Images of Excellence in an Imperfect World.
The ability of images to affect and inform cannot be underestimated. This is also true in contemporary world, where we are continually bombarded with images - and with the text messages implicit in them. The information they emit are far-reaching, pervasive, and frustrating in sheer magnitude. Most of all: they are perfect. Photos of beauty queens and celebrities - the almost perfect people who are the symbols of modern culture - are manipulated so the images are of true excellence. Blemishes dissolve, complexions shine, pounds melt off, and pearly whites sparkle as technology works its magic.
When these images come in the format of newspapers targeted at adolescents, all of culture should be concerned. What text messages are informing the thoughts of children today? How are they responding? What can we do if we notice that damage is being done? This newspaper will address that question, with a particular focus on the print publications aimed at young girls and young women, who are statistically more likely to be bombarded with unattainable goals in the form of countless images of perfection.
The people apparently in charge of these publications - particularly editors - must have the authority to regulate that content, to redirect and or redistribute it to provide more genuine views to their readers. That is particularly when confronted, because they are, with proof that the messages these are disseminating are bad for many young people. In the case of young women who suffer from eating disorders, that proof is actually overwhelming. This newspaper intends to show the damage that is being done to teenagers globally, & most especially to young women, and the responsibility of the media to be accountable for content - or at least, to avoid airbrushing all the blemishes and defects they may see on original images, and present a far more realistic and achievable vision of certainty to people who seek it in their web pages.
For those used to the fashion industry there is nothing uncommon about the shows in any way. But also for me it was the end, it was then that I decided to resign as editor of Marie Claire mag. I had come to the stage where I had developed simply possessed enough of working in an industry that pretends to aid women while it bombards them with impossible images of efficiency day after day, undermining their self-confidence, their health insurance and hard-earned cash (Jones, 2001).
Jones goes on to explain the series of events that, together, led to her resignation. Among the most crucial factors was the substantial effort she had put into a campaign to effect serious change on the media's approach to and effect on young women. The plan was met with such vehement hostility that she found it extremely difficult to continue to be engaged with this area of the industry. Just one single year earlier, she notes, she had positive values - unrealistic, perhaps - about the leads for change: 'I thought wholeheartedly that people could stop newspapers and marketers using underweight females as fashion icons' she published (2001). She experienced already proscribed articles about diets and weight-loss, that was an action that was far ahead of its time. This is clearly a part of the right direction - but she understood that it was not enough.
As part of an experiment, she made a decision to release the same model with two features - one of size-six Pamela Anderson, and one with the fleshier - size twelve - Sophie Dahl. Marie Claire then asked visitors to choose 'between the thin, cosmetically improved "efficiency", or a more attainable, but still very beautiful curvy woman' (2001). There is - actually - no competition; Sophie Dahl clearly acquired the support of the viewers. The effect that followed the competition was 'staggering', Jones noted. A marketing frenzy ensued; colleges wished to include it in their course curricula; filmmakers made documentaries about any of it; and, perhaps most tellingly, an unprecedented variety of readers reacted - and responded - with enthusiastic and overpowering support.
However, the one group whose cooperation was most expected and most needed - other members of the industry - refused to rally. Jones found no support from her colleagues; instead, they reacted with a vehemence and aggression that both stunned and saddened her. 'The very folks from whom I had expected the most support - my fellow girl editors - were unanimous in their disapproval', Jones composed. 'They were my peers, friends, and co-workers I sat next to in leading row of the style shows. These were also the most important, influential band of women in the business enterprise, the only real people who could change the fashion and beauty industry' (2001).
Some tagged her a 'traitor'; others advised that she was applying this campaign as some kind of ingenious ploy to improve circulation figures. She was even accused of discrimination against slender models. Model organizations started out to blacklist the mag. Not surprisingly, Jones redoubled her initiatives. She even spoke publicly about her own battles with eating disorders. From age eleven, she admitted, she was plagued with the eating disorder anorexia - a problem that lasted well into her twenties. Because of this, she discussed, she was very able to understand how deleterious it was for young women to subsist on 'a daily food diet of unrealistically small role models gracing the internet pages of the periodicals' that they are dependent on, as she was (Jones, 2001). Furthermore, she does not lay blame on the publications exclusively; alternatively, she highlights that they definitely have more injury than good. If indeed they weren't the impetus that tripped the disorder, the images she was so bombarded with appeared to encourage it: 'the images definitely perpetuated the hatred I had developed for my very own body' (2001).
To test her theory, the study team at Marie Claire shaped a focus group of young, bright, completed women. The women were asked a series of questions about their systems, after which these were absolve to peruse a specific group of periodicals for approximately one hour. Once the hour was up, the same questions were asked - this time around, the answers were completely different. 'Their self-esteem acquired plummeted' Jones writes (2001). As the literature and research to be offered in this newspaper shows, the results of Ms. Jones informal sociological research was very close to the truth: her intuition were right on the symbol. However, in hostile environment with little support, she was struggling to follow them. It soon became clear that the tide of advertisers was much too strong a make to deal with from within the industry, and she reached a spot of no go back: 'I won't conform with a business that could, basically, kill' composed Jones, a survivor.
A. Predecessors and Successors
Liz Jones was not the first female to have difficulty in the name of editorial change. Along with Jones, there were her American predecessors, Sophistication Mirabella of Vogue, and Gloria Steinem of Ms. In her autobiography, In and Out of Vogue, Mirabella writes about acquiring a virtual threat from her publishers, ordering her never to include any articles that criticised using tobacco. She was advised there shouldn't be even a hint that there could be medical risks associated with nicotine use - despite the fact that evidence had recently been made recognized to the public that such hazards existed. The reason for this is advertising, the lifeblood of the newspaper. Untold thousands of dollars were poured into newspaper advertisements by cigarette giants. This gave tobacco manufacturers a sense of power, a right to have suggestions, or even to dictate, what made up the content of the magazines they publicized in. They made it clear that any disparagement of the product - however valid - would cause their immediately pulling their advertisements and discontinuing their sponsorship (Mirabella, 1995). Incapable - or unwilling - to associated risk this, the web publishers of Vogue offered the limitations to Mirabella. The fact that the fitness of female visitors - who also supported the magazine by purchasing it - might have been jeopardized was nearly a non-issue.
