mag. Reception theory Focuses entirely on what users / consumers / audiences do with media texts Argues that meaning lies in the hands of the readers Elvis Costello You can only control what the words look like, not what they mean John Fiske audiences / consumers act as semiotic guerillas who configure their own meanings from the texts produced by media institutions
Consider how people can react differently to the same stimulus different people have different tastes in what is funny / disgusting , acceptable / unacceptable, as the recent furore about Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross shows Web 2.0 and the melting of the line between producers and audiences the age of YouTube and post-modern mash up culture and blogs and the antijournalists who work outside the system and outside the rules audiences are the masters now Thursday 11th To understand the concepts of Feminism To look at Judith Butler and gender trouble
To understand other key theorists Handouts- Judith Butler essay, Queer theory Chapter, Feminism chapter Feminism Feminist media theory can be described as an unconditional focus on analysing gender as a mechanism that structures material and symbolic worlds and our experiences of them First wave feminism- refers to early feminists including the suffrage movement that fought to secure the vote for women Second wave feminism 1960s including the women's movement which campaigned for equal rights in
employment, marital relationships and sexual orientationDuring this period, women wanted to challenge the dominant ideological definitions of femininity See handouts Judith Butler Argues that sex (Male/ female) is seen to cause gender (Masculine/ feminine) which is seen to cause desire towards the other gender. Her approach inspired partly by Foucault is basically to smash the supposed links between these so that gender and desire are flexible, free floating and not caused by other factors Butler says there is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender.identity is performitively constructed by the very expressions which are said to be its result . Gender is a
performance, its what you do, rather than who you are Argues that we all put on a gender performance, whether traditional or not. Her book gender trouble argues that gender identities are not fixed rather they are only given meaning when acted out or preformed. She shares Simone de Beauviours view that one is not born, but rather becomes a woman Judith Butler Developed Foucault's work on sexuality with her own original contribution. The acts by which gender is constituted bear similarities the per formative acts within theatrical contexts Gender is a performance and how it is performed constitutes what it means
to any given society or culture in a particular historical moment Although gender is a process of acting out rather than being, it is nevertheless subject to social norms and conditions which restrict the range of gender performances it is feasible for individuals to enact. Gender play is not free for all The way we view sex and gender is fundamental to the conventional roles attached to gender. She suggests that until sex differences are disregarded and people cease to be classed into either male or female, true equality is impossible. See Judith Butler essay Queer theory See handouts
What is Queer Theory? Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are. It suggests that it is meaningless to talk in general about 'women' or any other group, as identities consist of so many elements that to assume that people can be seen collectively on the basis of one shared characteristic is wrong. Indeed, it proposes that we deliberately challenge all notions of fixed identity, in varied and non-predictable ways. Queer theory is based, in part, on the work of Judith Butler (in particular her book Gender Trouble, 1990).
It is a mistake to think that queer theory is another name for lesbian and gay studies. Angela McRobbie McRobbie has suggested that teenage magazines construct a conservative ideology of femininity (looking at magazines like Jackie) Suggested that these magazines didnt allow the readers to act against patriarchal social order. Instead it promoted values of gentility and domesticity She said this was due to several issues The code of romance pervades most articles in the magazine especially in the short stories which showed
The girl has to fight to get and keep her man She can never trust another women unless she is old or ugly Despite these trials, being a girl and romance are fun (2000) She also suggests that there is a tendency to encourage readers to conform to the norm- what society expects The code of fashion and beauty Janice Winship Aspirational feminism advocated by women's magazines such as Cosmopolitan Says there is the ideology of individual success and competiveness in the magazines I rather than we
To both Winship and McRobbie, success means the achievement of romantic attachments rather than career or educational achievements Laura Mulvey- The male gaze Argued that the pleasures of cinema is Scopophilia- the pleasure of looking a voyeuristic gaze directed at other people. She also suggests that pleasure is gained by seeing oneself as the primary character and identifying with them. In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking is split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure which is styled accordingly.
