Mandi's Messages

Friday, June 02, 2006

“Increasing sexual content in magazines for women”


Introduction

Sexually explicit advertisements including explicit physical contact are increasing in magazines with primarily male or female readership. General interest magazines are more conservative but still depict women more explicitly than men. Women dominate ads and are dressed more provocatively. I will be expanding on my mini-study. I will include discussion regarding gazing, stereotypes, framing, consumer culture, and media practices.

Corpus

Three types of magazines were reviewed. A June 2006 issue of Esquire was used to represent the men’s magazine, a June 2006 Cosmopolitan represented the women’s magazine, and a May 2006 issue of Time represented general interest. I reviewed all the full page ads in these magazines with one distinct adult male or female model, excluding the ads with hands, feet, or head only. Illustrated ads were not included. The method used was both quantitative and qualitative. Ads within these magazines with one main character were coded based on gender. Main models were coded based on their dress. The level of physical contact was coded for each qualified ad. Ads with leading female characters were further examined. Time and Esquire advertisements were eventually eliminated due to the minimal amount of qualified advertisements in comparison to Cosmopolitan. Because Cosmopolitan is a magazine directed at female readers, I channeled my focus to those ads exclusively to determine the messages women were receiving about themselves. I analyzed the ads for stereotypes, gazing, and framing.

Literature Review

The case “Cheesecake and Beefcake” by Reichert, Lambiase, Morgan, Carstarphen, & Zavoina, dated spring 1999, was my base for this study. There has been an increase in explicit ads of both males and females including sexual contact. This study found an increase in the amount of ads depicting women in a sexual context “three to one” compared to men. Explicit ads are increasing in magazines predominantly for men and women more than general interest.

The above case included different levels of physical contact to distinguish sexual material. Contact ranged from “no contact and simple contact such as holding hands, to intimate contact of kissing and embracing, and very intimate contact such as the depiction of suggestion or sexual behavior” I used these classifications to code ads with explicit contact. “Intimate and very intimate contact” were considered explicit.

“Taking it Off” by Soley and Reid in 1988 classified four categories of dress. The amount of clothing worn by a model, and the manner in which the clothing was worn determined sexual representation. “The four groups included demure, suggestive, partially clad, and nude.” Demure consisted of daily wear. Suggestive dress incorporated clothing that exposed the “upper body.” “Bathing suits and underwear” defined partially-clad. Nude encompassed silhouettes and “suggestion of nudity.” I used these categories to code the advertisements by dress.

In addition to physical contact and dress, I appraised other aspects of the text such as gaze. An example of gazing is when “men watch women, and women watch themselves being looked at” (Reichert & Lambiase, 2006, p. 203). With gaze, a woman becomes an object. When coding, I distinguished gaze from framing “licensed withdrawal” by including only photographs with obvious facial expressions such as happy or sad. Gazing eyes were open and visible. Two different gazes were identified. Some models gazed directly at the camera, and some gazed away from the camera. Models in fashion ads often are gazing. The gaze implies power. “The gazer is superior to the object in gaze” (Reichert & Lambiase, 2006, p.224). Does this mean women in fashion advertising are powerful? The women are not powerful if their intended gaze was for a man. Vagueness surrounds the gaze because “sexualized women in ads are created for women to look at” (Reichert & Lambiase, 2006, p. 203). This leads me to a study where “women have the same stereotypes of women as men do” (Tuchman, 1979, p. 535).

Stereotypes are easy to produce. They require little thought and make things easier. Stereotypes are simplex, generalities. Technically to classify all women together in society is a stereotype. When we say ads are created for women, do we really mean all women or women in general? For the purpose of this project I will say all women in general, but in reality an ad can not be created that is appealing to every woman. Stereotypes are the process of “symbolic reinforcement” that teaches both adults and children about their own gender roles (Meyers, 1999, p.8). Because stereotypes are used in advertising, it is important to determine what they are and what they are telling us about ourselves. Male employees dominate mass media, therefore their attitudes and opinions may dominate as well. My research focus was aimed at women in advertising, the message in pictures, and the role of society involved. I wanted to shed light on the increase of sexually explicit ads containing women. Understanding sexually explicit ads with discernable females may help us understand why those particular ads are increasing over similar ads with males. Gender is more than DNA, it is a “cultural accomplishment” (Shields & Heinecken, 2002, p. x). Because media may be shaping cultural views about gender, I found it important to study each female ad for stereotypes. Stereotypes were identified as one-dimensional characters.