Another of Jones' predecessors was American feminist Gloria Steinem, whose mag Ms. was groundbreaking in several ways, and especially in its handling of advertising. The editors of Ms. Magazine battled constantly with promoters who added to the magazine's coffers. Noted article writer Marilyn French talks about the fights Ms. acquired with both Clairol and Revlon, two of its major sponsors. Both situations reveal similarities with the Vogue situation and are worthy of mentioning. Both companies withdrew their adverts and cut off financing, each for different - but evenly significant reasons.
Clairol performed this after Ms. ran text message that included information about medical studies that advised the possibility of there being carcinogens in hair-dye products. Clairol, popular for its hair-care products, acquired regularly placed adverts in the mag - until a troubling article came out alongside them, addressing the probability of carcinogenic content in head of hair dyes. This issue had recently been made open public, and was, in simple fact, this issue of congressional proceedings at that time. Furthermore, the opportunity of cancer-causing realtors was extensively reported in magazines and other magazines. Still, Clairol was not very happy to have that information appear in the same publication where it placed advertising for the very product. The advertising were removed.
Revlon's reason behind cutting off Ms. was somewhat different, and certainly less compelling. Revlon professionals were disgruntled with the looks of any cover photograph which showed encounters of women from the Soviet Union - it was the cover storyline, and one that they had initially supported. The topic area was something rarely written about at that time, in regards to a populist activity in Afghanistan, and was considered quite an accomplishment by many, both from within and beyond your industry. However, the women in the photographs were not wearing Revlon products - they were not wearing cosmetic at all. The company found this objectionable because if the women were not using cosmetic, the cover story was not reselling Revlon products(French, 1992: 171). That was enough for Revlon. The adverts were removed.
Later on came up an editor from Australia: Cyndi Tebbel, who going New Female Australia in 1996. For a year. 5, Tebbel centered on self-help that could not be equated with self-flagellation: she said "no" to diets, "yes" to relationship and career advice. In 1997, near to the end of her command, she printed a groundbreaking concern embracing the concept of - and presenting - large-size models. Although the initial strap was 'Excess fat Is Back', the problem finally ran as 'The Big Concern'. Sales did not plummet, but neither does they soar. Still 'The Big Issue' was perceived as 'unglamorous', and did little to gain support for Tebbel's cause. Soon after its publication, Tebbel resigned.
There are more and more editors like this - as well as writers, designers, photography enthusiasts, even fashion models themselves - who are 'approaching out' as true supporters of women 'as they are'. This is, no doubt, credited in good part to the task of those that arrived before. However, they remain a minority, albeit a strong one.
B. Fashion Victims
What is it that ladies want? In her book Fashion Sufferer, editor and writer Michelle Lee raises lots of valid items as she endeavors to answer this question. She speculates on what would happen if mainstream periodicals commenced to feature plus-size, or even just a bit plump models on their front features: 'Even if periodicals showed heavier body types on a regular basis, would consumers really answer positively?' She answers the question by detailing that in theory, we like the thought of showing practical portrayals of 'real' women - but the truth is that we can't stand to see them. 'We appreciate the idea of newspapers that use greater models' Lee asserts. 'We're glad they exist. We like the idea of mags that show more "realistic" sizes. The sole problem is that we don't get them, and then they go out of business' (Lee, 2003: 144). She uses this affirmation with reports to underscore her point. The idea that truly must be resolved here, however, is not the actual fact that people don't buy newspapers that feature the truest images in our selves: but instead, the reason we don't we get them. Why don't we buy them? What's incorrect with these newspapers that show us who we really are? Or alternatively: what is incorrect with these images of our own less-than-perfect 'selves'?
'With all of these studies pointing to the public's apparent need and desire for more "realistic" body designs, it would appear likely that publication publishers would bow to public pressure', asserts Lee. Seemingly, the magazine publishers are one step forward. They know that what people say is often very different from the ways in which they react. The proof, for these people as well for Lee, is in the statistics. 'Magazine web publishers know that study respondents tend to be virtuous in writing than they are at the newsstand', records Lee. 'Top editors and publishers know that slimmer cover women sell more issues' (Lee, 2003: 139). The mentioned researcher Angela McRobbie echoes this, asserting that in Britain, 'receiving the hearts and brains of young women has turned into a social and political priority. There is now a hegemonic work extended over the interpersonal field to get the consent of young women' (2001: 201). Catering to the needs of the young women, then, means exhibiting covers that they want to see. The point on their behalf is, after all, to sell - and they sell by doing what works.
What works is residing in business - but to stay in business, magazines count on their advertisers. Because the promoters will be the ones who base the bill, they may have considerable power when it comes to dictating the content of the articles that look alongside their advertisings. As French clarifies it, 'creators of products for girls require women's journals (. . . ) to print meals and articles on beauty and fashion to highlight their ads, and further, to market a certain kind of beauty, food, and fashion - the accoutrements of woman-as-commodity' (1992: 171). Advertisers are also worried that when their products appear in women's magazines, they'll reduction in value. The relationship of the merchandise with women is considered to somehow debase it: 'Many marketers avoid women's mags entirely, fearing a product that becomes associated with women will be devalued for men. . . . To rest assured of advertising revenue, women's periodicals must be vapid, contentless' (People from france, 1992: 172).
