Thursday, June 01, 2006

Final Project

Women in Magazines: How are we different?

How are women portrayed differently between predominantly white women’s magazine and predominantly black women’s magazines? (Through the use of ads)

I teamed up with Nicole to look at the ads featuring women in four women’s magazines to see how they were portrayed. Two of the magazines had a predominately white audience (Vogue, Cosmo), while the other two had a predominately black audience (Essence, Ebony). We were looking to determine how women were portrayed within regard to which magazine they appeared in. Most importantly race and what the reader was suppose to feel about the models. We wanted to get a feel for some of the major differences that white women and black women see with respect to the magazines they are more commonly viewing. Knowing that what we repeatedly see has an impact on how we feel about ourselves, our goal was to understand what these two very similar yet very different groups of women were viewing.

Our codes were:
Race (White Black Other)
Position (Standing, Sitting, Laying, Bending, Unknown (face shoot))
Eye Gaze (Direct, Away)
Skin Tone (Fair, Medium, Dark)
Body Type (Thin, Curvy, Full Figured, Athletic)

Previous Study:
Christina N. Baker conducted the study that I looked at and compared notes with. In her study she says, “The average person in the United States is exposed to over 3,000 advertisements per day (Kilbourne & Jhally, 2000); these permeate our society through such media as television, magazines, billboards, and internet banners. The fact that advertisements are so pervasive suggests that they have a significant impact on society.” (
She goes on to explain other researches that have been done in this area claim that women in magazine are simply used as sex objects. In her research she gives credit to Goffman when he says that the portrayal of women hasn’t changed. She explains that white women are most common in advertising, which is exactly what I found, and they are most often times portrayed sexually. Minorities, however, when seen in advertising are usually stereotyped.
As I was flipping through the ads, one thing stuck out to me: the women in the black magazines were not as thin or sexual. I am a white girl and as I was looking through Essence magazine I felt differently than I did when I looked at any other magazines that I have been reading for many years. Essence and Ebony featured many normal-looking women that actually had thighs bigger than their arms. It was more comforting, like the magazine was there to help me or be on my side instead of something I had to compete with.
We both flipped through the pages and found many advertisements, some of which were not clear in what they were even selling. Cosmo and Vogue had more ads overall. And between Essence and Ebony only 4 white women were models out of 57. Conversely, only 13 were black in Cosmo and Vogue out of 113.
I looked mostly at Vogue and Ebony. I found that, as well as with the other two, more whites appeared in Vogue and Cosmo, and conversely more blacks appeared in Ebony and essence. The two white magazines featured more ads than the black magazines.
Vogue Magazine was full of ads. I did not find and nude ads or even ads that came close to being nude. The biggest numbers came from the models being to thin and white. Their gaze was evenly divided between away and direct. Their positions varied, however very few were overtly sexual. (
I am unfamiliar with Ebony magazine, but it showed more men in ads than any of the other magazines. All the women in the ads were black. This magazine showed more women looking directly into the camera. (
All four magazines have a way to go in many aspects. The black magazines feature no white people, and the white magazines hardly feature black women. Both need to work on not having so many thin women, although Ebony and Essence were much better especially in their editorial content. This is important because it affects millions of women, no matter what your color is, without them even knowing it. Whether one knows it or not it affects the way women view themselves and others.
Baker, C. (2005). Images of women’s sexuality in advertisements. Irvine, California: Plenum Publishing Corporation.

Links: Nicole Walbran
I have really enjoyed this class. It has been very eye opening not only to new things in the world but to the real ways I feel inside about certain issues. Throughout the course of this class I held on to my naive ways in thinking that this world really isn't that bad. However I see that changes really need to be made. And as a woman about to enter the newsroom in a year I am glad that I learned about other women's experiences in TV. I feel that it is important for everyone to have situation similar to this class where people of a different race and background can discuss the issues in the media. Because of the different opinions we have all learned a little more about each other and that is the first step in tolerance. When a person walks into an interview and is seen as a person not just a gender or race that can manipulate company numbers then the world will have arrived. Unfortunatley that will probably never happen, but as I told my dad, through tears, when I was just a lttile girl ,after he told me life is not fair,"well that doesn't mean we can't try to make it a little better."

Mavs bring in the fun

How fun has Dallas been lately. It has been refreshing to see the usual anchors reporting the same old news sitting in front of the AAC getting so excited about the upcoming games. It has been so refreshing to see all the positive news about the Mavs instead of the usual sad world news. The Mavs have brought back a fun atmostphere to the television. I was just watching channel 8 and they were having a pregame show. To see this whole city full of painted people and cheering fans was great. It is a refreshing change, and proof that it is never as bad as the news makes it out to be.

More positive stories need to be put into the news. If I talked to you for 15 min. and all I told you was the 12 worst things that happened to me today, how would you feel walking away from that conversation. Interjecting the news with more positive news about the city inspires a feeling that individuals, you and me, own the city and it can be something we are proud of. It creates a sense of pride that brings people together and cleans up a city.

