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Lecture 8

CS322 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Photo Manipulation, Femininity, Centrality

Communication Studies
Course Code
Anne- Marie Kinahan

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November 3, 2014
Teen Dreams and Adult Pleasures
Women’s magazines
oFeminist criticisms
Within pictorial and discursive context
Women must catch and keep a man
Encourage competition between women
Encourage consumption
Women are highly sexualized, worried about body image
Unobtainable body- photoshopping, airbrushing, etc.
Perpetuating consumption and capitalism (reinforces a cycle of
consumption, never satisfied with what you get)
oWhy study women’s magazines?
They are for women but degrade them
Cosmo- how to get the guy and make him happy
Should see who is behind the women’s magazines- men? Women?
women have fought hard for rights, but it is still about men
Ideal audience
oWhite, middle-class, married with children
oConvey images about home, romance, consumerism
Blend of commerce and ideal notions of femininity
Ladies’ Home Journal
oEstablished in 1883
oCombined gender and commerce
oFirst magazine to target female audience with content for the home
oAdvertisers targeted female audience
oContent reinforced women’s ideal role
Food, fashion, fiction, domestic advice
oAdvertising things that were affordable
Women could easily obtain a copy of the magazine (middle-class
and working class)
Could establish a wide audience
Feminist Analyses
o1970s to present
oThree central concerns:
Women are domesticated
Oppressive beauty standards
“ideal” woman- white, middle-class, heterosexual
oCentrality of men- femininity is always constructed in reference to men
oShouldn’t oppress one group to empower another (especially if it’s for
men- “men like women with curves”)
Calling other women “skinny bitches”
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