C. Participating in Both Sides
In addition, marketers seem to want to buy both ways - they would like to sell products to women, and they desire to be regarded as supportive of women. Often, both of these desires art at odds with each other. On the superficial level, most periodicals execute a good job of including headings and headlines that, on a cursory reading, may actually do both at exactly the same time. And, as we have seen, 'real' women on the cover don't sell regularly high amounts of publications for the major magazines. As complex as young women may be today, they are still imprisoned in societal prospects. McRobbie asserts that 'the now normative irony (as knowingness) which pervades the contemporary popular culture and mass media in which young women find themselves accommodated to as post-feminist high achievers, positively disallows such inclinations' [to be themselves] (2004: 508-509). She also explains that for their success, these young women are taken off needing to face a few of the more annoying issues that are confronted daily by less lucky female counterparts. What feels like a luxury to them - the avoidance of upsetting realities - actually strips them of power, unbeknownst to them. 'Daily discouraged from the requirement to think or take action with courage (as a privilege of the good fortune of surviving in the affluent liberal west)' she creates 'is of course an efficient method of disempowerment' (2004: 509).
'The very last thing magazines want to do is shoot themselves in the ft. by admitting that they are likely involved in creating negative body image' notes Lee (2003: 140). To become profitable and keep their general population persona intact, they work from different angles: 'they do their finest to help women break out of this mind-set. But at the same time, they can't ignore that viewers do want to lose weight (or, as most mags now call it, "get fit"), so they're forced to play both edges' (Lee, 2003: 140). Hence, a single edition of the journal - or, as the later research of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire will demonstrate, may contain contradictory information on the cover, in the Desk of Material, in the advertising, and in the articles themselves.
'All mags are to some degree controlled by marketers; even supposedly indie news journals use "soft" cover tales to sell advertisings', asserts French (1992: 171). This control is unavoidable, since advertising is exactly what funds the publications in the first place. Additionally, notes French, all periodicals 'censor articles that might disturb big marketers or the government (1992: 171). Private backing can be an unrealistic solution to this problem because generally, the backers are men: 'Women's magazines generally cannot attract such private backing because few women have money' (French, 1992: 171).
As an outcome, magazines are closely pressured to add content that promoters want. You can find little choice in this, because to go against the wishers of those who provide the cash is to associated risk losing the money - as well as perhaps losing the journal as well. McRobbie underscores this point, explaining that advertising 'have always been seen to be embedded in the cloth of society' What's new about this, she asserts, is the fact that the power exerted by the mass media has become much better than ever before. 'What may be constitutively new is the degree to which advertising have become something with which the social is consistently being identified' (McRobbie, 2000: 193).
The situation is exacerbated because fashion marketing cannot lash out against this. 'Much of the style media's insufficient criticism seems to stem from its financial reliance on the industry it covers' asserts Lee (2003: 100). She records that 'fashion journals have long been among the focuses on of eating-disorders studies. And many of the results have been damning' (Lee, 2003: 139). Few would argue the validity of this notion. In fact, a lot of women - & most men as well - wouldn't normally need to see data. The theory that media determine the mindsets of teenagers is not new. In Reviving Ophelia, Feminist Mary Pipher points out that 'the omnipresent press consistently portrays appealing women as slender', while 'models and beautiful women are portrayed as thin' - even while real women grow heavier. (1994: 216).
'Underlying marketers' constraints is the fear distributed by the male establishment generally, that women with a more robust self-image might no more be willing to remain a servant school, may unite against exploitation' records French (1992: 172-173). She clarifies that to keep a particular segment of the population subordinate, one must first convince the members of that segment that they are entitled to to be treated this way, usually because of some flaw or inferiority inherent in the group. 'A person of a substandard group can't be the author of his own life but must focus on the superior group' (People from france, 1992: 173).
Feminism and the Development of Women's Magazines
A. Women: A User's Guide
In her amount Feminism, Femininity, and Popular Culture, United kingdom scholar Joann Hollows highlights that 'for feminist critics, females' publications have been seen as significant because of their power to define and shape teenage femininities (2000: 167). She will go notes that the ways in which magazines have shaped females' development has shifted over the years; the impact is just as strong - if not more powerful - however the method of wielding that electricity has been changed. Until the 1980s and 1990s, females became 'hooked' on the thought of physical seduction. Then the 'hook' became another form of seduction - what Hollows, McRobbie as well as others call 'the seduction of buying' (Hollows, 2000: 171). Of course, McRobbie's comprehensive studies and analyses of young girls' magazines give a wealth of materials on this subject. But both development of the publication format and this issue of femininity are inextricably intertwined. Hollows also points out that 'feminisms differed in their form and personality in different physical contexts. However, if we take the cases of the UK and US, we can easily see some similarities in feminist concerns, regardless of the crucial differences between your forms of feminism which were created' (2000: 3).
It might pay dividends, then to check out the history of the magazine itself, and also to explore how, though expanding in places which were geographically distant from one another, the genre ended up being virtually identical. American researcher Terry Poulton discusses the early times of women's periodicals as 'the introduction of a way of communication by which women could be educated that which was expected of them, beauty-wise', (1997: 30). It was, in essence, sort of 'user's manual' for ladies, educating them what they wanted (assuming each of them desired the same things), and exactly how to do something in socially appropriate ways in order to get these things. There was no choice involved, because expectations at that time were rigidly established. Going against what was socially appropriate simply had not been an option, and any leanings in the 'incorrect' route would most certainly be met with censure and/or ostracism. What Poulton identifies as an operator's manual was, of course, the start of the woman's mag.
Of course, women have been learning these lessons for years, but nothing you've seen prior from a standardized source that could keep them kept up to date of changes on a timely and regular basis. The intro of women's publications bestowed upon those who produced them outstanding amounts of power - the power to impact women, and in myriad ways. The ways women thought, the way they acted, and undoubtedly just how they seemed - were typically molded by the words and images that arrived in their regular monthly 'users' guides'. As Poulton places it, 'what had been missing for centuries - a way to deliver visible images to public of potential consumers - possessed finally showed up' (1997: 30).