Mulvey suggested that in their typical traditional exhibitionist role, women are simultaneously looked at and displayed with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-belooked-at-ness Male viewers identify with the male protagonist, and the females are the subject of their desiring gaze. It also means that the female viewers have to take on the viewpoint of the central male character so that women are denied a viewpoint and of their own and instead participate in the pleasure of men looking at women. The male gaze Female characters only have importance in the film apart from as an erotic figure both to the males in the film and the spectators in the cinema. Her role is to drive the hero to act the way he does. Male viewers would not
want the male hero as a sexual object according to the principles of the ruling ideology. He instead is meant to be admired as an ideal version of the self. Within her model, the audience, both female is positioned so that they admire the male lead for his actions and adopt his romantic/ erotic view of the women. This model denies the heterosexual female gaze altogether However it could be said Mulveys dark and suffocating anaylsis of patriarchal cinema has lost ground to a more confident and empowering approach which foregrounds the possibilities of subversive that is, non patriarchal modes of female spectatorship Using the magazine covers discuss:
How Laura Mulveys male gaze theory could be applied? Discuss the impact for the male and female reader if the male gaze theory is applied Using the three types of reading in reception theory, discuss what they readings for these front covers are. Fiske and audience power John Fiske suggests that popular culture is made by the people not produced by the culture industry. (1989) It is a step further from Stuart Halls encoding/decoding
model Fiske suggests the power of the audience to interpret media texts and determine their popularity, far outweighs the ability of media institutions to send a particular message or ideology to audiences within their texts He suggests that we cant even talk about the people or the audience because a singular mass of consumers does not exist; there is only a range of different individuals with their own changing tastes. He suggests that people are not merely consumers of texts, the audience rejects this role and becomes a producer, a producer of meanings and pleasures (1989) This is similar to the concept that WEB 2.0 is turning
audiences into producers of their own media. Fiske also says that everyday media users snatch aspects of the mass produced media and then (re)interpret them to suit their own preferred meanings. The text is a source from which the viewer activates meaning to make sense of their material existence He says that the meaning of a text is not complete until interpreted by an individual within the context of their lives He uses Madonna as an example in his work: he said Madonna's image then becomes a site of semiotic struggle between the forces of patriarchal control and feminine resistance.
He also says she contains the patriarchal meanings of feminine sexuality and the resisting ones that her sexuality is hers to use as she wishes Perhaps in terms of collective feminine identity, women are also shown this idea Foucault We often talk about people as if they have particular attributes as 'things' inside themselves -they have an identity, for example, and we believe that at the heart of a person there is a fixed and true identity or character (even if we're not sure that we know quite what that is, for a particular person). We assume that people have
an inner essence -- qualities beneath the surface which determine who that person really 'is'. We also say that some people have (different levels of) power which means that they are more (or less) able to achieve what they want in their relationships with others, and society as a whole. Foucault- constant changing ideas Foucault rejected this view. For Foucault, people do not have a 'real' identity within themselves; that's just a way of talking about the self -- a discourse. An 'identity' is communicated to others in your interactions with them, but this is not a
fixed thing within a person. It is a shifting, temporary construction. People do not 'have' power implicitly; rather, power is a technique or action which individuals can engage in. Power is not possessed; it is exercised. And where there is power, there is always also resistance. Foucault developed different approaches for his different studies, but his work can be simplistically divided into 'early' Foucault, where he worked on the ways in which state power and discourses worked to
constrain people 'later in which that idea of power as a 'thing' is broken down, and it is instead seen as a more fluid relation, a 'technique' which can be deployed. Althusser and Interpellation Althusser proposed that individuals are transformed into subjects through the ideological mechanism of interpellation (Chandler 181). He explained that interpellation works primarily through language and occurs when we are hailed by a message. To illustrate hailing in the most straight forward way,
Althusser offered the following example: when a policeman calls out, Hey, you there!, most people within hearing distance will immediately assume that they are the ones being summoned, even if they have done nothing wrong. This reaction positions the individual as a subject in relation to the general ideological codes of law and criminality (Brooker 122). Althusser believed that the dominant beliefs, values and practices that constitute ideology serve a political function. As we progress through the education system and enter the workforce, ideology works through state institutions to interpellate or construct us into particular subject positions in
which our work and lifestyle benefits those who control the processes of production (Smith 208). The subject positions which are most prevalent configure us in terms of commercial culture - as consumers, taxpayers, employees, automobile drivers, homeowners, or parents. For instance, come election time, politicians continuously address their audience in their speeches as voters or taxpayers, thereby referring to the subject positions which most benefit them in their capacity as political leaders. How do life style magazines construct a collective gender identity? Key questions to consider:
How do these magazines create a collective identity of gender for their readers What do these magazines say about the gender? How do they construct them? How do each of these magazines create gender for their readers and create gender of the opposite sex? Basically you will have so much information to help you answer the question! Key prompts from the specification How do contemporary media represent nations regions and ethic/social/collective groups of people?
