Collective gender identity in lifestyle magazines:Glamour, Cosmopolitan, loaded and mens health Using the adverts within the magazines as an example of thesecond media. We will also look at how TV adverts create a collectiveidentity of gender How do the adverts themselves reinforce a gender identity? We will also be looking at the collective identity of gender inmusic videos
Consider the media as a whole, whatidentity (or at this stage stereotypes)does it suggest for the different genders?
The concept of a collective identity refers to a set ofindividuals sense of belonging to the group or collective. For the individual, the identity derived from the collectiveshapes a part of his or her personal identity. It is possible, at times, that this sense of belonging to aparticular group will be so strong that it will trump otheraspects of the persons personal identity. To put it another way, Collective Identity is the idea thatthrough participating in social activities, individuals can gaina sense of belonging and in essence an "identity" thattranscends the individual. Therein are the rewards and risks of Social Networking. Onecan derive great satisfaction and sometimes great risks fromparticipating. Within a typical collective, agreement is oftenvalued over debate, though even more often fierce battlesmay erupt.
Question one will usually discuss: to whatextent/ how far/ have an opinion or take aview Question two will usually discuss: explain howsomething operates/ explain/respond to aquote or a statement.Marking: Explanation/ analysis/argument (20 marks) • Use of examples (20 marks) • Use of terminology (10 marks)
Media and Collective Identity Discuss the contemporary representationof a nation, region or social group in themedia, using specific textual examples fromat least two media to support your answer. How far does the representation of aparticular social group change over time ?Refer to at least two media in your answer.
How do the media form an identity for a group ofpeople? What is the impact when that identity isnegative? How do the media portray this identity asnegative? Does the audience take the identity as a truthrather than recognise it as a stereotype? How does the dominant ideology/ collectiveidentity spread? Are all the depictions in the media negative? Should collective identity exist in our modernworld?
How do contemporary media represent nationsregions and ethic/social/collective groups ofpeople? How do contemporary representations compareto previous time periods What are the social implications of differentmedia representations of groups of people? To what extent is human identity increasinglymediated? How media that are in public circulation nowrepresent groups of people in different ways The effects in society of particular kinds of mediarepresentation of collective identities Debates around the idea that our identities areincreasingly constructed by or through or inresponse to the media (and arguments againstthis notion)
Gender- It is important to understand gender asdifferent from sexuality. Sexuality concerns physicaland biological differences that distinguish malesfrom females. Cultures construct differences ingenderSee gender handout http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIwWS2atEmc&feature=related
The mainstream and mass media havehistorically played a pivotal role in shapinghow girls think and feel about theirbodies, their lives and their ambitions. Thecreation of a coherent self-identity is aprocess that is universal (Giddens), Consumerism is one of the clearest ways inwhich we develop and project a lifestyle
Gidden allows us to consider how people formtheir sense of self identity Anthony Giddens focuses on how we create andshape our identity in modern societies and how themedia might feed into this. The fusion of individual actions and grand socialforces in one theoretical approach (Structuration) The impact of late modernity where all activity isthe subject of social reflection, on social actors,relationships and institutions Some other interests such as globalisation, the stateand politics are less of an interest to us
Suggests that we understand rules of society even thoughthey may not be written down or formally enforced, ifpeople go against these social expectations, people maybe shocked In terms of gender, this form of social reproduction – When aboy wears make up, the punishments comes through inthings like teasing- up holding what we expect to be therules of society Women who choose not to shave their armpits may also betreated as deviants for ignoring a social convention aboutfeminine appearance Peoples everyday actions therefore reinforce andreproduce a set of expectations and it is this set of otherpeoples expectations which make up the social forces andsocial structures (Macro) ―Society only has form and that form only has its effects onpeople in so far as structure is produced and reproduced inwhat people do. He says that people have faith in the coherence ofeveryday life. We could say that this is why some men getangered when they see other men acting in an effeminatemanner- This behaviour challenges their everydayunderstanding of how things should be in the world This suggests that gender is something that is learned and
Human agency (micro level activity) and social structure(macro level forces) continuously feed into each other. Thesocial structure is reproduced through repetition of acts byindividual people and can therefore change He notes that this theory suggests that social life is morerandom than individual acts but is not merely depicted bysocial forces. – it is not merely a mass of micro acts but youcant understand it by just looking at the macro. Instead micro(human) and macro (social structure) are in a relationshipwith 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 alsomeans that these can be changed when people start toignore them, replace them or reproduce them differently
The word tradition comes from the Latin traditionem, acc. of traditiowhich means "handing over, passing on", and is used in a number ofways 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 birthannouncements. A set of customs or practices. For example, we canspeak of Christmas traditions. Modernity typically denotes "a post-traditional, post-medievalhistorical period", in particular, one marked by progress fromagrarianism 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 tomodernism, but is a discrete concept. I n context, modernity can denote association with cultural andintellectual movements occurred between 1436 and 1789 (for somethinkers until 1895), and extending to the 1970s, or later (Toulmin1992, 3–5). Postmodernity (also spelled post-modernity or termed thepostmodern condition) is generally used to describe the economicand/or cultural state or condition of society which is said to existafter modernity. This is the stage we are said to be in now
When tradition dominates individual actionsdo not have to be analysed and thoughtabout so much because choices are alreadypredescribed by traditions and customs In post traditional times (modernity) we don‘treally worry about the traditions from the pastand options are at least as open the law andpublic opinion will allow. All questions of howto behave in society then becomes an issueof how we need have to consider and makedecisions about. Modernity is post traditional. A society cantbe fully modern if attitudes, actions orinstitutions are significantly influenced bytraditions. He suggests that self identity is inescapable ina modern society
Gidden argues we are not in a time of post modernism, we are in atime 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 theindividual We all choose a lifestyle Relationships are increasingly like the pure relationship ofequals, where everything has to be negotiated and there are noexternal reasons for being together We accept that all knowledge is provisional and may be provedwrong in the future We need trust in everyday life and relationships or we‘d beparalysed by thoughts of unhappy possibilities We accept risks and choose possible future actions by anticipatingoutcomes. The media adds to our awareness of risks
Modernity and the self Change at every level Media and the self The reflexive project of the selfHow would you sum up in Giddens points interms of gender identity?
