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5. Lz411 lifestyle women's magazines


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LZ411 Critical Media Theory - Women's Lifestyle Magazines

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5. Lz411 lifestyle women's magazines

  1. 1. LZ411 – Critical Media theory WOMEN‟S LIFESTYLE MAGAZINES AND „TECHNOLOGIES OF THE SELF‟ Aims today … •Lifestyle magazines and ‘technologies of the self’ •Lifestyle magazines as a part of ‘postfeminist media culture’
  2. 2. Women‟s Weekly Magazines Highest Circulation (UK) Women’s Weekly ‘Real life’ genre 720k (down 8.4% year/year)
  3. 3. Women‟s Weekly Magazines Celebrity News / Lifestyle New! 386k down 12% Closer 350k down 18% 3
  4. 4. Women‟s Lifestyle Magazines Highest Circulation (UK) Women’s Monthly (paid for) 400k (down 14% year/year)
  5. 5. Women‟s lifestyle magazines  Advertising led which is part of the flow (50% or more)  Offering content to readers. Offering the „right kind‟ of readers to advertisers  Thorough intertwining of beauty, fashion and magazine industries
  6. 6. Discourses in women‟s lifestyle magazines 6 Women’s magazines offer identity as a choice – things to be bought/done to yourself as an expression of who you are
  7. 7. Discourses of gender and the body 7
  8. 8. Foucault on the subject •Carried out historical analyses of areas such as madness, sexuality and criminality. Michel Foucault 1926-1984 •Wrote about how discourses „produce‟ the subject •“My objective has been to create a history of the different modes by which, in our culture, human beings are made subjects” (Foucault 1994: 326)
  9. 9. What appears as ‘normal’? What is not normal? What is implicit here about happiness? 9
  10. 10. Ethics and „technologies of the self’ • A person‟s concern for and care about themselves; ideas, „rules‟, standards Michel Foucault 1926-1984 • Techniques that we use to enact our ethics; operations on ourselves, discourses that enable or discourage such operations • The ways that we „act on ourselves’ or „police‟ ourselves in
  11. 11. Women‟s Lifestyle Magazines and the Body 11
  12. 12. Gender, the media and the body 1. Femininity as a ‘bodily property’ 2. Objectification to subjectification 3. Self surveillance and discipline 4. Increased sexualisation 5. The ‘makeover paradigm’ Gill (2007)
  13. 13. Femininity as a bodily property • An obsession with/investigation of the body • A move from caring, nurturing qualities to the possession of a sexy body • A source of power, but requiring constant attention • A reflection on what‟s „really‟ inside
  14. 14. Femininity as a bodily property New! 18.10.10
  15. 15. From sexual object to subject • From passive object of male gaze to active desiring sexual subjects • The sexually autonomous (heterosexual) woman who is always ‘up for it’ • More exploitative than objectification? (since the objectifying male gaze is now internalised)
  16. 16. From sexual object to subject
  17. 17. Self-surveillance and discipline • The continual monitoring and correct of „errant bodies‟ • Increased intensity of this scrutiny • Surveillance over more areas of life: body, sexual practice, career, friends, mind etc
  18. 18. Self-surveillance and discipline Cosmopolitan Dec 2010
  19. 19. Increased sexualisation • Increased amount of discourse on sex and sexuality • Eroticisation of girls‟ and women‟s bodies • Interpellated as the „monitors‟ of sex and relationships, the „doers‟ in matters of sexual conduct – men just wanna have a shag!
  20. 20. Increased sexualisation 20 Glamour Dec 2010
  21. 21. Dominance of the „makeover paradigm‟ • Women‟s lives/bodies are flawed – need an overhaul • Bodies and lives are „amenable‟ to transformation • Advice is ready to hand – Advice from the media that is! • Surgery or „modified consumption‟ ? – These are your choices…
  22. 22. The makeover paradigm: Media as „popular expert’
  23. 23. Contradiction or coherence? • Are women’s magazines inherently contradictory? … E.g. – – – – Assertiveness vs. anxiousness ‘Natural beauty’ (just be yourself) vs. complicated regime Following latest trends or simplicity Sex: ‘please your man’, ‘be adventurous’ or take charge • Or coherent? – Despite independence & taking control, sex is to be used for pleasing men – Buying power, independence and fun through consumerism.
  24. 24. Lecture summary •Means of ‘subjectification’ – ‘technologies of the self’ •Sexuality as a means of recognition of self •Discourses of gender and the body in the media: 1.Femininity as a ‘bodily property’ 2.Objectification to subjectification 3.Self surveillance and discipline 4.Increased sexualisation 5.The ‘makeover paradigm’
  25. 25. Seminar Reading Journal article: Gill, R. (2007) Postfeminist Media Culture European Journal of Cultural Studies 10(2): 147-166 See guidance on my blog Seminar task We will be analysing women‟s lifestyle magazines in using Gill‟s (2007) categories of postfeminist media culture.