How do contemporary representations compare to previous time periods What are the social implications of different media representations of groups of people? To what extent is human identity increasingly mediated? How media that are in public circulation now represent groups of people in different ways The effects in society of particular kinds of media representation of collective identities Debates around the idea that our identities are increasingly constructed by or through or in response to the media (and arguments against this notion)
What are the social implications of different media representations of groups of people? Stereotyping? What is the impact? What power does the audience have to resist? How do we measure the representations we encounter? (think theories) How do we measure up against the re-presentations we encounter? To what extent is human identity
increasingly mediated? Increasing media= increasingly mediated? Re-presentation by others and ourselves How do contemporary representations compare to previous time periods? Today- Sexualisation? Past- Patriarchal? Feminism? Similarities and differences
Use clear examples from the past Examples of questions Analyse the ways in which the media represent one group of people you have studied The media do not construct identity, they merely reflect it. Discuss Answering the question Know your case study Keep hunting out your own examples Adapt them to the question
Look at both sides of the argument Refer to critics/theorists Representations of gender in the past Gauntlett- Media, gender and identity Patriarchal ideas Women as the happy housewife heroine Women with careers as a masculinisation Working until marriage and children Fulfilling expected gender roles Male editors constructing the female identity
Magazines Clearly identifying the role for women Cosmo (past) Winship- inside women's magazine book-although feminist ideas, admitted that she enjoyed female magazines mixed messages to women, lack of consistent ideas Ideas always followed the norm- e.g hetrosexual relationships
Magazines and postmodernism Media theorists say that belonging to a collective group is a misrecognition Instead we should approach it in a triangular approach How does a magazine represent its own gender to another gender? How does it represent its own gender to the reader?
How does it represent the other gender to its reader? Postmodernism We are not considering the way that magazines are constructed is post modernism Instead we are considering whether a secondary audience might create post modern readings of these products Pick and mix our media, select how we form our identities in relation to the media Gauntlett- Need to be constructed and negotiated in a post traditional society/ Magazines allow readers to check is this ok?
Relavatism- A realist position nothing has any meaning anymore, people will create their own meaning. It would mean that there was no harm in making a gender specific statement in magazines- readers are given more credit than to just accept this idea- Pick and mix reader We can not assume that people are simply influenced A feminist perspective would view the way that men and womens Mags present women/female gender as: objects, decorative, subordinate. They might view the post modern ideas with concern as they may appear too relaxed David Gauntlett Women's magazines and female identities today
See chapter handouts What has Gauntlett suggested about magazines today? Women's magazines are of course, all about the social construction of womanhood today Gauntlett- Relationships pg 190 (past or present idea?) In general, womens magazines speak the language of popular feminismAssertive, seeking success in work and relationships and demanding the right to both equality and pleasure. Do you agree? The pick and mix reader pg 196 (as discussed in postmodernism and magazines slide Think about some research into real women and ask them about what they think about our key publications-What do they reveal about gender assumptions with women today. Womens magazines offer a confusing and contradictory set of ideas
Many of the messages are positive- Assertive, independent Looking beautiful, generally inescapable Overemphasising the power of the text and underestimating the ability of the reader However we could still be absorbing ideas about society (through the magazine) Some examples of feminism/ however contradicting ideas Looking at the magazines: Using Gauntletts chapter: key questions to ask Is the goal the same but the path different? Women as the ones doing the seeking? Are they showing that women should be in control? What articles reveal
this? Does this reflect a shift in power? Do they make us feel bad about ourselves?- unachievable goals?-What articles/adverts do this? Are magazines giving us the tools for emotional and physical health, only to break them down again? Contradicting ideas? What are they and what themes? Are there examples of positive and empowering articles? What are we using it for? Uses and gratifications- What would actually learn? Am I using it as a measuring tool for my own identity? Is it making me feel better/worse about my life? Do they promote feminism?
As a reader, what do we come away with? Identity The pleasure and perhaps sometimes a certain sadness of consuming these magazines, is the gap between the fantasy of self indulgent luxury and the more complex, grittier reality of my life Is there a difference between the reality and the fantasy of magazine life?
The ideal women Independent in attitude Attractive in looks Looking for/ have a man Career minded Sexy, beautiful, Intelligent, Superwoman Is she being presented as someone who is secure? Or are the magazines playing up to these insecurities? Oppositional readings Are they harmful? Do they make question every aspect of your life?
Are women creating unachievable, stereotyped, patriarchal ideas of what it means to be a woman? Women telling women how to be, yet claiming to be some kind of sisterhood- Cosmo factor- Women against other womenCompetitiveness, it is I not we (Winship) Creating contradicting ideas for ourselves We are led to believe men are very different from us, (Very stereotype) How does the magazine portray the male sex? Is it a patriarchal idea? Does it fulfil dominant ideologies of the male gender? Do they make women believe that they are better than men and that need looking after by us, but that we must not let men know this?