B. From Godey's Lady's Reserve to 'Scientifically Precise' Fashion
Among the first women's publications were the U. S. magazines Ladies Publication in 1828, used a short time later by Godey's Lady's Book, in the same calendar year. Relating to Poulton, 'slender was in for the first time' with the introduction of these magazines. Actually, they are generally regarded as at least partly in charge of precipitating an eating plan craze in the United States - the first of many (1997: 29). Poulton points out that a foreshadowing of eating disorders also appeared during this time period, when articles that appeared in Godey's Lady's E book reviewed the tragic storyline of a female named Louise. Obviously distraught after being ridiculed for her size, she decided to do something. She embarked on a grueling - and unhealthy - reducing program that consisted of a single goblet of vinegar every day. Apparently, it done one level: she have reduce her size. However, we may ask, at what price? In a matter of months, according to the report, Louise was dead (Poulton, 1997: 29-30).
In Great Britain, a similar publication arrived in 1872. Entitled The Ladies: A Journal of the Court, Fashion and Modern culture, this publication offered fashion advice from a 'scientifically precise' perspective. Historian Virginia Cope explains it also experienced clear political announcements, with overt items in which the need for more political privileges for women were mentioned. The publication catered to upper-class London women, but appealed to middle-class women as well. The way the American publications served as 'operator's manuals' for women in the U. S. , so too did The Ladies for British modern culture women. In this case, however, the guide was actually targeted at the bigger classes; however, it soon became a primer for those middle-class women who wished to rise socially. Implicit in the articles about housekeeping and fashion were lessons to the under classes in how to react like their more elite counterparts. The ultimate expectation that perhaps they might one day be accepted by them was, of course, implicit, and dangled such as a carrot to keep them purchasing the publication every month.
However, it appears that The Girls wasn't offering quite enough to women of either class: the publication didn't last long, crumbling after only nine months. However, it will serve as a representation of British culture at the time, which was becoming one of instability and frequent flux. Whereas during the days and nights of Queen Victoria's reign, women's place was thought to be at home, this steadily began to improve and a type of feminism took main. As Britain became more and more industrialised, roles of men and women shifted. Similar changes occurred in the United States. Publications of that time period from both sides of the sea - just like the Ladies and Godey's Lady's Publication - bear witness to the.
The ability these early publications held over some women is even more significant when one considers that the artistic renderings contained in them - the 'graphics' - were just drawings. Picture taking would not be a part of the process for many years: the age of photographic duplication was still far off, so images contained in the magazines were sketches of varying quality and proportion; these drawings were highly exaggerated and thought as idealized and unrealistic. Even so, the women who read these early on publications still sensed their impact, and the pressure to conform was believed by many. This influence would greatly increase when actual photographs substituted the drawings within the deceptively seductive advertising program.
C. 'The Camera Doesn't Lie'
The inclusion of actual photos in magazines heralded change a remarkable and significant change. No longer were articles combined with fanciful renderings of what women should look like - now there were actual, live models against which readers could assess themselves. 'With the mistaken conviction that cams cannot rest, it was clear sailing for what came to be called "the tyranny of fashion"', explains Poulton. 'From now on, women would feel obliged to upgrade their body condition and only the prevailing silhouette' (Poulton, 1997: 30). There was a scientific detail that picture taking offered, and it wielded a lot more electricity than the often whimsical and sometimes anatomically impossible renderings of your human palm. Yet picture taking was merely the precursor from what would come next, as mags became inextricably bound to the world of marketing: 'Poised on the threshold was another kind of tyranny that would be inimical to women's capability to feel at tranquility with their body: advertising' (Poulton, 1997: 30).
The setup was ingenious: periodicals, through both content material and picture taking, would bring in new ideas to women, particularly about ways that they failed to meet prevailing expectations. At the same time - perhaps even on the same web page - would be an advertisements for something that could help them 'improve' what they now knew to be flawed elements of themselves. Cinematic portrayals soon became a part of this intricate process. As France points out, 'the debasement of ladies in artwork and advertising is echoed in cinematic images' (1992: 164). This was true then, and remains true now. Perhaps nobody places this more succinctly than the American feminist Gloria Steinem, founding editor of Ms. , who breaks the process into three parts: "to make a desire to have products, instruct in the utilization of products, and make products a crucial part of attaining social acceptance' (Steinem, quoted in Poulton, 1997: 30).
D. Twiggy: Thin Becomes 'In'
Weight-loss issues didn't gain true prominence until the years pursuing World Battle I. At that point, corpulence became another problem that girls had to deal with. Women began to obtain additional and more messages that suggested that additional weight was taboo. These emails were often linked in complex ways to issues of ability, cleverness, and even morality For help, Poulton explains, the typical female would utilize mags for help: 'What was a female to do if she was guilty of the new "crime" of corpulence? Why, just flip the internet pages of her favourite journal until she found articles or an ad promoting the very latest in lowering strategies, potion, gimmicks, devices, and gizmos' (Poulton, 1997: 33). This continual reinforcement of the communication that being overweight was unacceptable kept a comfortable niche for marketers of weight-reducing strategies to declare.
The launch of Lesley Hornby signified a major change for women on both continents. The British-born Hornby - better known as 'Twiggy' - became an overnight international sensation. She is considered by many to be the 'world's first supermodel'. Twiggy's debut onto the New York scene was another turning point. 'Within a year after Twiggy's debut, the editorial and advertising cheering areas at women's newspapers had shifted into high products and added exercising to their lists of must-do's' explains Poulton. Thinness - as personified by Twiggy - was an absolute must, and this dictum was cared for with stringent rigidity. Poulton uses an excerpt from a Mademoiselle article of the time: '"Creampuffs, there is no break free. Whip yourself into super shape and stay this way"' (1997: 45). The behaviour considered were both important and motivating - not to mention difficult - and arranged a tone that in arriving years would grow much more severe. McRobbie refers to the 'boyish femininity of the girls' of this period as 'best exemplified in the early fashion photos of Twiggy' (2000: 20).