Goffman’s frame analysis from 1976 was used to code the way women were captured in photos. The factors looked at were “relative size, feminine touch, function ranking, ritualization, licensed withdrawal, and the family.” Using Goffman’s description of “relative size,” I determined who was physically larger. “Feminine touch,” consisted of touching or caressing an object. “Function ranking” existed when one person was portrayed as superior. “Ritualization of subordination” was identified when one appeared more powerful than another, or someone was portrayed as submissive. “Licensed withdrawal” was defined as psychologically removed. “The family” depicted a family relationship.

Consumers need media literacy. Without education and research the average consumer does not see things such as stereotypes in advertising. It is impossible for the images seen in mass media not to have an effect on consumers. This may be a subconscious or unconscious message, but it does affect the way we view ourselves and each other.
I looked at these ads differently than the average person on the street. It is important to be critical about what we see as an audience. When we make choices, our decisions can be influenced by what we have learned from media. Reichert and Lambiase explain in their book “Sex in Consumer Culture,” dated 2006, how sex is used to sell products and services.

Cosmopolitan and Esquire are two of the magazines from my research. After determining the gap between male and female ads with female ads appearing more frequently, I concentrated on advertisements with lead female models. Cosmopolitan was present during the female revolution. It had its share of critics for literature content. Interestingly, my male representative Esquire and my general interest text Time were both critics of Cosmo (Streitmatter, 2004, p.76). Streitmatter’s book reflects on the sexual revolution and a time when “the boy’s club had gone co-ed.” Before Cosmopolitan, sex was viewed predominately in men’s magazines and general interest publications. Cosmopolitan is a women’s magazine, and in my study it possessed more sexually explicit ads featuring women than Esquire or Time. It is important to analyze these advertisements because women are learning about themselves from these ads. Advertising has been called “the most powerful force determining human behavior in our society” (Singer, 1986, p. 2).
Results

The general interest magazine Time had 4 full page ads, 2 of women and 2 of men. Both men were dressed demurely and both women were dressed suggestively. There was no explicit physical contact in any of these ads. Men’s Esquire had 23 male ads and 9 female. Of the 23 male ads, 20 were dressed demurely. A total of 3 male ads were sexually explicit consisting of 2 partially-clad and 1 nude. Twice as many sexually explicit ads contained women including 1 suggestive and 5 partially-clad. The 3 remaining female ads were dressed demurely. Esquire had 5 ads with explicit physical contact. Cosmopolitan magazine had 49 ads of women and 9 of men. Of the 49 women in full page ads, 32 were dressed suggestively, 7 were dressed partially-clad, and 3 were nude. Only 7 of the 49 female ads were dressed demurely. The 9 men’s ads consisted of 6 demure and 3 partially-clad. A total of 8 Cosmopolitan ads contained sexually explicit contact.

After determining the large amount of female sexually explicit ads in Cosmopolitan, in comparison to Esquire and Time, I narrowed my focus to Cosmopolitan only. The remainder of my study at that point, involving gaze, stereotypes, and framing, only reflected sexually explicit ads in Cosmopolitan depicting female lead characters. Gaze in advertising has been said to denote power. What about these ads contain so much power? “The male gaze converts to mirrored gaze” (Reichert & Lambiase, 2006, p.203). Women gazing in pictures are reflecting the power of the viewer, the male. What about magazines for women, such as Cosmopolitan? We are conditioned by media to assume the woman is looking at a man. I found 12 ads with gazing. Of the 12 ads, 7 were gazing directly at the camera, and 5 were gazing away from the camera.

Sex stereotypes prevailed. Of the 8 ads in Cosmopolitan with explicit contact, 6 had lead female characters. The women appeared sexual and were shown as aggressors in 5 of the 6 ads. “Photography enhances the shine of fetish garments with flash, studio lighting, and image tone” (Reichert & Lambiase, 2003, p. 82). Even though many of the women in these ads were not wearing hosiery, the lighting and tone created the appearance of it. “The shiny quality of hosiery is used to sell many products other than itself.” Every women incorporated shine. I found shiny black clothing that resembled leather and some with metal, black patent leather shoes, a fishnet hat, lace, strapy clothing, and animal print. “Fetishism may perpetuate sexual stereotypes and gender stereotypes; women are most often the object of fetishistic attention.” One ad for Zest soap featured a nude woman seen through a cutout in the shape of the letter “z”. Sharp points of the cut out were aimed at her body, one in the middle of her throat. Her head was tilted back with her mouth was wide open. Most people would look at the photo and think she was enjoying the sprays of water surrounding her body, but I saw something different. To me, the sharp object in her throat resembled a knife, the sprays of water resembled blood, and her expression was that of a scream or gasp. One Olay Body ad featured a nude women in water surrounded with shiny ribbons that seemed restrictive. She was is a fetal position and appeared lifeless.