Makes men look emotionally immature and incapable? Cosmopolitan media pack What does the media pack reveal about the women who reads it (see media pack) Cosmo The word cosmopolitan means worldly and knowing. This carefully chosen title carries connotations and a mode of address which associates its readers and brand image with a modern and sophisticated lifestyle and image.
Sex is a popular sell line for The often large central image targeting both genders. On is carefully constructed to targetthe cover the word appears its often. market of fun, fearless Examples of sensational females in a number of language include the titles of feature articles displayed ways. The Model often has
such as Sex uncensored adopted a pose which is and a Chick Behaviour open and uninhibited, that Baffles the Hell Out signifying fearlessness of Guys. Additionally and confidence. there is striking use of Secondly the often smiling facialalliteration; the repetition expression and direct gaze of sounds such as the sss in at the reader communicates
sex and censored and the b sound in behaviour and a positive and fun attitude baffles makes the words to life. easier to skim read and remember. We will be focusing on: We will be discussing: The past The present
The future The essay will be mainly on the present but we must discuss the past and present at least once in the essay When I was born, they looked at me and said: 'What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy!' And when you were born, they looked at
you and said: 'What a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty girl!'" How the Media Define Masculinity Families, friends, teachers, and community leaders all play a role in helping boys define what it means to be a man. Mainstream media representations also play a role in reinforcing ideas about what it means to be a "real" man in our society. In most media portrayals, male characters are rewarded for self-control and the control of
others, aggression and violence, financial independence, and physical desirability. In 1999, Children Now, a California-based organization that examines the impact of media on children and youth, released a report entitled Boys to Men: Media Messages About Masculinity. The report argues that the medias portrayal of men tends to reinforce mens social dominance. The report observes that: the majority of male characters in media are heterosexual male characters are more often associated with the public sphere of work, rather than the private sphere of the home, and issues and problems related to work are more significant than personal issues
non-white male characters are more likely to experience personal problems and are more likely to use physical aggression or violence to solve those problems Children Now conclude that these dominant trends in the medias portrayal of men reinforce and support social attitudes that link masculinity to power, dominance and control. In Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity, Jackson Katz and Jeremy Earp argue that the media provide an important perspective on social attitudesand that while the media are not the cause of violent behaviour in men and boys, they do portray male violence as a normal expression of masculinity Men's Magazines and the
Construction of Masculinity Although most contemporary research on the portrayal of masculinity in the media has focused on violence, research has also begun to examine the portrayal of masculinity in mens magazines such as Playboy, Maxim, GQ, and Esquire. These magazines, which focus on matters such as health, fashion, sex, relationships, and lifestyle, play a part in defining what it means to be a modern man. Some critics argue that these magazines represent an improvement in media portrayals of gender since they focus on topics previously thought to be solely the concern of women. But others argue that such magazines still rely on stereotypical portrayals of men and masculinity, featuring handsome, white, well-built and well-dressed men, interested only in acquiring the finer things in life.
Media commentators argue that these magazines continue to relegate women to the background and, in doing so, are examples of social backlash directed against specific gains made by women in the paid labour force, mass media industries and other professions. They say that it is no coincidence that as women are achieving greater social, political and professional equality, these magazines symbolically relegate them to subordinate positions as sex objects. While magazines such as Playboy and Maxim are criticized for objectifying womens bodies, recent discussions about mens magazines are focusing on what these magazines say about men and masculinity. Academics argue that the recent popularity of these magazines is a reflection of mens uncertainty over the roles
they are expected to assume in society, at work, and in their relationships. In her 1983 discussion of Playboy, Barbara Ehrenreich notes when the magazine emerged in 1953, American men were beginning to feel constrained by the demands of marriage, work and fatherhood and Playboy unapologetically celebrated the bachelors lifestyle. She argues that Playboy painted an idealistic picture of the welleducated, confirmed bachelor who appreciates the finer things in life: wine, jazz, scotch, art, and women. Playboys success was built on its celebration of male independence from the domestic responsibilities of marriage and fatherhood. David gauntlett Male magazines and modern male identities
See chapter handouts Mens Magazines There is a need to investigate whether these new publications are in fact a progressive force in society. The term 'progressive' asks the question of whether these magazines have a positive influence over the readership -such as by helping men come to terms with their personal idea of what it means to be male in a world that is becoming increasingly feminized, or by providing advice on masculinity and introducing a desperately needed 'men only' orientated form of entertainment. On the other hand, these magazines may be a negative force in society as they are seen as being sexist, objectifying
