Nicole's Blog

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"The difference between women in White-oriented magazines and women in Black-oriented magazines"

Two sentence summary of findings:
Magazines that are geared towards white female audience’s feature more white, thin sexualized women in their ads. Magazines geared towards black female audiences feature more black, full-figured women in their ads.

Summary of the previous study:
The previous study by Christina N. Baker (Images of women’s sexuality in advertisements," January 2005, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research) reveals that magazine advertisements try to paint a picture of how the ideal woman should look and behave as an object of men’s sexual desires. Before looking through eight mainstream magazines, she made four hypotheses about how women would be portrayed in these magazines. She inferred the following:
That all women would be portrayed as submissive in White-oriented magazines.
The majority of black women would be portrayed as dominant and independent than white
women.
Black-oriented magazines are more likely to portray black women as independent compared to White-oriented magazine.
Black women in White-oriented are more likely to portray physical characteristics similar to white women in order to conform.

Baker then performed a content analysis of full-page advertisements in eight popular magazines published in 2002. She chose two magazines with White women audiences; Cosmopolitan and Vogue, two magazines with Black women audiences; Essence and Honey, two magazines with white male audiences; GQ and Maxim, and two magazines with black male audiences; Black Men and King. Then Baker coded the advertisements according to seven categories and several subcategories. She coded them be the following:
Function and role
Mother
Object
Partner
Product User
Professional
Recreation

Physical position
Standing
Sitting
Laying
Bending

Relative authority/function to a man
Higher than man
Equal to man
Lower than man

Relative size/height compared to man
Higher/Bigger than men
Equal to men
Lower/smaller than men

Character traits
Soft/Delicate
Athletic
Independent
Dependent

Face/Body View
Face showing
Face hidden

Physical Traits
Race
Skin Tone
Hair texture
Body Type

Its most important foundation literature and how it relates:
The most relevant foundation literature for this study is the work by Goffman ("Gender Advertisements," 1979) and his analysis of gender stereotypes. The researcher mentions his work and ideas several times throughout her analysis. Goffman believed that advertisements help to construct the basis for masculinity and femininity. He also created a code for analyzing ads that Baker used to help determine her coding system.The coding system helped me in coding the race and physical characteristics of the women depicted in the advertisements.

The researcher also draws a lot of information from Courtney and Whipple ("Sex Stereotyping in Advertising," 1983. They found evidence of women being used as sexual objects. In their research they also found that women are depicted sexually in women’s magazines, which implies that women are willing to deem sexualized images of themselves as appropriate. I used their research and ideology to help me analyze the way women were portrayed in magazines for female audiences.

Corpus and Method:
My corpus comprises all full-page ads of women in the June 2006 issues of Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Ebony and Essence magazines. I coded Cosmopolitan and Essence magazines and my partner coded Vogue and Ebony magazines. We divided our research this way so that we could each compare a magazine for a white audience and a magazine for a black audience.

The method we used was quantitative content analysis, in which we coded each woman in the ad according to certain codes. First we coded the women in the ads by race. We divided race into three categories; white, black and other, which included all other races. Then we coded the women according to their posture in the picture. We divided the positions into standing, sitting, lying down, bending and unknown. The unknown category contained pictures where we couldn’t determine which position they were in. Then we coded the women according to the direction their eyes were gazing in the picture. We divided this category into women who looked directly at the camera and women who were looking away from the camera. Next, we divided the women by skin color. We divided this category into fair, medium and dark skin. Finally, we divided the women into categories based on their body types. The women were divided into thin, curvy, full-figured and athletic body types.

Findings:
In our research we found that magazines with white audiences (Cosmopolitan and Vogue) included more overall advertisements than black magazines (Essence and Ebony). Cosmopolitan and Vogue had a total of 113 ads featuring females while Essence and Ebony only had 37 ads featuring females. We also found that the white magazines had slightly more diversity in their ads than black magazines. Of the 113 ads in the white-oriented magazines, 85 were white, 13 were black and 15 were of another race. In the black-oriented magazines there were 4 white females, 51 black females and 2 were of another race. Both magazines chose to feature the race of women from their target audience. We also found that in the white magazines almost all of the women featured were very thin. Ninety-five of the women featured in the white magazine ads were thin, five were curvy, four were full-figured and nine had an athletic body type. In the black magazine ads the percentage of thin women featured was still unreasonably high, but they seemed to include women with other body types more frequently based on the number of ads they had. Forty-two of the women were thin, five were curvy, 4 were full-figured and 6 were athletic. The other categories that we used didn’t seem to provide very much diversity.

Conclusion:
My study had similar information compared to the original study. It is true that more white women are depicted in ads from white magazines and more black women are depicted in ads from black magazines. The number of "other" races in the white magazines has significantly risen. America wants to be seen as a diverse nation but they can’t look past the race issue. I understand that these magazines are trying to market their target audience, but this research shows it might be a little extreme.