One stereotype is the “perfect woman”. Every picture in Cosmopolitan magazine included a beautiful woman. The only photo resembling a real woman was the ad for Dove. Every woman in the qualified ads had a perfectly flawless body. This perfection does not reflect reality. Every woman in the qualified ads was attractive. Another stereotype is that “attractive is good” (Reichert & Lambiase, 2006, p. 247). We should buy products because a pretty person told us to. These attractive women also lead to the stereotype of “sexual warmth” where viewers relate appeal to sex and relationships. This can be damaging to the image of women when women depicted in mass media are defined in one of two categories, as either “a sex object or family such as mother or wife” (Tuchman, 1979, p.531).

The only cell phone ads contained black rappers, and only 1 of the ads was female. Their environment was plush and depicted a party scene. This enforces the stereotype that black people are rappers or live the lifestyle of one.

Of 49 female ads, 37 were framed with licensed withdrawal using Goffman’s “Gender Advertisements”. The women were psychologically removed from their environment. The women had “blank stares.” They were neither happy nor sad. Few of the ads had more than one person. Of the 37 ads, 1 included “ritualization subordination” where a man knelt before a woman. There were 5 ads of “function ranking” where one person appeared superior to another. Assistants were included in 2 ads, and 3 were sexual with dominating women. I found 3 ads framed by “relative size”. An ad for Cotton had a defensive woman appearing to explain herself to a man in a business setting. Even though the man’s picture was blurry, he was closer to the camera and larger in size, exuding power. One ad with 3 ladies was dominated by the one in the middle. She was facing forward and the other 2 were turned. The woman in the middle was in front of the others, and the girls o the side were cut off. I also coded a Veet ad with an intimate couple as being framed by “relative size”. The male was larger than the female. I found no “feminine touch” or “family” framing. The only two categories of framing that were not sexually explicit were not found. There was a missing air of family. Based on Tuchman’s stereotype research, women are only classified into two categories, and if they are not family such as wife or mother, than they are a sexual object.


Conclusion

I am worried about where our society is headed. There has been a rise in the amount of sexually explicit material produced by mass media. The explicit material depicts both men and women, but more women than men. This increase has been seen in magazines for men such as Esquire, and women’s magazines such as Cosmopolitan. I found the amount of sexually explicit material in the woman’s magazine greatly exceeded that of the man’s magazine. I was concerned about a woman’s magazine portraying a greater amount of women in negative ads. Women learn about themselves and others through media. With Social learning theory, women may try to imitate or identify with models in media (Baran & Davis, 2006, p. 195-196). It is impossible to imitate perfection. Stereotypes of the “perfect woman” mislead the public and depict a false reality. “Media images can cause one to hate their own body” (Shields & Heinecken, 2002, x). This deception can damage self-esteem and self-confidence. The stereotype “attractive is good” is telling society that attractive people are honest, trustworthy, and that we should like them. This is a dangerous lesson.

Women today are still a minority and media is helping to sustain that status. Because media are dominated by male employees, media are lacking a female voice. The minimal amount of female media employees are influenced by males. “Female editors of women’s pages have virtually the same priorities and preferences as their male counterparts” (Tuchman, 1979, p. 535). Studies show that viewing sexual images in advertising can lead to sexual aggression and the rejection of feminism (MacKay & Covell, 1997). It is hard to view sexually explicit advertising and not be effected by it. Maybe women in media are surrounded by the explicit material and are altered by that.

Stereotypes are teaching adults and children gender roles through social conditioning and gender role socialization. Gender is a “cultural accomplishment” and conveys gender identity (Shields & Heinecken, 2002, xi). Magazines directed to female audiences might be filled with ads depicting women in a sexually explicit way to deter them from feministic beliefs and views. The majority of women in ads are alone, isolated, eliminating themselves from communication. A powerful force is targeting women through advertising.