women. Unlike women's magazines, which also feature women on the front cover, lads magazines usually have scantily clad or even naked women as their come on and many people believe, that despite being very successful, they are far from being a progressive force in society and are little more than an anti-feminist backlash. "While women become 'friends' with their magazines there is an inbuilt male resistance to the idea of a magazine that makes public and shares ideas about being a man. To men it is an unacceptable contradiction. Self-consciousness is permissible, even attractive, in a woman; it is perceived as
weak and unmanly in a man." (Campaign, 26/7/85: 37) Men's health "giving readers the thing they seem to crave but dare not admit: advice." This is certainly true in part. Increasingly these magazines seem designed not simply to celebrate masculinity, but also to shore it up. The endless 'how - to' articles on sexuality actually offer precious little advice, instead providing men with a great deal of hand holding. In the pages of a recent Men's Health, for example, one finds an article promising to explain the "Mysteries of the Breast. The piece is filled with extravagantly simpleminded -- even apologetic -- recitations of the obvious, gently nudging manly men into a vague recognition of their partner's needs, all
the while reassuring them that simple consideration isn't a sign of incipient sissiness. It may sound like a page straight out of a sensitive training manual, but the bottom line on the breast is simple: "Find out what your partner enjoys - and do it," writes Curt Presman, the author. Then to assure his readers that real women actually appreciate this novel technique, he quotes several. "Girls like guys who ask them what to do during sex," says Debbie a 21-year-old estate agent. Several paragraphs down, Presman finds another appreciative young woman who assures him that, "the more a man pays attention to my breasts, the better I feel about my body." Women as Sexual Objects Provocative images of women's partly clothed or naked bodies are especially prevalent in advertising. Shari Graydon, former president of Canadas MediaWatch, argues that womens bodies are sexualized in ads
in order to grab the viewers attention. Women become sexual objects when their bodies and their sexuality are linked to products that are bought and sold. Media activist Jean Kilbourne agrees. She notes that womens bodies are often dismembered into legs, breasts or thighs, reinforcing the message that women are objects rather than whole human beings. Although womens sexuality is no longer a taboo subject, many researchers question whether or not the blatant sexualization of womens bodies in the media is liberating. Laurie Abraham, executive editor of Elle magazine, warns that the biggest problem with womens magazines is "how much we lie about sex." Those "lies" continue to perpetuate the idea that womens sexuality is subservient to mens pleasure. In her study of Cosmopolitan and Playboy magazines, for example, Nicole Krassas found that both men and
womens magazines contain a single vision of female sexualitythat "women should primarily concern themselves with attracting and sexually satisfying men." The presence of misinformation and media stereotypes is disturbing, given research that indicates young people often turn to media for information about sex and sexuality. In 2003, David Buckingham and Sara Bragg reported that two-thirds of young people turn to media when they want to learn about sex - the same percentage of kids who ask their mothers for information and advice. Many researchers argue that the over-representation of thin women in mass media reinforces the conclusion that "physically attractive" and "sexually desirable" mean "thin."
Amy Malkins study of magazine covers reveals that messages about weight loss are often placed next to messages about men and relationships. Some of her examples: "Get the Body You Really Want" beside "How to Get Your Husband to Really Listen," and "Stay Skinny" paired with "What Men Really Want." The fascination with finding out what men really want also tends to keep female characters in film and television busy. Professor Nancy Signorielli reports that men are more likely than women to be shown "on the job" in movies and television shows. Female characters, on the other hand, are more likely to be seen dating, or talking about romance.
Advertising The second media ADVERTISING THE SECOND MEDIA Gender identity in magazine advertising It is important to note the significance of gender in advertising. According to Sut Jhally, gender is probably the social resource that is used most by advertisers [they] seem to be obsessed with gender and sexuality.' The reason for this is that 'gender is one of our deepest and most important traits as human beings. Our understanding of ourselves as either male or female is
the most important aspect of our definition of ourselves as individuals What better place to draw upon than an area of social behaviour that can be communicated almost instantly and which reaches into the very core of our definition as human beings?' (Jhally, 1987:135). Thus, advertising has become a central socialising agent for cultural values connected to gender. Masculinity and Advertising In its study of masculinity and sports media, the research group Children Now found that most commercials directed to male viewers tend to air during sports programming. Women rarely appear in these commercials, and when they do, theyre generally portrayed in stereotypical ways.
