Monday, 25 March 2013

Gender stereoptyping in magazines

Yesterday I was unfortunate enough to see a copy of The Sun's men's magazine. Despite The Sun duly receiving criticism for Page 3 (Sign the petition to end Page 3 if you haven't already) they decided to produce a male magazine laden with sexism. This is even obvious from the website:
A magazine for men therefore there has to be a 'sexy' women as the first picture?!
This is followed by a feature where a 'hot girl' tells a joke, a joke that is supposed to humour only men. (I feel there's also a criticism of female comedians in this feature...)

As well as this obvious objectification, this magazine, alongside Fabulous magazine that it was adjoined with, promote ridiculous gender stereotypes. The first page of the magazine for men had a picture telling them cuts of meat...because only men like meat?!
Although the argument of "separatism" does raise debate in itself, it seems generally (very generally) men and women have some different interests. (I say "it seems" as this to me is mainly due to society's gender stereotyping). However, a magazine can still be aimed at a particular sex as there are magazines aimed at different ages, races or of a particular sexuality. This can be seen from Stylist, a free magazine given out in London, that is aimed at women but doesn't just assume that: they will want to cook family meals in comparison to no mention of cooking in a men's magazine; they want to read ChickLit (although I'm not devaluing this literature) in comparison to men reading Stephen King; women want cleaning and household tips (Magazines such as Best etc.) in comparison to business tips for a man. Stylist magazine doesn't give women advice on how they can please others in particular men with the way they look or what they can do sexually, but how to be happy and successful in themselves.

I also need to consider the POV of a man; perhaps they want a magazine where there are book reviews that do not assume they like a certain type of literature or want recipes for meals they can cook for other people. Furthermore, a big problem of these male magazines in particular is that they assume all men  want to stare at boobs. Not only is this reducing men down to ape like creatures, which those who I have spoke to do not appreciate, but also that the norm is for men to be heterosexual. Although this is also a problem in magazine's for women at least we can flick through in the dentist without seeing a penis protruding from the pages.

Therefore, why can't we have magazines that perhaps do interest different sexes (I can't deny I love clothes more than all the men I know put together): but do not presume that these differences are based on stereotypes that objectify and degrade women to objects that are there to please men and to look after people.

Antonia Sales

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