I hope the amount of women pursuing the field of Journalism increases, and I hope they continue working in that field. Because advertising can influence human behavior, it is important to monitor advertisements and determine their effects. It is important to educate society and increase media literacy, especially in children. I think if we start media literacy at a young age, we can limit media effects. Sex sales and we need change that.


Bibliography

Baran, S. J., & Davis, D. K. (2006). Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Goffman, E. (1976). Gender Advertisements. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Heller, S. (2000). Sex Appeal: The Art of Allure in Graphic and Advertising Design. NY: Allworth Press.
MacKay, N. J. & Covell, K. (May 1997). The Impact of Women in Advertisements on Attitudes Toward Women. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, Vol. 36, No. 9-10, p. 573-583. Springer Netherlands.
Meyers, Marian. (1999). Mediated Women: Representations in Popular Culture. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, Inc.
Reichert, Tom (2003). The Erotic History of Advertising. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
Reichert, T., Lambiase, J., Morgan, S., Carstarphen, M., & Zavoina, S. (1999). Cheesecake and Beefcake: No matter how you slice it, sexual explicitness in advertising continues to increase. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Spring99, Vol. 76 Issue 1, p. 7-20, 14p, 4 charts; (AN1988072).
Reichert, T. & Lambiase, J. (2003). Sex in Advertising: Perspectives on the Erotic Appeal. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Reichert, T. & Lambiase, J. (2006). Sex in Consumer Culture: The Erotic Content of Media and Marketing. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Shields, V. R. & Heinecken, D. (2002). Measuring Up: How Advertising Affects Self Image. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Singer, B. D. (1986). Advertising & Society. Don Mills, Ontario: Addison-Wesley Publishers Limited.
Soley, L. C. & Reid, L. N. (1988). Taking It Off: Are Models in Magazine Ads Wearing Less? Journalism Quarterly, Winter88, Vol. 65, p. 960-66.
Streitmatter, R. (2004). Sex Sells! The Media’s Journey from Repression to Obsession. MA: Westview Press.
Tuchman, G. (1979). Women’s Depiction by the Mass Media. JSTOR, Review Essay, Sign, Spring79, Vol. 4, No. 3, p. 528-542. University of Chicago Press.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Race, Gender, and Media"

I really enjoyed this class. This class taught me a lot about gender, race, media, and advertising. Although I already knew that advertising was deceiving, I didn’t really know why. I enjoyed the projects and blog. The research helped to channel focus and understand more about the topics discussed in class. I will never look at an ad or character the same as I did before this class. Advertising is full of stereotypes and framing. Unfortunately society accepts what they see and don’t put much thought into it. We as a society have become lazy and allow other people to do the work for us. We are too trusting and need to be more critical. Much of society has a false reality based on mass media consumption. I don’t think the careers of journalist will be threatened in the future by technology or outsourcing. There is an abundant amount of information for people to digest and they look to journalist to decipher it. This leaves room for error and manipulation. We as journalist have a responsibility. Journalists have a lot of power and influence on society. I hope everyone will practice Cosmopolitanism and do the greater good for the society in which they themselves are a part. Currently media is dominated by male personalities, and I believe their attitudes and opinions are dominating as well. I hope more female journalist will stay in the field of journalism and continue their careers while contributing a female voice. I am afraid by the way things are going with the increase of material in mass media depicting women in a sexually explicit manner, that children today will grow up with negative beliefs about themselves and each other. We need to increase awareness and media literacy.

Monday, May 29, 2006

"Desperate Housewives"

Desperate Housewives has a character named Eva. This character is fun and flirtatious. She had an affair with her teenage gardener. She has kissed her friend’s husband. Eva models, wears suggestive clothing, has appeared nude on the internet, and appeared naked in public. I wonder if the character name came from the Ave and Eva idea where Eva depicts whore. I am curious if the name was intentionally related to the character role. Eva is the only Hispanic in her neighborhood. She was the only non-white woman until a black family moved in. All the other characters are white. Although many families in the neighborhood have their own share of problems, scandal, and dark secrets, the only black family came with crime. All the main characters are stationary and their problems came with time. The black family moved in harboring a criminal, a fugitive son accused of murder. Some of the other families have criminal ties but the past is forgotten and life has moved on. There is no other life for the black family other than harboring a criminal. The fugitive son was locked up like an animal in their home. The mother even contemplated killing her own son. None of the other families have thought about killing their children. One son framed the other and was going to let his mother kill his brother. No siblings in the neighborhood have tried to kill each other. The only husband on the block having an affair is the Hispanic man. He is having an affair with their Chinese maid. The young Chinese girl is also their chef and surrogate mother. She is depicted as subordinate but manipulative. This is the only family with servants. The women in Desperate Housewives are constantly desperate and fighting over men. One family has a homosexual son. His mother has been displeased with her son’s sexual orientation since being made aware of the situation. She has since then abandoned him. The grandparents had agreed to let their grandson move in with them until they were informed of his homosexual lifestyle, and they then left town without him and took away his trust fund. This show is full of stereotypes and discrimination.