The 'Twiggy' standard has not really transformed much since storming the field in the 70s. 'The standard of beauty crystallized into an individual prominent body image mandated by those who, knowingly or unwittingly, were doing the bidding of marketers' notes Poulton (1997: 54). Styles modified radically - hot trousers, hip huggers, mini-skirts, maxi-skirts - the list is limitless. Throughout all this, the paradigm of thinness has continued to be the typical towards which women should strive. If slender was at, 'too thin' was even more acceptable - and prompted: 'In the newspapers and on the style runways, the twirling young ladies grew thin and youthful by the year. . . . In the meantime, real women were consistently getting plumper with every technical advance that made physical labor obsolete, and with every new fat-laden food that arrived on the market' (Poulton, 1997: 59-60).
Yet not all women were able to accomplish that unrealistic standard, thus start a wave of isolation and rejection that have little for women's mental or physical health. Those that were unable to fit into this mildew became alienated, and often internalised this alienation. As outcasts amongst their gender, their really wants to be accepted would be utilized as a way of exploitation and manipulation - the diet industry - that could also make the manufacturers of those products very abundant. When the merchandise failed, as many inevitably does, newer, 'better' products would be offered up as the latest panacea to women's problems. It clearly seemed to be a business that thrived by offering product after ineffective product, just to keep carefully the cash to arrive. This is done at women's expenditure, not only economically, but actually and emotionally as well. As Poulton explains it, 'those who couldn't clone the new image started out what would become thirty years of alienation, marginalisation, and exploitation' (Poulton, 1997: 54).
One might think about what the driving make was behind all this investment property on products that simply failed to work. 'More than another solo factor, it was the addition of morality to the weight reduction essential' asserts Poulton (1997: 46). Whereas before slimness have been praised since it was equated with beauty, or because it exemplified health, it now experienced a moral dimensions attached to it. This complicated things, since women were no more seen merely on a continuum that ranged from 'slim' to 'excessive fat' - these were also morally judged - by their weight - over a continuum that ranged from 'good' to 'bad'. 'Now it got become the same kind of fire-and-brimstone character issue that sexuality had been in Victorian times', notes Poulton. 'Any woman who "let herself go" was now seen as a sinner and for that reason a fair focus on for disgust, ridicule, and ostracism' (Poulton, 1997: 46).
E. Thin - Here to Stay?
The obsession with weight, and especially with thinness, has not slowed up. Instead, it includes adopted a trajectory that has prolonged to gain momentum that appears to have had little regarding the actual weight of most women. In fact, as Poulton highlights, in a three-year period - from 1966 to 1969 - research of high school girls uncover a sharp increase in the amount of girls who recognized themselves as 'extra fat' In the last analysis, 50 percent of these surveyed accepted that they saw themselves as fat, whereas in the later review that percentage possessed risen to 80 - and increase of 10 percent annually (1997: 46). With this light, it is no real surprise that by the decade of the 1990s, of every dozen ladies, one was training some type of bulimia, either vomiting by itself, or vomiting in conjunction with laxative abuse. In addition to the physical harm women are doing to their bodies, you have the emotional harm to be considered. And for those young girls who remain overweight, there's a price to pay as well: 'The psychological ramifications of this prejudice on chubby young people grew cruel enough to donate to widespread depression and a teenager suicide rate that has quadrupled during the past three ages' (Poulton, 1997: 46).
A. Conflicting Messages
As a means of distributing and fostering current styles in both the fashion and beauty principles, few would deny the impact of women's magazines. In fact, 'beauty and fashion magazines may be one of the best communicators of current sociocultural standards of beauty', according to Lokken et al. , (2004: 363). It is a task that appears to be effortless; this in itself is intentional. A great deal of effort switches into these newspapers; stiff competition, more sophisticated readers, and surprising market trends get this to essential. In addition, mainstream modern-day women's newspapers walk a sensitive - and often treacherous - collection. They make an effort to embrace women of all sizes - but have a tendency to show photographs of models of a certain (skinny) size. Furthermore, as Lee highlights, 'what's more troubling than the mag industry's use of ultra-thin models and its obsession with thinness is the fact fashion glossies can't seem to choose which side of the issue they stand on' (2003: 139-140). Editors who transgress the rules put themselves vulnerable, as seen in the well-publicised case of Liz Jones yet others before her. 'Editors who flout the skinny-model standard run the risk of being cast out' (Lee, 2003: 141).
The conflicting information women obtain from magazine content aren't something that occur unintentionally. Images are carefully picked, organized, and manipulated - airbrushed, photo-shopped - to provide specific messages. The best magazines do that skillfully, presenting simple, well-engineered publications that call little attention to their methodologies; visitors have to be hyper-aware to find the subtle ways that they are simply manipulated. 'Magazines, specifically beauty and magazines, contain carefully manipulated pictorial images of thinness and beauty accompanied by articles and advertisements promoting current sociocultural standards of appearance', please note Lokken et al. (2004: 363). The dual impact of carefully structured textual announcements and painstakingly manipulated images does indeed its job quite nicely, too: women continue steadily to invest in products that promises to remove or at least disguise perceived imperfections, starve themselves into unnatural designs, and drape themselves in the latest styles, with great financial cost. But it might be the emotional cost that exacts the highest tolls, as more and more women are realizing the pattern for what it is. The industry continues to grow. The 'uninitiated' are often the most available to influence - this includes the younger users of a group. Those that seek to prey know this and action accordingly, targeting those who are most at risk: children.
B. Who is at Risk?
Several experts have pointed out that the contemporary time is a distinctive time in background: today's consumers are constantly bombarded with communications from the press in unprecedented amounts, and these images result from increasingly more sources. This consists of not simply our private places, which are generally full of audiovisual equipment and accessories of all types, but our public spaces as well. Having the power to control the total amount - and type - of music or video tutorial or imagery we obtain is important inside our homes. But we've little to state over what has become an extremely overstimulating open public space. While holding out to cover one's groceries, or even to visit the dentist, or take a coach - it is almost impossible to steer clear of the onslaught of images all around us. 'Consumers are exposed to more mass media images now than at any other amount of time in record' assert Lokken et al. (2004: 363). In conjunction with this, the information are at unique odds with the truth of today's female inhabitants: the weight once considered 'ideal' for ladies through mass media images has slipped significantly.