I also found similar information regarding the differences in body type that are portrayed in both magazines. The women in the black magazines seem to look more like "real" women and not some stick figure that the white magazines commonly use. The black women looked like they actually ate food and more accurately represented the world’s population. However, it was strange to me that my partner and I looked differently at the more full-figured women in the ads. It didn’t appeal to us because we didn’t find it attractive. I think America has become obsessed with being thin because that’s the images that they always see.


Bibliography
Baker, C. (2005). Images of women’s sexuality in advertisements. Irvine, California: Plenum Publishing Corporation.
Courtney, A., & Whipple, T. (1983). Sex stereotyping in advertising. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
Goffman, E. (1979). Gender advertisements. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Links
Jennifer Pilkenton http://jenniferp19.blogspot.com/

So after our guest speakers came to talk to us I really started stressing out about being a journalist. I don't know if I can do it. I really want to have like ten kids and live out in the country and have a family life. But then again i don't want to be another statistic that drops out of journalism. I love this major and the thrill of being a journalist. I only have one year left of school so I want to finish, I just wonder what other jobs are out there for journalists if I do decide I hate it. I was a broadcast meterology student at Texas A&M and just transferred here last year because I decided I like the television aspect more than the science. But now I'm wondering if I made the wrong decision because I love the weather and there are more than enough jobs for meterologists with families. I'm just so confused!

I was in Graham this weekend with my boyfriend for Memorial Day. We were on a boat with his parents and some of their friends and they started talking about media. It all started because they were discussing what a great day Memorial Day was and how we should really respect our fallen heros. Then they moved on to discuss how media depicts the military. I was suprised at how upset they are with the media's depiction of the war and military efforts. I know it's a journalist job to report news unbiased so why are these people so outraged with the media. They basically felt that the media is pushing people to see the negative side of the war and not appreciate what the honorable men in our country are doing. If it weren't for them we wouldn't be living the way we do or be allowed to have to freedom of speech that we have. I think that our media needs to be a little more careful on the way they are depicting our country because it really is upsetting alot of people.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yesterday in class we were talking about how kids are sponges and absorb lots of information. So if thats true why do parents stick their children in front of a t.v. all day long? I was around my boyfriend's 4 year old sister all weekend and everything I did she wanted to do. Kids want to copy everything they see. So if there is so much violence and sex on t.v. why are parents allowing their kids to be exposed to these types of things? If you want a kid to experience real things in life, let them play outside!!! I know I've learned alot more about life by actually experiencing them then watching someone on t.v. do the same things.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I grew up watching Disney and I personally don't think that they put in perverted subliminal messages. I think it's a bunch of people with sick minds trying to make something out of nothing. Do they seriously have nothing better to do than sit around and pause Disney movies in hopes of finding something disturbing? I mean these movies are mostly targeted towards kids and they aren't usually sitting around looking for that kind of stuff. I know I never was.
I found a link that shows some of the "subliminal messages" that Disney supposedly has.

http://snopes.com/disney/films/films.asp

In class we talked about the portrayal of the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast. I can see where the psychologist was coming from in her thesis of the Beast. I never grew up in a family like that so that never crossed my mind. However when the class talked about how the Beast might have scarred little girls into thinking they NEED a bad boy, I don't agree. Disney showed more Prince Charming's than Beasts. I think when I was little I always wanted to find a handsome Prince to sweep me off my feet.
We also discussed why Scar was "black" and Mufasa was "light." I do not think this had anything to do with race. Scar was evil and darkness represents evil. You wouldn't expect to see a devil in a movie dressed in all white. Those colors are associated with heaven and angels. It's not a race issue at all.