"Crash"

Wow, what a great movie! Not only did this movie generate awareness in regards to discrimination and stereotypes, but it also addressed the connection of lives and effects. This movie reminds people that we are all human no matter what race or ethnicity. There is a great lack of education about race, ethnicity, and discrimination. Discrimination can come in any form or color. The movie depicted discrimination against multiple races. The main plot lacked representation of Native Americans. I liked the opening dialect about how “we crash to feel.” So many people today are out of touch with their emotions and oblivious to reality. The movie is filled with impacts both physical and emotional that prompt feelings. We are a world of colliding cultures, but many don’t want to accept it. In the scene where the father and daughter are buying the gun, the store representative makes sexual remarks to the women after her father leaves the room. He talks about holes and bangs. One of the two men stealing cars said black people don’t steal from other blacks, and the ones who did were scared of white people. That was one of many stereotypes spoken by that character. Later in the movie they seem surprised when the car they tried to carjack was driven by a black man. Even though the driver was angry, he didn’t turn the carjacker in, and even gave him his gun back. Maybe this was because he had been a victim of discrimination himself and felt the need to help another black man. Maybe the victim didn’t want to subject a black man to the law after a previous encounter with a bad cop. I wonder if the victim would have had a different response had he not been assaulted previously by the law. Was he partial because of race? The police in this movie were depicted negatively. The one cop who started out good had a bad ending. Both a white and black man refused to believe the black character who like hockey. This was another stereotype, that a black man can’t like hockey. The white man running the auto theft ring had an accent. He was portrayed as the leader, and I think the accent was added to increase his status and assumed intelligence. The Hispanic housekeeper was another stereotype. Another trend I found throughout the movie was children taking care of parents. There was a son taking care of his sick father, a daughter helping her father who didn’t speak good English, a son taking care of his mother, and a small child that may have saved her dads life. This brings me to the gunshot at the child, and I wonder if the ammunition bought was blanks. If blanks were bought, was this the gun store’s intention or the daughter’s choice?

"Son Discovers Knitting, Mom Discovers Comfort"

The mother of a 7-year-old boy named Isaac finds comfort in her son’s new hobby of knitting. A teacher taught a group of first-grade boys including Isaac how to knit after they showed interest in her knitting tote. She taught them how to knit using their fingers instead of needles. I wonder if she showed them how to use their fingers instead of needles because they are young or because they are boys. The mother emphasized that the boys were not making doilies or baby sweaters but instead making snakes, they were using their fingers, and that she was “selfishly happy”. This makes me think that the mother is only comforted by the fact that her son was making “boy” things in a “boy” way. Would she not be happy if he were making doilies or baby sweaters or using knitting needles? She seems a little defensive of her image, her son’s image, or both their images. Even the title is ironic, as though a mother should not find comfort in her son knitting. Some parents are worried when their sons want to play with baby dolls. The stereotypical roles of males and females are changing, but there is still a great amount of belief in them. Mass media add to this stereotype be not depicting reality. The boys talk and relax while knitting. Isaac prefers knitting to TV on week days. I think less TV is good for children. I am glad this article was published. This story can show other parents the possibilities and benefits in exchange for TV, but some of the points stressed may lead readers to believe that this hobby comes with stipulation.