Diversion- escape from everyday life Personal relationships Personal identity Surveillance Information/learning/personalidentity/integration and socialinteraction/ entertainment
Gender- It is important to understandgender as different from sexuality.Sexuality concerns physical andbiological differences that distinguishmales from females. Cultures constructdifferences in gender
Patriarchy- A male dominated order that expoundsmasculine values and excludes women from positions ofpower and authority it is a sociological way of saying that our civilization ispervasively patriarchal (men hold the power, women aresecondary); which is based on bias in power based on thesocially constructed concepts of gender rooted in historicalpremises. 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 abovefemininity and traditionally female skills) Scopophilia- Pleasure of looking
Reception theory provides a means of understandingmedia texts by understanding how these texts areread by audiences. Theorists who analyze media through receptionstudies are concerned with the experience of cinemaand television viewing for spectators, and howmeaning is created through that experience. An important concept of reception theory is that themedia text—the individual movie or televisionprogram—has no inherent meaning in and of itself.Instead, meaning is created in the interactionbetween spectator and text; in other words, meaningis created as the viewer watches and processes thefilm. Reception theory argues that contextual factors, morethan textual ones, influence the way the spectatorviews the film or television program.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTzMsPqssOY&feature=player_embedded#at=63 See Staurt Hall handout
Contextual factors include elements of theviewers identity as well as circumstances ofexhibition, the spectators preconceivednotions concerning the film or televisionprograms genre and production, and evenbroad social, historical, and political issues.In short, reception theory places the viewerin context, taking into account all of thevarious factors that might influence how sheor he will read and create meaning fromthe text
Suggest that a media producer may‗encode‘ a certain meaning into theirtext which would be based on a certainsocial context and understandings butnoted that when another person comesto consume that text, their ‗decoding‘ ofit, based on their own social context andassumptions, is likely to be somewhatdifferent.
Reception theory- based on the idea that notext has one single meaning We decode the texts we encounter inindividual ways David Morley- he said there are three maintypes of reading for any media text Dominant (hegemonic)- the reader sharesthe programmes codes and accepts thepreferred reading Negotiated reading- the reader partly sharesthe programmes codes but modifies it in away which reflects their position and interests Oppositional (counter hegemonic) thereader does not share the programmes codeand rejects the preferred reading bringing analternative frame of interpretation e.g afeminist reading of a lads mag.
Focuses entirely on what users / consumers / audiences do withmedia texts Argues that meaning lies in the hands of the readers Elvis Costello – ‗You can only control what the words look like, notwhat they mean‘ John Fiske – audiences / consumers act as ‗semiotic guerillas‘ whoconfigure their own meanings from the texts produced by mediainstitutions 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 RussellBrand and Jonathan Ross shows… Web 2.0 and the melting of the line between producers andaudiences – the age of YouTube and post-modern ‗mash up‘culture and blogs and the ‗anti-journalists‘ who work outside thesystem and outside the rules – audiences are the masters now
To understand the concepts of Feminism To look at Judith Butler and gendertrouble To understand other key theorists Handouts- Judith Butler essay, Queertheory Chapter, Feminism chapter
Feminist media theory can be described as ―anunconditional focus on analysing gender as a mechanismthat structures material and symbolic worlds and ourexperiences of them First wave feminism- refers to early feminists including thesuffrage movement that fought to secure the vote for women Second wave feminism – 1960‘s including the womensmovement which campaigned for equal rights inemployment, marital relationships and sexual orientation-During this period, women wanted to challenge thedominant ideological definitions of femininity See handouts
Argues that sex (Male/ female) is seen to cause gender(Masculine/feminine) which is seen to cause desire towards theother gender. Her approach inspired partly by Foucault is basicallyto smash the supposed links between these so that gender anddesire are flexible, free floating and not caused by other factors Butler says ― there is no gender identity behind the expressions ofgender….identity is performitively constructed by the very‗expressions‘ which are said to be its result . Gender is aperformance, its what you do, rather than who you are Argues that we all put on a gender performance, whethertraditional or not. Her book gender trouble argues that gender identities are not fixedrather they are only given meaning when acted out or preformed. She shares Simone de Beauviours view that one is not born, butrather becomes a woman
Developed Foucaults work on sexuality with her own original contribution. The acts by which gender is constituted bear similarities the per formativeacts within theatrical contexts Gender is a performance and how it is performed constitutes what it meansto any given society or culture in a particular historical moment Although gender is a process of acting out rather than being, it isnevertheless subject to social norms and conditions which restrict the rangeof 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 rolesattached to gender. She suggests that until sex differences are disregardedand people cease to be classed into either male or female, true equality isimpossible. See Judith Butler essay
What is Queer Theory? Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea thatidentities are not fixed and do not determine who we are. Itsuggests that it is meaningless to talk in general aboutwomen or any other group, as identities consist of so manyelements that to assume that people can be seencollectively on the basis of one shared characteristic iswrong. Indeed, it proposes that we deliberately challenge allnotions of fixed identity, in varied and non-predictable ways. Queer theory is based, in part,on the work of Judith Butler(in particular her bookGender Trouble, 1990). It is a mistake to think that queer theory is another name forlesbian and gay studies.