In fact, in his analysis of gender in advertising, author and University of North Texas professor Steve Craig argues that women tend to be presented as "rewards" for men who choose the right product. He describes such commercials as "narratives of playful escapades away from home and family." They operate, he says, at the level of fantasy presenting idealized portrayals of men and women. When he focused specifically on beer commercials, Craig found that the men were invariably "virile, slim and white" and the women always "eager for male companionship." Author and academic Susan Bordo (University of Kentucky) has also analyzed gender in advertising, and agrees that men are usually portrayed as virile, muscular and powerful. Their powerful bodies dominate space in the ads. For women, the focus is on slenderness, dieting, and attaining a feminine ideal; women are always presented as not just thin, but also weak and vulnerable. These critics and others suggest that just as traditional advertising has for decades
sexually objectified women and their bodies, todays marketing campaigns are objectifying men in the same way. A 2002 study by the University of Wisconsin suggests that this new focus on fit and muscled male bodies is causing men the same anxiety and personal insecurity that women have felt for decades. Determining the potential for 'genderfuck' in gender-ambivalent advertising imagery Genderfuck refers to the selfconscious effort to "fuck with" or play with traditional notions of gender identity, gender roles, and gender presentation.It falls under the umbrella of the transgender spectrum
The effect of unstable signifying practices in a libidinal (The psychic and emotional energy associated with instinctual biological drives: Sexual desire and manifestation of the sexual drive) Economy of multiple sexualities the destabilisation of gender as an analytical category, though it is not, necessarily, the signal of the end of gender the play of masculine and feminine on the body subverts the possibility of possessing a unified subject position. -- June L. Reich on Genderfuck'.
Since the mid-1990s, advertising has increasingly employed images in which the gender and sexual orientation of the subject(s) are markedly (and purposefully) ambiguous. As an ancillary to this, there are also a growing number of distinctly homosexual images - and these are far removed from depictions of the camp gay employed as the comic relief elsewhere in mainstream media. We need to consider how these depictions undermine conventional gender role stereotypes and the norm of heterosexuality that dominate advertising and the media at large.
Gender ambiguity The revival of the Women's Movement in the 1970s directed an onslaught of criticism towards post-war images in which women were 'usually shown as being subordinate, passive, submissive and marginal, performing a limited number of secondary and uninteresting tasks confined to their sexuality, their emotions and their domesticity' (Strinati, 1995:184). Subsequent to pressure placed by liberal feminists on the media and advertising industries, the more 'positive'
image of the independent 'New Woman' emerged, followed by the 'New Man' in the 1980s By way of semiology, and a consideration of the motives of advertising and consumer industries, feminist analysis of these representations in the early nineties, however, warned of their latent sexist meanings. We need to images that are now becoming prevalent in advertising. analysis of the progressive depictions of men and women (and androgyny) by advertisers. Androgyny is a term, which refers to the mixing of masculine and feminine characteristics,
And consider the role of the New Woman and New Man, and then from New Woman/Man to gender-ambivalent queer images. . In Images of Woman (1975), Millum analysed adverts in women's magazines by looking at the characteristics of three central elements in the images: props, setting and actors (1975:114). In his classic study Gender Advertisements (1976), Goffman analysed adverts that he had selected 'at will' from current popular magazines that were chosen on the basis that they appeared to delineate 'a discrete theme bearing on gender'. Goffman justifies his seemingly haphazard approach by discussing 'how pictures can and
can't be used in social analysis' claiming that 'themes that can be delineated through pictures have a very mixed ontological status and that any attempt to legislate as to the order of fact represented in these themes is likely to be optimistic.' Significantly for our purposes, he asserts that his study takes issue with two of three methodological questions: discovery and presentation, but not proof (1976:24). In as much as behaviour is the process of living life, the development of behaviour sets, which can be thought of as roles, may be employed for the purpose of simplifying the task: the idea was first
proposed by William James (1890). 'Some roles, James believed, we choose for ourselves ... Other roles are prescribed for us by virtue of our position in life'. The ideas of James have been further developed by a number of sociologists; notably Merton (1957), Mead (1934), Parsons (1951) and Goffman (1959). Goffman In The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Goffman's main contribution to the discussion concerns the analysis of
characterisation. His suggestion that the performer attempts to present an idealised version of the character (page 45) which reflects the values of society - since the notion of the ideal is one which is derived from society - is somewhat reminiscent of the Freudian concept of super-ego. Goffman suggests that belief in a particular role by an individual performer, is related to perceived reality. (page 28) Hence there is considerable importance attached to the clothing worn by the performer whilst in character, which primarily