DALLASNEWS.COM

"The Female Image"

Jean Kilbourne’s common media effects discussed women today being viewed as objects. There was one scene shown of a perfume bottle shaped like the bodice of a woman. I can see how this may represent a woman as something other than human, but I agree with the comments of one student in class. The beauty of women has been depicted in art throughout time. I think the female body is beautiful. When I saw the perfume bottle in the video, I actually liked it. I remembered later a couple of items I own that depict the female image. I have a piece of art made of glass that resembles the shape of a woman. I also have a necklace holder shaped like the female body. At the time when I bought these items, I felt as though I was celebrating the female figure and embracing my own gender. After watching the video I still like these items, but look at them in a different way. Neither item I own has a face. The curves are well defined, but they have no identity. When I looked up the word “body” in my Word Thesaurus, I got words such as corpse, organization, bulk, and quantity. The body has been distinguished from spirit, mind, soul, and individuality. Is it wrong to depict the female anatomy in objects? I think it is misleading to illustrate a basic female structure when all women look different. There is no universal size, so an ideal image has been created. Women that do not resemble the manufactured shape may feel inadequate. Once again media literacy is important.

"Getting an Education in Girl Power"

I think the summit for young girls on body image is wonderful. Self esteem and self concept are key elements in shaping one’s perception. People are influenced by media and need education about what they see. It is important for children to understand that the perfect images portrayed by media are not the norm. The girl interviewed was 12 years old. That is a great age to increase awareness, the time around puberty and boys. This is also a good age group because many that age watch MTV and read magazines. I think Girls Inc. could expand their age groups and have summits for all ages. I think school age audiences are appropriate provided the content is altered for the age groups. When children enter school they are exposed to other children and information. Age 6 could benefit from girl power advice. Boys can also benefit from the messages regarding both themselves and their perception of girls. Maybe if boys were educated young about the image of women, they might not be as influenced by media in later years. The article states one radical solution, turning the TV off. This was a surprising solution. Why educate the girls about what they see in media if they are not going to watch it. Without viewing TV, they may forget about what they have learned. Although too much TV or inappropriate TV can have negative effects, it is almost impossible to avoid forever. The girls armed with education can now criticize what they see. They should probably eliminate certain programs or reduce the amount they consume, but with internet, print media, and advertising, they are going to be exposed in one way or another. The opening paragraph called the girls tweens. I have no idea what a tween is, but I am guessing a twelve year old teen. Is this a stereotype? The summit was called Sister 2 Sister. The article included pictures of black girls and referenced Beyonce’ Knowles’. Was this an all black summit? I uphold cosmopolitanism and am concerned about every member of the human race. I think a summit including every race would bring people together and reduce stereotypes.

DALLASNEWS.COM

"American Idol"

American Idol is impossible to avoid. I followed season 1 consistently and most of season 5 that just concluded. I was influenced to watch from all the publicity. Even though I didn’t watch the other seasons, I know who won because of mass media. I hear American Idol talk on the radio while driving in my car. I see it on television and in the newspaper. Three of the five seasons came down to 1 male and 1 female finalist. Season 2 had two men, but Clay Aiken displayed some feminine qualities and was rumored to be homosexual. All finalists have been white except for Fantasia and Diana from season 3, and Ruben Studdard from season 2. Even though Ruben Studdard won season 2, he seems to have disappeared from media spotlight. Clay Aiken was not the winner on season 2, but he has maintained a large amount of popularity, is still being talked about by media, and made a guest appearance on the season 5 finale. Could this be because Ruben is black and Clay is White? I have heard that Kelly Clarkson currently wants no part of American Idol. Of all the past finalists, why were Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken the only performers on the season 5 finale? The other 2 winners Ruben and Fantasia did not participate. I wonder if they were invited. Of all the past seasons, the two black winners have received less attention from American Idol and media. Season 5 came down to 3 men and 1 woman. Katharine McPhee was not favored by the judges and did not have a huge following. Chris Daughtry was a favorite of the judges and many people thought he would be the next Idol. Many were shocked when Chris was voted off leaving Katharine to continue. Is it possible that American Idol can manipulate votes to alter the results? There are online petitions saying people who called in to vote for Chris got Katharine’s recording. Could this be an intentional media controversy or the result of media influence? Past finales with one male and one female seem to have gotten the most attention. Season 3 with two women and season 2 with 2 men seem to be the ones with forgotten contestants.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

"Tot TV Comes With Parental Guidance"