McRobbie has suggested that teenage magazines constructa conservative ideology of femininity (looking at magazineslike Jackie) Suggested that these magazines didn‘t allow the readers toact against patriarchal social order. Instead it promotedvalues of gentility and domesticity She said this was due to several issues The code of romance pervades most articles in the magazineespecially 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 encouragereaders to conform to the norm- what society expects The code of fashion and beauty
Aspirational feminism advocated bywomens magazines such as Cosmopolitan Says there is the ideology of individualsuccess and competiveness in themagazines ―I‖ rather than ―we‖ To both Winship and McRobbie, successmeans the achievement of romanticattachments rather than career oreducational achievements
Argued that the pleasures of cinema is Scopophilia- the pleasure oflooking a voyeuristic gaze directed at other people. She alsosuggests that pleasure is gained by seeing oneself as the primarycharacter and identifying with them. In a world ordered by sexual imbalance, pleasure in looking is splitbetween active/male and passive/female. The determining malegaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure which is styledaccordingly. Mulvey suggested that in their typical traditional exhibitionistrole, women are simultaneously looked at and displayed with theirappearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that theycan be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness Male viewers identify with the male protagonist, and the femalesare the subject of their desiring gaze. It also means that the female viewers have to take on the viewpointof the central male character so that women are denied aviewpoint and of their own and instead participate in the pleasureof men looking at women.
Female characters only have importance in the film apart from as an eroticfigure 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 notwant the male hero as a sexual object according to the principles of theruling 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 theyadmire the male lead for his actions and adopt his romantic/ erotic view ofthe women. This model denies the heterosexual female gaze altogetherHowever it could be said ― Mulvey‘s dark and suffocating anaylsis of patriarchalcinema has lost ground to a more confident and empowering approachwhich foregrounds the possibilities of ―subversive‖ that is, non patriarchalmodes of female spectatorship
How Laura Mulvey‘s male gaze theorycould be applied? Discuss the impact for the male andfemale reader if the male gaze theory isapplied Using the three types of reading inreception theory, discuss what theyreadings for these front covers are.
John Fiske suggests that popular culture is made bythe people not produced by the culture industry.(1989) It is a step further from Stuart Halls encoding/decodingmodel Fiske suggests the power of the audience to interpretmedia texts and determine their popularity, faroutweighs the ability of media institutions to send aparticular message or ideology to audiences withintheir texts He suggests that we can‘t even talk about the peopleor the audience because a singular mass ofconsumers does not exist; there is only a range ofdifferent individuals with their own changing tastes. He suggests that people are not merely consumers oftexts, the audience rejects this role and becomes aproducer, a producer of meanings and pleasures(1989) This is similar to the concept that WEB 2.0 is turningaudiences into producers of their own media.
Fiske also says that everyday media users snatch aspects ofthe mass produced media and then (re)interpret them to suittheir own preferred meanings. The text is a source from whichthe viewer activates meaning to make sense of their materialexistence He says that the meaning of a text is not complete untilinterpreted by an individual within the context of their lives He uses Madonna as an example in his work: he saidMadonnas image then becomes a site of semiotic strugglebetween the forces of patriarchal control and feminineresistance. He also says ―she contains the patriarchal meanings offeminine sexuality and the resisting ones that her sexuality ishers to use as she wishes Perhaps in terms of collective feminine identity, women arealso shown this idea
We often talk about people as if they haveparticular attributes as things inside themselves --they have an identity, for example, and we believethat at the heart of a person there is a fixed andtrue identity or character (even if were not surethat we know quite what that is, for a particularperson). We assume that people have an inneressence -- qualities beneath the surface whichdetermine who that person really is. We also saythat some people have (different levels of) powerwhich means that they are more (or less) able toachieve what they want in their relationships withothers, and society as a whole.
Foucault rejected this view. For Foucault, peopledo not have a real identity within themselves;thats just a way of talking about the self -- adiscourse. An identity is communicated to othersin your interactions with them, but this is not a fixedthing within a person. It is a shifting, temporaryconstruction. People do not have power implicitly; rather,power is a technique or action which individualscan engage in. Power is not possessed; it isexercised. And where there is power, there isalways also resistance.
Foucault developed different approachesfor his different studies, but his work can besimplistically divided into earlyFoucault, where he worked on the ways inwhich state power and discourses workedto constrain people later‘ in which that idea of power as athing is broken down, and it is instead seenas a more fluid relation, a technique whichcan be deployed.
Althusser proposed that individuals are transformed intosubjects through the ideological mechanism of interpellation(Chandler 181). He explained that interpellation works primarily throughlanguage and occurs when we are hailed by a message. To illustrate hailing in the most straight forward way, Althusseroffered the following example: when a policeman callsout, Hey, you there!, most people within hearing distance willimmediately assume that they are the ones beingsummoned, even if they have done nothing wrong. This reaction positions the individual as a subject in relation tothe general ideological codes of law and criminality (Brooker122).