The Lokken research reports the findings of the historical examination conducted by Percy and Lautman in 1994. ) The topic was advertising in America, and it disclosed revealing to changes. Consider that a woman who was considered an average model back 1894 could have been quite comfortable at a weight of 140 pounds - and this was at a elevation of 5 foot, 4 inches wide. In 1947, the average model - after being put through a slimming strategy - weighed in at 125 pounds. About two decades later, in 1970, the common model had gained a few ins high; at 5 ft, 8 inches wide, she tipped the scales at 118 pounds. Predicated on this structure, Lokken researchers feel self-confident in extrapolating the data, predicting that the typical ideal female form will continue to get taller and slimmer as time goes on (Lokken et al. , 2004: 363-364). The experts do not, however, offer any predictions on just how that will happen, since it would be literally impossible to make it through if the craze were to continue indefinitely.
The Lokken analysis also suggests that young women understand the images that bombard them in journals, videos, and other mass media as reality-based and achievable.
'Many women may turn to media depictions of their gender as sensible representations of attainable beauty rather than carefully manipulated images', they suggest (2004: 3004). Furthermore, they claim that young girls will take the pressure to comply with the unrealistic body weights even further, to attain 'other, often biologically contradictory appearance goals, such as a thin body with large chest or a muscular physique' (Lokken et al. , 2004: 364). In fact, women have previously tried to do this - and failed, which is one of the precipitating factors for eating disorders and distorted body images, as will be talked about later on. Furthermore, women today are incredibly much alert to this manipulation. Knowledge of manipulation is a breakthrough and an important first rung on the ladder, of course. However, being unsure of how to respond to that manipulation in a healthy way that could allow them to break free of its impact - therein is placed the task.
What groups are likely to fall victim to these progressively more svelte - and more and more dangerous - criteria? Most of the literature things to the same target group: adolescent, teenager, and young adult women. That group can be further narrowed right down to the more sensible and very sensitive young females - the individuals one might think less likely to fall into this kind of capture. 'Ironically, smart and sensitive women are most vulnerable for problems', records Pipher. Members of the group, she talks about, have the cognitive ability to understand the ways in which they are simply manipulated by promoters, yet less inclined to know how to overcome it: 'They hold the mental equipment to get our cultural ambivalence about women, yet they don't hold the cognitive, mental and cultural skills to handle this information' (1994:34).
Furthermore, later studies done by Recreation area elicited information that is even more troubling: In interviews done by Area of senior high school females, it was found that the very idea of media affect in itself acquired a destructive effect. 'In this study', notes Area, 'although most members seemed with the capacity of criticizing images in teenage magazines for their unrealistic beauty and thinness, they also presumed that their criticism had not been widely shared by other women and men' (Park, 2005: 598). This sense of isolation seems particularly ironic in view of the numbers of women who article feeling the same way. Thus, it seems that the magazine industry not only drives women invest in insane acts to keep unachievable ideals - it increases the pressure even more by reinforcing peer pressure and competition. Hence, instead of finding support amidst one another, their self-confidence is further decreased, and their mistrust of one another increases deeper. This seems to defy logic in some ways; users of a group who proceed through suffering jointly often use the experience to create strong bonds. 'But for females who were already under heavy pressure', Park asserts, 'knowing that other women also endured the pressure exerted only negative effects' (Recreation area, 2005: 597).
These recent studies do not bode well for the future. Increased pressure from the marketing is not a surprising theory, but increased pressure within the peer group is specially disheartening. Pipher details this quite eloquently: 'They are paralyzed by complicated and contradictory data that they cannot interpret. They struggle to fix the unresolvable and make sense of the absurd. It's this attempt to make sense of the complete of adolescent experience that overwhelms shiny young ladies' (Pipher, 1994: 34). And since it is a particularly complicated developmental period for young ladies in this generation, it is difficult to know very well what approach will continue to work best in steering young women free from falling in to the eating disorder cycle also to furthermore give them healthy foundations and support systems to keep them free of slipping into this and similar traps later on. 'Because of females' developmental level, parents have limited effect', records Pipher. 'As daughters move into the broader culture, they service what their friends, not their parents, think. They model themselves after marketing celebrities, not parental ideals' (Pipher, 1994: 27).
C. Gender Wars
Are teenagers vulnerable to eating disorders? Though not normally associated with guys and men, issues of body image do have an effect on them as well. However, as analysts Linda Smolak, Michael Levine, and Kevin Thompson point out, 'the present data suggest that. . . both boys and girls are affected by sociocultural body ideals', but that 'the result appears to be greater for young girls' (Smolak et al. , 2001b: 222). This may be due to the fact that the overt expression of discontent, particularly when it regards somatic issues, is mostly considered women's domain name in today's society.
This is never to suggest that men are immune to these pressures; it is impossible for any member of modern day society to don't be bombarded with text messages about their systems, whatever the gender. Relating to analysts Duane Hargreaves and Marika Tiggemann, men simply keep peaceful about it: 'unlike women, men labor under a sociable taboo against expressing such thoughts' (2004: 569). Furthermore, they note, boys have a tendency to equate prattle about body image with other issues that are considered 'non-masculine', such as effeminate behaviour and homosexuality. 'Kids do not believe the media affects their body image and said they don't discuss body image since it is a womanly or gay concern' (Hargreaves & Tiggemann, 2004: 567).
Hence, although children and teenagers may have issues with body image and societal expectations, their issues never have reached the sort of magnitude that women's issues with body image have. This is shown in the mags targeted at children and men. As McRobbie points out, there is nothing in men's magazines that parallels the mags targeted at women and young women. Publications written for males are incredibly specifically centered, usually on sports activities, interests, or similar pursuits: sportfishing, hunting, auto-racing - even pornography. 'There is not a consistent attempt to link interests with years, nor will there be a feeling of natural or unavoidable progression from one to some other complementary to the life-cycle' she notes. 'Instead there are a variety of leisure options available, a lot of which involve involvement outside the home' (McRobbie, 1991: 69).