Thanks to the Mavs for the momentary pause in the negative news day!!!
I think Spike Lee brings up relevent issues and throws them in your face. Good directors will cross the line and make you feel something. The movie made me laugh, but it also had this strange feeling to it. It was like a clownhouse feeling. Daymon Wayons had the worst voice, and from the begginninng you knew something was very unsetteling.

It is fun to sit down and watch fun lighthearted movies, but sometomes there are movies that force you to think about the things in this world. Crash is one of those movies. Crash forces you to look at your own life as compared to the lives as the characters.

The feelings the movie makes you feel is just as important as the words that are said. In Bambozzaled I felt a wierd lonley feeling at the end. People can be like sheep and follow the first idiot anywhere.
I can't help but to see sterotypes in everything and the past three weeks have begun to annoy my family and friends as I consistantly point out the bias tv has. I have often wondered if people realize when they have only whites people or that they have one deminsionalized an entire race. I understand that in many interests commercials and ads try to sell to certain groups therefore it seems one sided, however I don't believe that all people are trying to be unfair on purpose. It is so easy to see the one-sidedness in everything and if it were flipped there would be something else to see. In the case of the Sandra Oh character on Sideways, if there were a white woman in her place wouldn't we be talking about the all white cast and how more diversity is needed in the cast? It is a sticky situation and by talking about it we can more understand how the media does and should work.
I was reading my book the other night and came across a sterotype that bothers me but we never talked about in class. It is the sterotype that all Southeners are just a bunch of hicks. In the book the main character is an assistant to a top fashsion editor in New York. She makes Banana Republic and J. Crew seem like walmart. That didn't bother me but when the editor's husband's friends came up from the south for a party they were being described in a sterotypical way. They were set out to be a bunch of hicks who had no idea had to really act. Although this was the smallest part of the book and the southerners were not even the main point os the scene, I could not help but get frustrated with the unfair sterotype placed in these people. People out there do exist but to say that all those who come from the South are hicks who can't dress is bringing a huge group of people down to one demension.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Is T.V. Healthy

As I was running some errands this afternoon I came across a book entitled, "Everything Bad Is Good For You," by Steven Johnson. In the book he says the movies TV and video games may actually be making our minds sharper. I found this interesting since we have been talking about the negative, we may have forgotten (with the exception of a few) to mention the postive of TV and Video games.

Many children's toy companies have even made video games into educational tools, and TVs have been brought into classrooms to be used as teaching tools. I think TV can actually teach tolerance as well. Some programing sheds light onto the lives of people many of us may not understand or know about. One show on TLC shows us what it is like for a family of little people.

I haven't had a chance to really read this book but I am interested to see the research he has done or come across to show the positve side of pop-culture.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I never really realized what was in Disney Movies. I always knew that they weren't perfect but never really thougth about the fact Aieral does lose her voice to get a man. What is that teaching little girls. More importantly what is that teaching young teenage girls? That if you like a guy enough it is ok to throw away your voice and give up your family.

I still love Disney movies and will probably let my children watch them, but I think parents need to be aware of the message that some movies send and be prepared to discuss it. We can't cut every bad image out of our children's lives. But I am in my twenties and some of the obvious messages just went over my head. I think we can enjoy these things, but keep eack other in check of the effects they may have over our thoughts even when we don't realize it.

But sometimes a movie is just a movie. It is a break away from the real realities we face as adults and children.

Monday, May 29, 2006

May 29

As I watched all the Mav's games throughout this weekend I saw a Jetta commercial I am sure many people in this class saw. They took the very idea of sterotyping and used it to sell thier cars. Even though I think they are stupid commercials, they are funny in relation to what we have been talking about in this class.

In the commercial people sterotype Jetta owners as all kinds of things, like all Jetta owners are good dancers. They are making fun of the idea that people label someone one thing simply because of what they own. What is most interesting is that the media is cathching on to the sterotype game. They are beginning to make fun of themselves. Well at least the Jetta people see it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Shadow Report - May 24

“Different Women, different audience”