Althusser believed that the dominant beliefs, values andpractices that constitute ideology serve a political function. As we progress through the education system and enter theworkforce, ideology works through state institutions tointerpellate or construct us into particular subject positions inwhich our work and lifestyle benefits those who control theprocesses of production (Smith 208). The subject positions which are most prevalent configure us interms of commercial culture - asconsumers, taxpayers, employees, automobiledrivers, homeowners, or parents. For instance, come election time, politicians continuouslyaddress their audience in their speeches as voters ortaxpayers, thereby referring to the subject positions whichmost benefit them in their capacity as political leaders.
Key questions to consider: How do these magazines create a collectiveidentity 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 genderfor their readers and create gender of the oppositesex? Basically you will have so much information to helpyou answer the question!
How do contemporary media represent nations regions andethic/social/collective groups of people? How do contemporary representations compare to previoustime periods What are the social implications of different mediarepresentations of groups of people? To what extent is human identity increasingly mediated? How media that are in public circulation now representgroups of people in different ways The effects in society of particular kinds of mediarepresentation of collective identities Debates around the idea that our identities are increasinglyconstructed by or through or in response to the media (andarguments against this notion)
Stereotyping? What is the impact? What power does the audience have toresist? How do we measure the representationswe encounter? (think theories) How do we measure up against the re-presentations we encounter?
Increasing media= increasinglymediated? Re-presentation by others and ourselves
Today- Sexualisation? Past- Patriarchal? Feminism? Similarities and differences Use clear examples from the past
Analyse the ways in which the mediarepresent one group of people you havestudied The media do not construct identity, theymerely reflect it. Discuss
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
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 femaleidentity Magazines Clearly identifying the role forwomen
Winship- inside womens magazine book-although feminist ideas, admitted thatshe enjoyed female magazines mixed messages to women, lack ofconsistent ideas Ideas always followed the norm- e.ghetrosexual relationships
Media theorists say that belonging to acollective group is a misrecognition Instead we should approach it in a triangularapproachHow does a magazinerepresent its own genderto another gender?How does it representthe other gender to itsreader?How does it representits own gender to thereader?
We are not considering the way that magazines are constructed ispost modernism Instead we are considering whether a secondary audience mightcreate post modern readings of these products Pick and mix our media, select how we form our identities in relationto the media Gauntlett- Need to be constructed and negotiated in a posttraditional 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 specificstatement in magazines- readers are given more credit than to justaccept 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 women‘sMags present women/female gender as: objects, decorative,subordinate. They might view the post modern ideas with concernas they may appear too relaxed
See chapter handouts What has Gauntlett suggested about magazines today? ―Womens magazines are of course, all about the social constructionof womanhood today‖ Gauntlett- Relationships pg 190 (past or present idea?) In general, women‘s magazines speak the language of popularfeminism- Assertive, seeking success in work and relationships anddemanding the right to both equality and pleasure. Do you agree? The pick and mix reader pg 196 (as discussed in postmodernism andmagazines slide Think about some research into real women and ask them aboutwhat they think about our key publications-What do they revealabout gender assumptions with women today. Women‘s magazines offer a confusing and contradictory set ofideas Many of the messages are positive- Assertive, independent Looking beautiful, generally inescapable Overemphasising the power of the text and underestimating theability of the reader However we could still be absorbing ideas about society (throughthe magazine) Some examples of feminism/ however contradicting ideas
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?-Whatarticles/adverts do this? Are magazines giving us the tools for emotional and physical health, only tobreak 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?
‗The pleasure and perhaps sometimes acertain sadness of consuming thesemagazines, is the gap between thefantasy of self indulgent luxury and themore complex, grittier reality of my life‘ Is there a difference between the realityand the fantasy of magazine life?
Independent in attitude Attractive in looks Looking for/ have a man Career minded ―Sexy, beautiful, Intelligent, Superwoman‖ Is she being presented as someone who issecure? –Or are the magazines playing upto these insecurities?
Are they harmful? Do they make question every aspect of your life? Are women creating unachievable, stereotyped, patriarchal ideasof what it means to be a woman? Women telling women how to be, yet claiming to be some kind ofsisterhood- Cosmo factor- Women against other women-Competitiveness, it is I not we (Winship) Creating contradicting ideas for ourselves We are led to believe men are very different from us, (Verystereotype) How does the magazine portray the male sex? Is it a patriarchal idea? Does it fulfil dominant ideologies of the malegender? Do they make women believe that they are better than men andthat need looking after by us, but that we must not let men knowthis? Makes men look emotionally immature and incapable?
What does the media pack reveal aboutthe women who reads it (see media pack)
The word cosmopolitan means worldly andknowing. This carefully chosen title carriesconnotations and a mode of address whichassociates its readers and brand image with amodern and sophisticated lifestyle and image.
The often large centralimageis carefully constructed totarget itsmarket of ‗fun, fearlessfemales‘ in a number ofways. The Model often hasadopted a pose which isopen and uninhibited,signifying fearlessnessand confidence.Secondly the often smilingfacialexpression and direct gazeat the readercommunicatesa positive and fun attitudeto life.Sex is a popular sell line fortargeting both genders. Onthe cover the word appearsoften.Examples of sensationallanguage include the titlesof feature articles displayedsuch as ‘Sex uncensored’and a ‘Chick Behaviourthat Baffles the Hell Outof Guys’. Additionallythere is striking use ofalliteration; the repetitionof sounds such as the sss insex and censored and theb sound in behaviour andbaffles makes the wordseasier to skim read andremember.