serves to increase belief in the role. The wearing of an appropriate costume enables the character to be donned more readily which, in turn, contributes to the definition of the situation: 'the more the individual is concerned with the reality which is not available to perception, the more must he concentrate his attention on appearances.' (page 241) This aspect of 'appearance' is part of what Goffman identifies as 'front'; and, in performance terms, it is closely related to 'manner'. The appearance and manner of the performer serve to enrich the quality of performance, and
they will normally operate in harmony. 'We often expect, of course, a confirming consistency between appearance and manner'. (page 35) Front distinguishes between the public part of the performance and backstage, or off-stage, action which is still carried out within the scope of the role: it is 'that part of the performance which regularly functions in a general and fixed fashion to define the situation'. (page 32) It also encompasses 'setting'; the furniture and props that make up the set for a particular act. Non-verbal communication in the form of gestures which are made by the performer 'during the interaction' (page 40) serve to add a confirmatory
emphasis: Goffman uses the example of a baseball umpire who's body language is actually communicating his decision whilst he is in the act of processing the information upon which it is to be based. Related to this, there is a possibility of accidentally misleading an audience with unintended body language. For this reason, it is suggested, the performer keeps non-relevant gestures to a bare minimum. (page 59) Erving Goffmans perspective on advertisements is that they do not necessarily depict how men and women
actually behave, but that they are a good representation of the way we think they behave. Print advertisements, therefore, do not offer an exact snapshot of real life but instead offer a perspective on a certain aspect or aspects of life; they conventionalise our conventions, and stylise what is already a stylisation (Goffman, 1979: 84). Advertisements can be offensive, and not just in the most palpable way; by being openly crude and distasteful. They can also cause offence in more subtle ways; by portraying
men and women in stereotypical roles that suggest certain implications about their capabilities. Every culture has accepted routine forms which indicate how men and women are supposed to look, act, and relate to each other in a wide variety of social situations (Leiss, Kline & Jhally, 1986: 166). These norms, when represented in advertising reinforce certain stereotypes. The concept of stereotyping was coined by Walter Lippman, who refers to it as the guarantee of our self respect, value, position and rights; he goes on to state that stereotypes are highly charged with the feelings attached to them (in Dyer, 2002: 11). Betty Friedan studied the way in which women
were portrayed in the forties and fifties in womens magazines. She had previously found, in the late thirties, that women were portrayed (in advertisements) as autonomous heroines, but this representation had made way for the glorified housewife image by the forties. Friedan concluded that manufacturers had decided to make women better consumers of home products by reinforcing the concept of total fulfilment through the wholesome role of housewife and mother The advertisement has the tagline She has the recipe for
good citizenship, which puts forward the message that women should be accomplished in the kitchen in order to be successful, good citizens. The notion that, in advertising, manufacturers try to create an image that will maximise the sale of their product brings up the question of causality. This looks at whether advertising merely reflects reality, or directly influences and shapes reality by
providing role models. Goffman states that self-definition is guided and externally dominated; that advertisements try to convince us that this is how men and women are, want to be, or should be, in relation to themselves, and in relation to others in the arena of life (Goffman, 1979: vii). (Historical examples) Courtney and Lockeretzs report A Womans Place: An Analysis of the Roles Portrayed by Women in Print Advertising sampled various
advertisements from 1970, with specific regard to the number and sexes of the people appearing, their occupations and activities, and the types of products they were shown associated with (Courtney & Whipple, 1983: 10). Some of the most significant figures obtained from the research are: 45% of males were depicted as working outside of the home, compared with only 9% of women; of the 9% of women, 58% were entertainers, and the remainder were depicted in low-status jobs; no women were depicted as a high-level professional or executive. Courtney and Lockeretz found that women were portrayed as buyers of articles like cleaning aids and cosmetics, whereas men were shown to be buying important, expensive items such as cars, industrial goods and bank services. Some of the general
stereotypes encountered, therefore, were: a womans place is in the home, women do not make important decisions, and women are dependant on men for protection. Goffmans study His study sampled approximately five hundred print advertisements, with six major areas for analysis: relative size, the feminine touch, function ranking, the family, the ritualisation of subordination, and licensed withdrawal. In print advertisements, social weight, i.e. power, rank, authority, and renown is echoed expressively in social situations through relative size (Goffman, 1979: 28). More often than not, in advertisements depicting both men
and women, the man will be higher up in the picture (sometimes simply because of a superiority in height, but also because of the relative positions of both parties). This is one of the most obvious symbols of status and holds certain assumptions about the social standings of the subjects involved. Think about todays adverts and try to consider the future Figure 2 is an advertisement for an exercise aid, the Relax-a-cizor, and depicts an attractive (and scantily clad) woman at the feet of a toned (presumably because of the effects of