This weekend I watched Crash. I really enjoyed this movie. I had to watch it two times in order to really analyze it, because the first time I got wrapped up in the movie. I picked out 4 characters in the movie that I thought were stereotyped in the movie. The movie is about stereotypes so all of the characters were made out to look a certain way.
Thandie Newton played Christine a black woman married to a movie producer. In most of the movie she is dressed partially clad and can give of the stereotypical impression of a mad black woman. I noticed that when she got in a fight with her husband, even though he was wrong, she was expected to apologize first. I think this is something a lot of men expect women to do. Our society expects women to "obey" their husbands.
Sandra Bullock plays Jean a white woman who is married to the District attorney. She is a housewife that can be seen as a snobby emotional bitch. I found it interesting that in one scence her husband suggests that she quit griping and check on the kids. It's almost her duty as a woman to play housewife 24-7 while he deals with business.
Matt Dillion plays Officer Ryan, a white male cop who is a complete jerk! It's a sad to say but that's pretty much how I view all cops. I have never ran into a cop that I actually liked.
Shaun Toub plays Farhad a Persian store owner. He is portrayed as an ignorant, stubborn man with broken English. People believe that the family is Arab and destroy their store. Even though he is not Arab, he is still stereotyped as being hostile.
The movie was right on target about stereotypes. Even though it's wrong to do, they exist and alot of the time they are accurate. I really liked the message that this movie gave and in the end everyone "crashed" into eachother. It just goes to show you never really know the impact your life has on the rest of the world.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The other day in class we talked about women that are sportscasters. I was wacthing t.v. last night and on the man show they were making fun of female broadcasters. I think being a female sportscaster would be a really tough job. Being that its predominatly males, I would imagine that females are often ridiculed in sports. I would love to be a sportscaster, out there talking to all the major league players. However, I know nothing about sports and I don't think I would ever be qualified for a job like that. Maybe these women are offered jobs as sportscasters just because they have sex appeal. If they are taking these jobs for those reasons than its their fault that they are not taken seriously. If a women really wants to be respected in that business she needs to have knowledge about the sport rather than just look beautiful. She's setting as teroetype that all beautiful women have no brains.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I was thinking about the article we discussed in class about how children should only watch around 1-2 hours of television per day. I'm glad that someone did a study on this. I babysit these kids and all they do is watch t.v. I mean the 2 year old baby has a t.v in his room that he has to watch for about 2 hours before he falls asleep. I think it's crazy that a two year old has a t.v. in his room. What happenned to kids playing outside? When I was little I was always doing something outside. And I lived in San Antonio, so it's not like I was in the middle of the country where it's "more safe" to let your children play outside. And we wonder why this country is obese. You don't exactly burn alot of calories sitting in front of the t.v. all day. And I think these activites continue on into adulthood. I still don't like to watch alot of t.v. I mainly use it as a source for news and weather. It's more fun to engage yourself in a healthy active lifestyle, than to sit around a watch crap all day!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Magazines chose the race of the women in their ads."

Two sentence summary of findings:
Magazines that are geared towards white female audiences feature more white women in the ads. Magazines that are black female oriented feature more black women in their ads.

Summary of the previous study:
The previous study by Christina N. Baker ("Images of women’s sexuality in advertisements," January 2005, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research) reveals that the images of women vary by the race of the audience and the race of the women in the advertisements. After looking through eight mainstream magazines, she also concluded that White women are most often pictured in White-oriented magazines and Black women were most often pictured in Black-oriented magazines. The images of white women were more likely to be portrayed as submissive and dependent on men. In women’s magazines the women pictured were trying to obtain beauty through a certain product and in the men’s magazines the woman was seen as an attractive product that men were trying to obtain.

Its most important foundation literature and how it relates to your own project:
The most relevant foundation literature for this study is the work by Goffman ("Gender Advertisements," 1979), and his analysis of gender stereotypes. The researcher mentions his work and ideas several times throughout her analysis. Goffman believed that advertisements help to construct the basis for masculinity and femininity. He also created a code for analyzing ads that Baker used to help determine her coding system.
The coding system helped me in coding the race of the women depicted in the advertisements.

Corpus and Method:
My corpus comprises all full-page ads in the June 2006 issues of Cosmopolitan and Essence magazine. The method is quantitative content analysis, in which the woman in each ad is coded by race, either white, black or other.

Findings:
Cosmopolitan magazine included 85 full-page ads with women as the main character. Fifty-nine of the women depicted were white, 10 were black and 16 were of another race. Sixty-nine percent of the women in the ads were whites, around 12 percent were black and around nineteen percent were of another race. Essence magazine included 58 full-page ads with women as the main character. Fifty of the women were coded as black, 6 were white and 2 were of another race. Eighty-six percent of the women in this magazine were black, 10 percent were white and about 3 percent were of another race.

Conclusions:
My mini study had similar information compared to the original study. It is true that more white women are depicted in ads from white magazines and more black women are depicted in ads from black magazines. The number of "other" races in the white magazines has significantly risen. America wants to be seen as a diverse nation but they can’t look past the race issue. I understand that these magazines are trying to market their target audience, but this research shows it might be a little extreme. I mean does it really matter if the girl in a tampon ad is black or white. Almost every girl wears them, so it shouldn’t matter which race is featured.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I started the assignment due on Thursday today. In two women's magazine's I have to compare the number of ads that portray white, black, and other races. One magazine is considered a white magazine and the other is geared toward black women. I started by looking at the ads in the white magazine and was shocked by the number of white ads compared to black. However when I turned to the black magazine there was the same large gap in the number of black ads compared to white. In class we always talk about how minorities are discriminated against. But if the black magazine can get away with feauturing only black women, why can't the white women's magazine do the same thing. Women in both magazines were both portrayed as sex objects and mothers and professionals etc. I think that the magazine just appeals to its audience, which advertising is supposed to do. I don't think that its about discrimination if both magazines are doing the same thing.