We will be discussing: The past The present The future The essay will be mainly on the presentbut we must discuss the past and presentat least once in the essay
When I wasborn, they lookedat me and said:What a goodboy, what a smartboy, what a strongboy! And whenyou wereborn, they lookedat you and said:What a goodgirl, what a smartgirl, what a prettygirl!"
Families, friends, teachers, and community leaders all play arole in helping boys define what it means to be a man.Mainstream media representations also play a role inreinforcing ideas about what it means to be a "real" man inour society. In most media portrayals, male characters arerewarded for self-control and the control ofothers, aggression and violence, financialindependence, and physical desirability. In 1999, Children Now, a California-based organization thatexamines the impact of media on children andyouth, released a report entitled Boys to Men: MediaMessages About Masculinity. The report argues that themedia‘s portrayal of men tends to reinforce men‘s socialdominance.
The report observes that: the majority of male characters in media are heterosexual male characters are more often associated with the public sphereof work, rather than the private sphere of the home, and issues andproblems related to work are more significant than personal issues non-white male characters are more likely to experience personalproblems and are more likely to use physical aggression or violenceto solve those problems Children Now conclude that these dominant trends in the media‘sportrayal of men reinforce and support social attitudes that linkmasculinity 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 animportant perspective on social attitudes—and that while the mediaare not the cause of violent behaviour in men and boys, they doportray male violence as a normal expression of masculinity
Although most contemporary research on the portrayal of masculinity in themedia has focused on violence, research has also begun to examine theportrayal of masculinity in men‘s magazines such asPlayboy, Maxim, GQ, and Esquire. These magazines, which focus on matterssuch as health, fashion, sex, relationships, and lifestyle, play a part in definingwhat it means to be a modern man. Some critics argue that these magazines represent an improvement in mediaportrayals of gender since they focus on topics previously thought to besolely the concern of women. But others argue that such magazines still relyon stereotypical portrayals of men and masculinity, featuringhandsome, white, well-built and well-dressed men, interested only inacquiring the finer things in life. Media commentators argue that these magazines continue to relegatewomen to the background and, in doing so, are examples of social backlashdirected against specific gains made by women in the paid labourforce, mass media industries and other professions. They say that it is nocoincidence that as women are achieving greater social, political andprofessional equality, these magazines symbolically relegate them tosubordinate positions as sex objects.
While magazines such as Playboy and Maxim are criticized forobjectifying women‘s bodies, recent discussions about men‘smagazines are focusing on what these magazines say about menand masculinity. Academics argue that the recent popularity ofthese magazines is a reflection of men‘s uncertainty over the rolesthey are expected to assume in society, at work, and in theirrelationships. In her 1983 discussion of Playboy, Barbara Ehrenreich notes whenthe magazine emerged in 1953, American men were beginning tofeel constrained by the demands of marriage, work andfatherhood—and Playboy unapologetically celebrated thebachelor‘s lifestyle. She argues that Playboy painted an idealistic picture of the well-educated, confirmed bachelor who appreciates the finer things inlife: wine, jazz, scotch, art, and women. Playboy‘s success was builton its celebration of male independence from the domesticresponsibilities of marriage and fatherhood.
There is a need to investigate whether these new publicationsare in fact a progressive force in society.The term progressive asks the question of whether thesemagazines have a positive influence over the readership --such as by helping men come to terms with their personalidea of what it means to be male in a world that is becomingincreasingly feminized, or by providing advice on masculinityand introducing a desperately needed men only orientatedform of entertainment.On the other hand, these magazines may be a negative forcein society as they are seen as being sexist, objectifyingwomen.
Unlike womens magazines, which also feature women on thefront cover, lads magazines usually have scantily clad oreven naked women as their come on and many peoplebelieve, that despite being very successful, they are far frombeing a progressive force in society and are little more thanan anti-feminist backlash. "While women become friends with their magazines there isan inbuilt male resistance to the idea of a magazine thatmakes public and shares ideas about being a man. To men itis an unacceptable contradiction. Self-consciousness ispermissible, even attractive, in a woman; it is perceived asweak and unmanly in a man."(Campaign, 26/7/85: 37)
"…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 tocelebrate masculinity, but also to shore it up. The endless how - to articles on sexualityactually offer precious little advice, instead providing men with a great deal of hand -holding. In the pages of a recent Mens Health, for example, one finds an articlepromising to explain the "Mysteries of the Breast.― The piece is filled with extravagantly simpleminded -- even apologetic -- recitations ofthe obvious, gently nudging manly men into a vague recognition of their partnersneeds, all the while reassuring them that simple consideration isnt a sign of incipientsissiness. It may sound like a page straight out of a sensitive training manual, but the bottom lineon the breast is simple: "Find out what your partner enjoys - and do it," writes CurtPresman, the author. Then to assure his readers that real women actually appreciate thisnovel 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 findsanother appreciative young woman who assures him that, "the more a man paysattention to my breasts, the better I feel about my body."