Two-sentence summary of findings:
Women who were used in modeling appeared different in certain magazines that all targeted women. Depending on the age and interest women were shown as average or sexual.
Summary of previous study:
The previous study looked at four popular women’s magazines: InStyle, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, and Fitness. The time span was from 2003 to 2005 She says that Good Housekeeping has the most respectful poses of women and fully dressed women. Glamour, however, showed the highest of number of submissively posed women and nude and partially dressed. She also said Fitness had more thin women while Good Housekeeping had most average sized women.
Its most important foundation literature and how it relates to your own project:
She referenced a study previously done by Rechert and Carpenter in 2004. This study said that sexual ads were more likely to occur in men and women magazines as compared with mainstream magazines. She also sites them when they said the most growth of the sexual ads in women’s magazine was from 1983 to 1993. She says the biggest difference in the two studies was the amount of clothing the women are wearing. The number of sexually dressed women has increased from 28 percent in 1993 to 49 percent in 2003.
Corpus and method:
My corpus was all the full-page ads in the four magazines. The ads were only of models that were depicted showing their full body. So the ads that showed only faces or half bodies were not used. The women were coded within four different categories: 1. Weight and Body Image (thin vs. average), 2. Body Pose (Respectful vs. Submissive/Sexual), 3. Gaze (Direct vs. Away), 4. Degree of Clothing Partial to full nude vs. Fully Dressed).
In Fitness Magazine I found 16 ads that featured a woman’s whole body. Out of those 16, 8 were thin and 8 were average body type. In the body pose category 13 were respectful. 9 women held their gaze away, and 12 were fully dressed.
Instyle had 20 ads. 13 women were considered thin. The body poses were split down the middle. 16 women looked away from the camera and 13 were fully dressed.
In Good Housekeeping I found only 8 ads. 6 women had an average body type and all were posed respectfully. All but one looked away from the camera and all were fully dressed.
In Glamour I found 17 ads where 13 were thin women. 10 had a sexual body pose and only 9 looked away from the camera. 10 women were fully dressed.
(I am turning in a chart that makes these numbers easy to see)

I am not sure what this means or if it is bad but throughout all four magazines most of the women were looking away from the camera.

The total number of ads that featured a full-length body was just as interesting as the numbers. Good Housekeeping had the lowest number of these kinds of ads. I found that in Glamour and InStyle the most over the top pictures were not in the ads but in the actual articles themselves. I did not find any nude ads in any of the magazine (just some partial); however in some of the articles the magazine featured the pictures features nude women. Even a nude man appeared standing next to a nude woman in a Glamour article. Good Housekeeping and InStyle were the two magazines that did not feature any nude women or men in their article pictures.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tuesday May 23rd

I think it is easy to say that advertising, video games, and music videoes don't affect me. However, the research does speak for itself. But more than research, the dangerous part of all three is that nobody immediatley feels affected in many cases. But wathching these imagages do have an affect on how you view yourself and others.

I always think of this one incident I had while I was babysitting many years ago. While this doesn't have to do with the media it always reminds me of how children soak things in even when we don't expect it. I took a little boy to get pizza in the neighborhood and as I was dealing with the cleark I said "Thank-you" very quickly without much thought. Immedially the little boy repeted me to the cleark with "Thank-you."

This reminds me everytime that if simple thoughtless manners are picked up and repeated by children, why not what they causually see on T.V.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday May 21st

All these classes we have been defining sterotypes and what is racism. A school board in Seattle decided to define rasism completley wrong. It is almost funny that this is actually true.

I can't believe they thought this was ok. They pretty much bought exactly into what a sterotype is.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

As I began to search the internet for old articles I have to admit I couldn't even think of the second girls name and had to go find my notebook. That right there explains the way the media covers certain events. There are entire web-sites dedicated to the POWs in the Iraq war alone, and the only person I can think of is Jessica Lynch.

All the pictures of her were either in front of an American flag or with a crutch. I never really gave any thought to the impact of the pictures of missing or pows people can have. But looking through some of the pictures I can see how a picture can make you feel worse or nothing.

When you type in Jessica Lynch's name all the web-sites immediatley have her pictures up, however a general POW website is just a bunch of words. It isn't a question of how great Jessica Lynch is, anybody who goes off to war is a much braver and better person than me, however the real question is why the mainstream media attaches itself to one case and no others.

Even concerning the Natalee Halloway story. People go missing everyday, but this particular story got all the press. The good news I can see is that the mainstream media has been, in some sort of way, called out on this issue. I have heard many complaints about the lack of representation of the general public. On a recent episode of a show on CBS called Without a Trace they dealt with this very issue. Two teens went missing at the same time. One was a white girl, the other was a black boy. The media was only interested in showcaseing the white dissapperance. The fact that TV shows are beginning to show this sad occurence in the media tells me that the problem is beginning to surface in front of the public and hopefully can slowly but surely begin to change.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday May 15th (1)

Today's conversations about the sterotypes of women in the media were interesting. However I think the media, especially advertising, is not trying to push us into thinking a certain way; we already have tendencies to think one way and they play off of our own thoughts. It is merely a smart advertiser or tv writers who plays into the mass audiences way of thinking. It is the audience who is to blame for the unfair sterotypes being placed on them through advertising. However, I'm not sure there is a way to change the way an advertiser sells thier product.

With that said the media takes these sterotypes and runs too far with them by creating tv shows and commercials that oversensualize these unfair sterotypes that represent a small portion of the population some of the times. As long as products sell and shows gain popularity the media will continue to put out these sterotypes. The only way to stop is to not buy and not watch, which is far from happening. It is just not fair to pass the blame to certain media outlets, when they are simply doing what gets the majority of America to buy and watch.