I love children and care greatly about their development and well-being. I think some TV is fine. Some television can be educational and stimulate the brain. Children can learn to count, spell, create, sing, and socialize from television. Many young children are confined to the home and do not get much socialization. I think it is very important for children to interact with the outside world and prepare for their future. Children’s TV can help with pronunciation and language. I encourage the expansion of one’s immediate existence. Although one on one time is probably best for children under the age of two, the reality is that most parents work and are limited with time. I don’t think parents should plant their children in front of the TV for long periods of time, take advantage of the distraction, manipulate the situation, or rely of television alone to fulfill their child’s time, but I do think it can be used in a positive, resourceful way. This study doesn’t specify if children are having television time alone. Some parents may participate with the child while watching TV Just because the t.v. is on doesn’t mean anyone is watching it. It could be background noise. The TV may run when the family is outside. The study states the large amount of young children with TV in their bedroom, but those under the age of two probably can’t access the television alone. Children that young can not be help responsible for their own television habits. Parents should be held accountable for the development of their own child.

DALLASNEWS.COM

"Merchants of Cool"


In regards to the documentary pulled from Highland Park high school, I’m not so sure I agree with the decision. One woman complained and the documentary is taken away. Because one person disagrees with the content, other students will not benefit from the video. The article includes disagreement of the video from one parent and one student. It doesn’t say that the student is related to the parent. The child of the parent complaining may have enjoyed the documentary. I think it is better to watch the video with an educated teacher in an environment where students can have discussion and obtain advice. Students watching the video on their own are left in the dark about what they see. They will have to draw their own conclusions without an informative opinion. A teacher can guide students in the right direction regarding this material. I doubt the teacher had bad intentions when showing this video. Most children are exposed to this material in life at a much earlier age. The Britney Spears scene was a clip shown during an award show on a major broadcast station. I have seen more provocative material in MTV videos, than what I saw in Merchants of Cool. The documentary was from PBS. The complaining parent also requested letters of apology to all parents, but not all parents are complaining. If all parents were asked, I don't think most parents would have a problem with the video.

DALLASNEWS.COM

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

“Increasing sexual content in magazines for women and men"

Two sentence summary of findings:
I found that there are more sexually explicit advertisements and more explicit physical contact in women’s and men’s magazines than general interest magazines. Women dominated these ads and were dressed more provocatively.

Summary of the previous study:
The previous study found a larger amount of explicit advertisements and more explicit physical contact in magazines for men and women than general interest magazines. This case found an increase in explicit depictions of both genders and sexual contact in pictures from 1983 to 1993. Although there had been an increase in these portrayals of both men and women, “women were three times more likely to be portrayed than men.” Over time, sexual content in mass media has increased.

Its most important foundation literature and how it relates to your own project:
The most significant study used in this case is that of Soley and Reid, “Taking It Off” to classify model dress in into four categories: demure, suggestive, partially revealing, and nude. This grouping helped measure explicit advertising over time, and supported the claim of increased amounts of women in these ads.

I also think Effects of Advertising Communications: Review of Research by Belch, Belch, and Villarreal is very important literature relating to my purpose in this project. Many studies have shown that large or unsuitable amounts of sexual content can lead to negative effects. An increase of sexual content will lead to an increase in negative effects. Society today already has a large amount of sexual activity in young teens. Children today are growing up in an environment full of sexual advertising and women are increasingly depicted as sexual objects. My main concern in children today is their self confidence, self esteem, ideas about women, sex, and intimacy, and their future behavior. I really think there needs to be an increase of education about the effects of explicit advertising.

Corpus and method:
I used examples from the case study for men’s, women’s, and general interest magazines. I included a June 2006 issue of Esquire to represent the men’s magazine, a June 2006 Cosmopolitan to represent the women’s magazine, and a May 2006 issue of Time magazine was included for general interest. Similar to the case study, I reviewed full page ads excluding those with only illustrations, feet, or hands. Ads coded were those including at least one discernible adult model. With quantitative and qualitative methods I determined if the main model was male or female, the level of physical contact involved, and the male or female dress.

Findings:
With general interest Time magazine I found 2 women and 2 men. The men were demurely dressed and both women were suggestive. There was no explicit physical contact. Esquire had 23 male ads and 9 female. Three male ads consisted of 2 partially-clad and 1 nude. The ads of women included 1 suggestive and 5 partially-clad. There were 5 ads with explicit physical contact. Cosmopolitan magazine had 49 ads of women and 9 of men. Of the 49 women in full page ads, 32 were suggestive, 7 were partially-clad, and 3 were nude. Of the 9 men, 3 were partially-clad. There were 9 ads with explicit contact.