Provocative images of womens partly clothed or naked bodies areespecially prevalent in advertising. Shari Graydon, former presidentof Canada‘s MediaWatch, argues that women‘s bodies aresexualized in ads in order to grab the viewer‘s attention. Womenbecome sexual objects when their bodies and their sexuality arelinked to products that are bought and sold. Media activist Jean Kilbourne agrees. She notes that women‘sbodies are often dismembered into legs, breasts orthighs, reinforcing the message that women are objects rather thanwhole human beings. Although women‘s sexuality is no longer a taboo subject, manyresearchers question whether or not the blatant sexualization ofwomen‘s bodies in the media is liberating. LaurieAbraham, executive editor of Elle magazine, warns that the biggestproblem with women‘s magazines is "how much we lie about sex."Those "lies" continue to perpetuate the idea that women‘s sexualityis subservient to men‘s pleasure. In her study of Cosmopolitan andPlayboy magazines, for example, Nicole Krassas found that bothmen and women‘s magazines contain a single vision of femalesexuality—that "women should primarily concern themselves withattracting and sexually satisfying men." The presence of misinformation and media stereotypes isdisturbing, given research that indicates young people often turn tomedia for information about sex and sexuality. In 2003, DavidBuckingham and Sara Bragg reported that two-thirds of youngpeople turn to media when they want to learn about sex - the samepercentage of kids who ask their mothers for information andadvice.
Many researchers argue that the over-representation of thinwomen in mass media reinforces the conclusion that"physically attractive" and "sexually desirable" mean "thin."Amy Malkin‘s study of magazine covers reveals thatmessages about weight loss are often placed next tomessages about men and relationships. Some of herexamples: "Get the Body You Really Want" beside "How toGet Your Husband to Really Listen," and "Stay Skinny" pairedwith "What Men Really Want." The fascination with finding out what men really want alsotends to keep female characters in film and television busy.Professor Nancy Signorielli reports that men are more likelythan women to be shown "on the job" in movies andtelevision shows. Female characters, on the other hand, aremore likely to be seen dating, or talking about romance.
It is important to note the significance of gender inadvertising. According to Sut Jhally, gender is probably the socialresource that is used most by advertisers… [they] seem to beobsessed with gender and sexuality. The reason for this is thatgender is one of our deepest and most important traits ashuman beings. Our understanding of ourselves as either male or female is themost important aspect of our definition of ourselves asindividuals… What better place to draw upon than an areaof social behaviour that can be communicated almostinstantly and which reaches into the very core of ourdefinition as human beings? (Jhally, 1987:135). Thus, advertising has become a central socialising agent forcultural values connected to gender.
In its study of masculinity and sports media, the research group Children Now found thatmost commercials directed to male viewers tend to air during sports programming.Women rarely appear in these commercials, and when they do, they‘re generallyportrayed in stereotypical ways. In fact, in his analysis of gender in advertising, author and University of North Texasprofessor Steve Craig argues that women tend to be presented as "rewards" for menwho choose the right product. He describes such commercials as "narratives of playfulescapades away from home and family." They operate, he says, at the level offantasy—presenting idealized portrayals of men and women. When he focusedspecifically on beer commercials, Craig found that the men were invariably "virile, slimand white"—and the women always "eager for male companionship." Author and academic Susan Bordo (University of Kentucky) has also analyzed gender inadvertising, 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 onslenderness, dieting, and attaining a feminine ideal; women are always presented asnot just thin, but also weak and vulnerable. These critics and others suggest that just as traditional advertising has for decadessexually objectified women and their bodies, today‘s marketing campaigns areobjectifying men in the same way. A 2002 study by the University of Wisconsin suggeststhat this new focus on fit and muscled male bodies is causing men the same anxietyand personal insecurity that women have felt for decades.
Genderfuck refers to the self-consciouseffort to "fuck with" or play withtraditional notions of gender identity,gender roles, and gender presentation.Itfalls under the umbrella of thetransgender spectrum
The effect of unstable signifying practices in alibidinal (The psychic and emotional energyassociated with instinctual biological drives:Sexual desire and manifestation of the sexual drive)Economy of multiple sexualities… the destabilisationof gender as an analytical category, though it isnot, necessarily, the signal of the end of gender…the play of masculine and feminine on the body…subverts the possibility of possessing a unifiedsubject position.-- June L. Reich on ‗Genderfuck.
Since the mid-1990s, advertising has increasinglyemployed images in which the gender and sexualorientation of the subject(s) are markedly (andpurposefully) ambiguous. As an ancillary to this, there are also a growingnumber of distinctly homosexual images - andthese are far removed from depictions of thecamp gay employed as the comic relief elsewherein mainstream media. We need to consider how these depictionsundermine conventional gender role stereotypesand the norm of heterosexuality that dominateadvertising and the media at large.
The revival of the Womens Movement in the 1970sdirected an onslaught of criticism towards post-warimages in which women were usually shown asbeing subordinate, passive, submissive andmarginal, performing a limited number ofsecondary and uninteresting tasks confined to theirsexuality, their emotions and their domesticity(Strinati, 1995:184). Subsequent to pressure placedby liberal feminists on the media and advertisingindustries, the more positive image of theindependent New Woman emerged, followed bythe New Man in the 1980s
By way of semiology, and a consideration of the motives ofadvertising and consumer industries, feminist analysis of theserepresentations in the early nineties, however, warned of theirlatent sexist meanings. We need to images that are now becoming prevalent inadvertising. analysis of the progressive depictions of men and women(and androgyny) by advertisers. Androgyny is a term, which refers to the mixing of masculineand feminine characteristics, And consider the role of the New Woman and NewMan, and then from New Woman/Man to gender-ambivalent queer images.