the product) man in a suggestive state of worship and awe. This advert not only suggests the social superiority of the man, but also highlights the passivity of the woman, who has done nothing but watched and swooned as the man has performed the executive role: the act of transforming himself. The principal aim of the advertisement is to induce the reader into purchasing the product by using the woman as a potential reward for using the product. This is a common technique used by
many advertisers to play on the fantasies of males; the fact that the woman is in a state of undress further serves as feature in the fantastical world the advert creates. The woman is, in effect, being used as a decoration. Goffman states that women, more than men, are pictured using their fingers and hands to delicately trace the outlines of an object, or cradle or caress it, thus demonstrating the
feminine touch. He asks us to distinguish this form of ritualistic touching from the utilitarian kind that grasps, holds, or manipulates (1979: 29). This picture is a good example of what Goffman is referring to because it depicts the contrast between the two kinds of aforementioned touching. As is evident in the picture,
the male hand is grasping or holding the object in a strong, firm manner, whereas the female hand is delicately caressing the male hand in a barely touching fashion. Goffmans study found that, in advertisements depicting both sexes, women were largely found to be portrayed in subordinate roles; whether
occupational or recreational. The man, it would seem, is likely to perform the executive role, in a hierarchy of functions (Goffman, 1979: 32). The picture is a good example of this because, even though the male is barely in the picture, he is no doubt performing the executive role (with regard to function ranking). The womans purpose is in the
advertisement is, once again, as a decoration The traditional images of how the sexes behaved did not come about by accident. Advertisements were based on characteristics of the sexes that had become conventions; figures prove that more men than women worked outside of the home for example. Goffman suggests that advertisements serve as a tool to implement stereotypes upon society in order to influence people into purchasing
certain products or services. Theories linking to the idea of genderfuck Role theory 'is based upon a theatrical metaphor in which all social behaviour is viewed as a kind of performance [people] behave in ways that are socially prescribed To be a man [or woman] is to play a certain role. Masculinity [and femininity] represents just a set of lines and stage direction which males [and females] have to learn to perform' (Edley &
Wetherall, 1996:100). Sex role theory was established in the 1930s when Terman & Miles (1936) claimed that masculinity and femininity have been constructed as two opposing types of 'personality'. Social learning theory accounts for how these sex roles are appropriated and internalised; men and women imitate others of the same sex (role models) and are consequently rewarded by society for their sex-appropriate acts, thus encouraging them to repeat this behaviour (conditioning and reinforcement). Role models are made available through 'socialising agents' which include the family, school and the media (see Gross,
1996:172-174, 587-589). Therefore, if in an advertisement, a young girl observes a conventionally beautiful woman being admired by men, she is likely to learn that to attract a man she must also make herself beautiful. The social constructedness of sex roles, and therefore their contingency, is the basis for queer theory. In Gender Trouble (1990), key queer theorist Judith Butler questions the 'compulsory order' between sex, gender and desire. Sex (male-female) is seen to form the basis of gender identity (masculine-feminine) - but as sex role theorists have established, all gender behaviour is socially constructed and 'performative'. Or as Butler puts it: 'Gender is always a doing, though not a doing by a
subject who might be said to preexist the deed There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender; that identity is performatively constituted by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results' (1999:33). The unity of sex and gender is maintained by its oppositional and binary nature; because 'one is one's gender to the extent that one is not the other gender,' masculinity and femininity differentiate themselves 'through an oppositional relation to that other gender it desires (ibid:30). Hence, heterosexuality is naturalised and rationalised. Butler also points to the notion of a pre-discursive (i.e. given) sex - that is, we can only choose between male or female:
'And what is "sex" anyway? Is it natural, anatomical, chromosomal, or hormonal, and how is a feminist critic to assess the scientific discourses which purport to establish such "facts" for us Is there a history of how the duality of sex was established, a genealogy that might expose the binary options as a variable construction? this construct called "sex" is as culturally constructed as gender' (ibid:10). Butler calls for 'variable constructions of identity' (ibid:9) to be made visible in order to subvert this genealogy; that is, anything that demonstrates the ambivalence of sex divisions, the unity of sex and gender, or the unity of sex and oppositional desire (i.e. homosexuality). It is this that genderambivalent and homosexual advertising imagery can be seen to do.
Use student hand out sheets Sexuality- What are the gender representations here? Male dominance over women? Lack of female identity? Sex object- Doesnt
even deserve a face He also looks very feminine Genderfuck? Sexually submissive or Sexual predator? Patriarchal views of femininity? Is this what society is telling us?