The magazines directed at women, however, come from a very different perspective. Although ostensibly vehicles of entertainment - which they may in reality be sometimes - there exists something else at the job here. Men's publications amuse, inform, and instruct - period. Women's periodicals may do all of the above, but there's a powerful undercurrent that figures and molds the way women thinks about themselves, their bodies, and their devote the globe. McRobbie asserts that girls' periodicals are indeed 'powerful ideological pushes' that contain a 'privileged position': 'Responding to themselves solely to a lady market, their matter is with promoting a feminine culture for their readers. They define and form the girl world, spanning every stage from early youth to old age' (McRobbie, 2001: 69). Citing samples such as Mandy, Bunty, Judy and Jackie, to accommodate and Home, McRobbie supports that females and young women use periodicals to learn how to act on earth. The knowledge for guys and teenagers is completely foreign to this.
The gender misunderstanding goes on into adulthood, where it becomes even more technical. 'Our ethnical models for ideal feminine sexuality reflect our ambivalence about women and intimacy' asserts Pipher. 'Men should be naughty and sexual all the time. Women should be angels sometimes, intimate animals others, women by day and whores by night time. . . . Understandably, young girls are mixed up about exactly how so when they are to be captivating' (1994: 246).
Text Evaluation: Cosmopolitan
When it was in the beginning begun in america in 1886, founders Schlicht & Field referred to Cosmopolitan as a 'first-class family journal' The initial owners sold it in only two years, and the publication went through lots of hands until 1905, when it was purchased by William Randolph Hearst. The Hearst Organization still possessed the magazine in the first 1960s, when blood flow numbers commenced to drop. The low circulation numbers caused advertisers to lose assurance in the publication, plus they, too, pulled from the publication. Credit for having the practically defunct publication back to life would go to Helen Gurley Dark brown.
Gurley Brown's publication, Sex and the Sole Girl, have been an instant an frustrating bestseller, which gave her a good amount of credibility. She contacted Hearst with the ideas for starting a new newspaper of her own. Instead, she was handed control of the then-struggling magazine, Cosmopolitan ('Cosmopolitan', 2006, par. 1). Dark brown turned the newspaper around in the U. S. , moving the concentration from fiction, where it got actually been, to matters that were solely of matter to women. Because of this, she created such a successful publication that blood circulation soared, and promoters along with them. It had been a logical next step to broaden the restrictions of the journal in to the international world.
Cosmopolitan was unveiled to British ladies in March of 1972 with much fanfare, and the world of women into which it was unveiled was ready for this. The prevailing atmosphere was one of frequent flux: young women had begun to express themselves. That they had also are more sexually free, as well as financially more robust. Cosmopolitan spoke to that demographic group perfectly. The first concern contained these words of benefits to these active new female visitors: '"You're very considering men, naturally, nevertheless, you think too much of yourself to live your life completely through him. That means you are going to make the almost all of yourself - the body, that person, your clothes, flowing hair, your job as well as your mind"' (quoted. in 'Cosmopolitan', 2006, par. 5). The magazine's note resonated with young British women immediately, and carries on to do so today. By analysing the composition of your current problem of the magazine, one is able to distill the information that are being provided to young women in contemporary society - both overt messages and the subliminal ones that conceal below the surface, but should never be too far away to declare at least area of the reader's attention.
B. Cover Analysis
The glossy cover of the Sept 2006 model of the publication is like almost every other cover the publication has printed over the year; it is also like the cover of each other mainstream woman's publication that shares space on the news agent's racks - which is to say, quite a few. Suffice it to say that the photograph of a woman graces these covers: different women, perhaps, but for the most part, similar in that they are simply elegantly coiffed, beguilingly posed - and very, very thin. Cosmopolitan's woman is blonde and blue-eyed, dressed up in skin-tight black trousers and a matching, sleeveless shell. The shell exhibits - to great benefit - a large amount of impeccably sculpted cleavage. With a matching black coat, the slinky two-piece attire could easily be transformed into the three-piece-suit of a professional girl. The model, too, could easily slide from gender kitten to businesswoman: with her hair pulled back and without the tease of the smile on her face, she has the potential of showing up more imposing, less seductive. And if she posed in a less suggestive position, instead of with one knee thrust slightly ahead, forcing her hips into a suggestive tilt, her demeanor might seem considerably different.
Hence, a potential audience, upon enjoying the cover, is asked to see whatever she (or he) decides to. Presumably, like so many young women, the potential reader 'desires it all', and thinks so because she's seen countless advertising telling her she not only can have it all, she deserves it. Arranged against a shiny pink backdrop, the model can be an appealing body - a variety of innocence and sexuality, naЇveterinarian and impishness, all at once - causeing this to be an attention-getting cover among a sea of attention-getting covers.
The familiar vibrant black capital letters that comprise the Cosmopolitan masthead are stretched horizontally across the first four. 5 meters of the cover. Beneath this, eight attention-getting headlines compete for attention on either side of the smooth, slim amount. Printed in a range of colors and font sizes and types, it is hard to learn which to give attention to first, but there are two that stick out a little more than the rest: '101 Love-making TRICKS' is large-font, sunny yellow, all higher case at the top left. Reverse and somewhat higher on the right is a dark red bubble with white letters promising to notify visitors 'How to Get the appearance Men Crave'; the font is smaller and lower case letters are utilized, but its unique setting up in a bubble handles to set it faraway from others.
C. Desk of Contents
Getting at night cover also to the Table of Articles has typically been a rather simple, straightforward job in modern mainstream mags. However, advertising seems to have become more and more prominent and appear much earlier than one expects or wants to view it. In this issue of Cosmopolitan, one must wade through 26 webpages of strategically located adverts before even achieving the Table of Items. The web pages contain fifteen advertising in total. Eleven of the are two-page spreads that comprise one ad each. Four smaller, single-page ads appear as you gets nearer to the Desk of Articles, which involves two web pages - and even these are separated by an advertisement!