. In Images of Woman (1975), Millum analysed adverts inwomens magazines by looking at the characteristics of threecentral 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 fromcurrent popular magazines that were chosen on the basisthat they appeared to delineate a discrete theme bearingon gender. Goffman justifies his seemingly haphazardapproach by discussing how pictures can and cant be usedin social analysis claiming that themes that can bedelineated through pictures have a very mixed ontologicalstatus and that any attempt to legislate as to the order offact represented in these themes is likely to be optimistic.Significantly for our purposes, he asserts that his study takesissue with two of three methodological questions: discoveryand presentation, but not proof (1976:24).
In as much as behaviour is the process of living life,the development of behaviour sets, which can bethought of as roles, may be employed for thepurpose of simplifying the task: the idea was firstproposed by William James (1890). Some roles,James believed, we choose for ourselves ... Otherroles are prescribed for us by virtue of our positionin life. The ideas of James have been further developedby a number of sociologists; notably Merton (1957),Mead (1934), Parsons (1951) and Goffman (1959).
In The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life,Goffmans main contribution to thediscussion concerns the analysis ofcharacterisation. His suggestion that theperformer attempts to present an idealisedversion of the character (page 45) whichreflects the values of society - since thenotion of the ideal is one which is derivedfrom society - is somewhat reminiscent ofthe Freudian concept of super-ego.
Goffman suggests that belief in a particular role byan individual performer, is related to perceivedreality. (page 28) Hence there is considerableimportance attached to the clothing worn by theperformer whilst in character, which primarily servesto increase belief in the role. The wearing of anappropriate costume enables the character to bedonned more readily which, in turn, contributes tothe definition of the situation: the more theindividual is concerned with the reality which is notavailable to perception, the more must heconcentrate his attention on appearances. (page241)
This aspect of appearance is part of what Goffman identifiesas front; and, in performance terms, it is closely related tomanner. The appearance and manner of the performerserve to enrich the quality of performance, and they willnormally operate in harmony. We often expect, of course, aconfirming consistency between appearance and manner.(page 35) Front distinguishes between the public part of theperformance and backstage, or off-stage, action which is stillcarried out within the scope of the role: it is that part of theperformance which regularly functions in a general and fixedfashion to define the situation. (page 32) It also encompassessetting; the furniture and props that make up the set for aparticular act.
Non-verbal communication in the form of gestureswhich are made by the performer during theinteraction (page 40) serve to add a confirmatoryemphasis: Goffman uses the example of a baseballumpire whos body language is actuallycommunicating his decision whilst he is in the act ofprocessing the information upon which it is to bebased. Related to this, there is a possibility ofaccidentally misleading an audience withunintended body language. For this reason, it issuggested, the performer keeps non-relevantgestures to a bare minimum. (page 59)
Erving Goffman‘s perspective onadvertisements is that they do notnecessarily depict how men and womenactually behave, but that they are a goodrepresentation of the way we think theybehave. Print advertisements, therefore, donot offer an exact snapshot of real life butinstead offer a perspective on a certainaspect or aspects of life; theyconventionalise our conventions, and stylisewhat is already a stylisation (Goffman, 1979:84).
Advertisements can be offensive, and not just in the mostpalpable way; by being openly crude and distasteful. Theycan also cause offence in more subtle ways; by portrayingmen and women in stereotypical roles that suggest certainimplications about their capabilities. Every culture hasaccepted routine forms which indicate how men andwomen are supposed to look, act, and relate to each otherin a wide variety of social situations (Leiss, Kline & Jhally, 1986:166). These ‗norms‘, when represented in advertising reinforcecertain stereotypes. The concept of stereotyping was coinedby Walter Lippman, who refers to it as the guarantee of ourself respect, value, position and rights; he goes on to statethat stereotypes are highly charged with the feelingsattached to them (in Dyer, 2002: 11).
Betty Friedan studied the way in which womenwere portrayed in the forties and fifties in women‘smagazines. She had previously found, in the latethirties, that women were portrayed (inadvertisements) as autonomous heroines, but thisrepresentation had made way for the ‗glorifiedhousewife‘ image by the forties. Friedanconcluded that manufacturers had decided tomake women better consumers of home productsby reinforcing the concept of total fulfilmentthrough the wholesome role of housewife andmother
The advertisement has thetagline ‗She has the recipe…for good citizenship,‘ whichputs forward the messagethat women should beaccomplished in the kitchenin order to besuccessful, ‗good citizens.‘ The notion that, inadvertising, manufacturers tryto create an image that willmaximise the sale of theirproduct brings up thequestion of causality. Thislooks at whether advertisingmerely reflects reality, ordirectly influences and shapesreality by providing rolemodels. Goffman states thatself-definition is guided andexternally dominated; thatadvertisements try toconvince us that this is howmen and women are, want tobe, or should be, in relation tothemselves, and in relation to
Courtney and Lockeretz‘s report A Woman’s Place: An Analysis ofthe Roles Portrayed by Women in Print Advertising sampled variousadvertisements from 1970, with specific regard to the number andsexes 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% wereentertainers, and the remainder were depicted in low-status jobs; nowomen were depicted as a high-level professional or executive. Courtney and Lockeretz found that women were portrayed asbuyers of articles like cleaning aids and cosmetics, whereas menwere shown to be buying important, expensive items such as cars,industrial goods and bank services. Some of the general stereotypesencountered, therefore, were: a woman‘s place is in the home,women do not make important decisions, and women aredependant on men for protection.
His study sampled approximately five hundred printadvertisements, with six major areas for analysis: relativesize, the feminine touch, function ranking, the family, theritualisation of subordination, and licensed withdrawal. In print advertisements, social weight, i.e.power, rank, authority, and renown is echoed expressively insocial situations through relative size (Goffman, 1979: 28). More often than not, in advertisements depicting both menand women, the man will be higher up in the picture(sometimes simply because of a superiority in height, but alsobecause of the relative positions of both parties). This is one ofthe most obvious symbols of status and holds certainassumptions about the social standings of the subjectsinvolved. Think about today‘s adverts and try to consider the future
Figure 2 is an advertisement for anexercise aid, the ‗Relax-a-cizor‘, anddepicts an attractive (and scantilyclad) woman at the feet of a toned(presumably because of the effects ofthe product) man in a suggestive stateof worship and awe. This advert notonly suggests the social superiority ofthe man, but also highlights thepassivity of the woman, who has donenothing but watched and swooned asthe man has performed the executiverole: the act of transforming himself.The principal aim of the advertisementis to induce the reader into purchasingthe product by using the woman as a‗potential reward‘ for using theproduct. This is a common techniqueused by many advertisers to play onthe fantasies of males; the fact that thewoman is in a state of undress furtherserves as feature in the ‗fantastical‘world the advert creates. The womanis, in effect, being used as adecoration.
Goffman states that women, more thanmen, are pictured using their fingers andhands to delicately trace the outlines ofan object, or cradle or caress it, thusdemonstrating the ‗feminine touch.‘ Heasks us to distinguish this form of ritualistictouching from the utilitarian kind thatgrasps, holds, or manipulates (1979: 29).
This picture is a goodexample of what Goffmanis referring to because itdepicts the contrastbetween the two kinds ofaforementioned touching.As is evident in the picture,the male hand is ‗grasping‘or ‗holding‘ the object in astrong, firm manner,whereas the female handis delicately ‗caressing‘ themale hand in a ‗barelytouching‘ fashion.
Goffman‘s study found that, inadvertisements depictingboth sexes, women werelargely found to be portrayedin subordinate roles; whetheroccupational or recreational.The man, it would seem, islikely to perform the executiverole, in a hierarchy of functions(Goffman, 1979: 32). Thepicture is a good example ofthis because, even though themale is barely in the picture,he is no doubt performing theexecutive role (with regard tofunction ranking). Thewoman‘s purpose is in theadvertisement is, once again,as a decoration
The traditional images of how the sexesbehaved did not come about by accident.Advertisements were based oncharacteristics of the sexes that hadbecome conventions; figures prove thatmore men than women worked outside ofthe home for example. Goffman suggeststhat advertisements serve as a tool toimplement stereotypes upon society inorder to influence people into purchasingcertain products or services.
Role theory is based upon a theatricalmetaphor in which all social behaviour isviewed as a kind of performance…[people] behave in ways that are sociallyprescribed… To be a man [or woman]… isto play a certain role. Masculinity [andfemininity] represents just a set of lines andstage 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 havebeen constructed as two opposing types of personality. Social learning theory accounts for how these sex roles areappropriated and internalised; men and women imitateothers of the same sex (role models) and are consequentlyrewarded by society for their sex-appropriate acts, thusencouraging them to repeat this behaviour (conditioningand reinforcement). Role models are made available through socialising agentswhich include the family, school and the media (seeGross, 1996:172-174, 587-589). Therefore, if in anadvertisement, a young girl observes a conventionallybeautiful woman being admired by men, she is likely to learnthat to attract a man she must also make herself beautiful.
The social constructedness of sex roles, and therefore theircontingency, is the basis for queer theory. In Gender Trouble (1990), key queer theorist Judith Butler questionsthe 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 genderbehaviour is socially constructed and performative. Or as Butlerputs it: Gender is always a doing, though not a doing by a subjectwho might be said to preexist the deed… There is no gender identitybehind the expressions of gender; that identity is performativelyconstituted by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results(1999:33). The unity of sex and gender is maintained by its oppositional andbinary nature; because one is ones gender to the extent that one isnot the other gender, masculinity and femininity differentiatethemselves through an oppositional relation to that other gender itdesires (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 itnatural, anatomical, chromosomal, or hormonal, and how isa feminist critic to assess the scientific discourses whichpurport to establish such "facts" for us… Is there a history ofhow the duality of sex was established, a genealogy thatmight expose the binary options as a variableconstruction?… this construct called "sex" is as culturallyconstructed as gender (ibid:10). Butler calls for variable constructions of identity (ibid:9) to bemade visible in order to subvert this genealogy; thatis, anything that demonstrates the ambivalence of sexdivisions, the unity of sex and gender, or the unity of sex andoppositional desire (i.e. homosexuality). It is this that gender-ambivalent and homosexual advertising imagery can beseen to do.
Lack of femaleidentity? Sex object-Doesn‘t evendeserve a face He also looks veryfeminine Genderfuck?
DISMEMBERMENT • The use of dismemberment in advertising is an example of the male gaze at work. • Women‘s bodies are cropped/masked in order to emphasise sexualised body parts.