The pages of the Desk of Material each contain three vertical lists of the magazine's articles. These columns are set up in groups of three articles or more, for fifteen independent categories. The categories start off, as one might expect, with 'Cover Testimonies', and end with 'Regular Features'. Accurately in the centre is 'Love & Lust'. Under each one of the fifteen category listings will be the teasers for every of the portions that appears for the reason that category in the body of the journal. Not surprisingly, within each category there appears to be at least one pairing that implies potentially conflicting communications. For instance, the first three Cover Tales in this problem relate mostly to sex, including a fresh 'love test'. Once schooled in sex tricks, examined on love, and aware of 'his' sexual personal preferences, a audience might feel effectively ready to properly entertain a partner of the opposite intimacy. But her self-confidence may be short-lived - and her interest may reduce - if she reads any further, as another, rather dramatic items story on a completely different shade.
The first of these is a collection of brief, funny - and not so funny - mishaps, awkward or upsetting things that happen during intimate moments. Still, the choice of words is more than somewhat tinged with hostility and phallic innuendo. This can be doubly challenging for the audience who have just finished a number of of the first three cover tales, all of which prepare one for positive amorous adventures. The second of the is equally remarkable but far more serious in content, about rape. The wording of this subject is also interesting: the rapist comes first, the woman previous. Hence, something is performed by the rapist to the girl - who, looks as a unaggressive victim, apparently of supplementary importance. No verbs are attributed to the 'Girl' here; all of the action is used by the Rapist, who is clearly regarded as better here and in charge.
The third piece is better in content to the first three, in that it focuses on sexual attraction and the way to appeal to a man; however, it is somewhat more aggressive. By now, the reader of the issue could very well be eager to try out at least one of the 'hundred and one gender tips', has presumably approved her love test, and has a good idea of what's on 'his' head. She's also learned a few techniques about figuring out and defending herself from rapists - she recognizes, for example, that a stiletto heel can twin as a self-defence tool. Still, the thing that is not covered in these cover testimonies is the previous item on the list: getting the thing of her dreams. The next section will do that.
D. Test Article Content
A close go through the items of the last 'cover account', which claims to teach women how to attain the look that 'men crave', elicits a number of contradictory text messages. These messages not only appear within the part; they also seem to symbolize a microcosm of the fashion world, of the products that are sold to women on the strength of a promise of some kind of physical and/or intimate enhancement.
The purpose of the part is to record the findings of the poll of male viewers (of Maxim) who had been questioned about the types of women they find most appealing. The headline, 'Which Makeup Effect Do Guys Go Gaga For?' provides the implied assumption that once the reader realizes what folks go gaga for, she'll go out and obtain it. The not-so-surprising results of the poll indicate that most of the men questioned - 82. 1 percent - favor a woman in 'Full make-up (however, not Overly Done)'. This revelation is followed by some five complex steps a female must follow to attain the Not Excessively Done look that most men seem to be to find so interesting. The fact that the 'Not Extremely Done' look takes a lot of doing is not talked about, presumably because the main thing here is obtaining a certain look. What is plainly not important this is actually the amount of work, time, and price that must go in to the process of obtaining that look.
A small percentage of men polled said they choose the 'Bare-Minimum Cosmetic' way (13. 8 percent). Even here, plastic hints are offered, so that women who've - or want to have - mates who like this look can achieve their desire as well. It is described, however, that look entails only slightly less makeup than the first category. Presumably, it requires as enough time, or almost as enough time, and the expense of cosmetics will be approximately the same. Why would a woman invest all of this time, money, and effort on makeup to be able to look like she has hardly any cosmetic on? Simple: because he loves it. An expert creator, William July, Ph. D. , is called upon to explain why this look may appeal for some men: 'Viewing the true you elicits emotions of intimacy - it is the girl he needs to marry someday' (Cosmopolitan, 2006: 270). There remains the actual fact that this is not the 'real you', but rather the made-up real you - the 'you' you constructed to please him. That seems as if it might be a concern - and of course, it is. However, it is not an issue in this specific article, which is clearly single-minded in purpose. First, you get the man; later, get worried about the problems that may arise, which will perhaps be resolved in a follow-up article, in a succeeding issue. . .
Brief attention is paid to the small minority of men who preferred 'A Touch of Cosmetic' (4. 1 percent). It really is theorized that look, according to the article, lacks appeal since it is 'ho-hum' and undefined: 'you're neither the sexed-up chick nor the post-nookie knockout' (270). Seemingly it is advisable to be the sexed-up chick; second better to be the post-nookie knockout; the ladies who are the least appealing are those who land squarely in the middle; without a specific persona, they could pose a danger to people who can't find the typical 'hints' to put them in the womanly hierarchy of desirability. Yet, even women who wish to look 'ho-hum' have to spend time achieving the appearance. This may appear frivolous - spending time to apply make-up that will imitate the effect of using no makeup (despite the fact that you are). Actually, it is frivolous. However, this is not mentioned; it is considered unimportant. So long as the girl gets the person, she will what she's to.
Text Examination: Marie Claire
Now a Hearst publication, Marie Claire was in the beginning launched by Jean Prouvost in 1937. Touted as the first magazine to focus on women and encourage them 'to consider their own autonomy, elegance and personal development' it was said to be an instantaneous success ('Publication Background', 2004). It includes remained a significant force in the world of women's magazines, distributing internationally at the start of the 1980s. Across the switch of the century, then-editor Liz Jones stepped down from the helm, creating first ripples, then waves of attention. A close look at the September issue may provide some signs.
B. Cover Analysis
Marie Claire's semester fashion concern (September 2006) is not what one would expect. The cover shows that all one must know is at: you will be 'strong, confident, hot', learn secrets from powerful female politicians, and learn what to buy and how to wear it, all in this sole issue. The picture is of the top and upper area of the torso, cropped at the upper body. The model is dressed up in a smoky dark silk shirt or dress that ties around her throat, leaving
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