Conclusions:
The general interest magazine is conservative compared to men’s and women’s magazines. There was a small amount of full page ads. It had equal full page ads of men and women, but the women were dressed suggestively in all and men in none. Esquire had more male ads than female, but the percentage of women dressed provocatively was much higher. Only 13% of the male ads were explicit compared to 67% of the female ads. The men’s magazine had more intimate contact than the general interest. Women dominated the ads in Cosmopolitan 49 to 9. Of the female ads, 88% were explicit. Only 33% of the male ads were explicit. The women’s magazine had more intimate physical contact than both the men’s magazine and general interest. The women’s magazine included more women, the men’s magazine included more men, and the general interest magazine included equal males and females. Overall, women are depicted in explicit advertising more than men. The general interest magazine portrayed women more provocatively than men 2 to 1. The men’s magazine explicitly depicted women more than 5 times that of men. It appears that the men’s magazine is accelerating in widening the gap of inequality.


Reichert, T., Lambiase, J., Morgan, S., Carstarphen, M., & Zavoina, S. (1999). Cheesecake and Beefcake: No matter how you slice it, sexual explicitness in advertising continues to increase. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly: Spring99, Vol. 76 Issue 1, p. 7-20, 14p, 4 charts; (AN1988072).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Dallas Moring News Metro Section"

I wanted to discuss the Dallas Morning News group project we worked on Thursday. I participated in the Metro section. The article I read regarded a log cabin from the Civil War-era being placed in Southlake. City Council rejected a committee request to place the log cabin in Summit Park. The City Council voted to make Bicentennial Park home for this cabin. One female City Council member was quoted as being disappointed about the decision. She was also co-chairman of the committee. A male Council member was quoted as being for the Bicentennial choice. I found it interesting that the article included a woman for the denied decision and a male for the chosen choice. Committee members consisted of residents and elected officials. This to me insinuates committee intent for member benefits. People moving into townhomes right next to Summit Park opposed the log cabin. Townhome owners do not account for all residents. Council did not respond to a previous request for site donation. Their response to an additional request was to appoint the committee. It appears the Council has been hesitant about action. This may be because of financial demands. The Historical Society was backing Summit Park and said the site was crucial for a restoration fundraising campaign. The committee estimated a cost of over $90,000 to restore and place the cabin. Funding is expected to come from city money in addition to grants and donations. No plans to begin this process have been made. I think this article portrays the committee as a minority, as being discriminated against by City Council.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Jessica Lynch vs. Shoshanna Johnson"

Jessica Lynch's physical characteristics have helped define her in mass media products. Her petite, attractive, white girl image helped create attention and focus. Shoshanna Johnson has a different appearance than that of Jessica Lynch. Shoshanna is black and not petite like Jessica. Even though Jessica was the first female POW to be released, I think Jessica's appearance had something to do with the amount of coverage she received. She had many interviews and a book deal. Jessica's picture was abundant on television and in print media. She was all over the news. I don't remember seeing much if anything about Shoshanna. It appears that mass media used Jessica to sell products. I don't have the statistics about POWs. I know a great many men have been taken captive in the past, but I can't name one. Jessica's misfortune created a great deal of money for mass media.

Natalie Holloway was also a beautiful girl. The pictures I have seen most are poses from her graduation day. I think that image portrays a model citizen, not the average girl.

Channel 5 news tonight broadcast multiple crime stories. One shooting story involved a hispanic male. One underage drinking story involved a white girl. The other two stories had unidentified suspects, but black people were interviewed about the crime. I think the black interviews created an image for the missing criminal. If news media depend on racism and crime for ratings, I think they will create it to have it if stories are hard to find.

"Great Class!"

I am really excited about this class. It appears to be a quest for improving society. Increased education about media influence and media effects are important to the future. I think we should be concerned about the environment children today are exposed to. The environment is ever changing. People and media have evolved. The content of mass media have become more explicit with time.

It amazes me that "Cinderella mythmaking" has survived in society. With the number of divorces today, one might think more people would be cynical. Reality shows incorporating the "Cinderella" theme are increasingly popular. This trend may have contributed to preserving the dream. People may be looking to escape their own reality for the ones created on television. Is this a positive or negative effect? Television may be distorting reality, but it can instill hope. Is hope misleading or a bad thing? Television may be creating dreams, but it may also be creating hostility when the dreams don't come true. I hope this class will help clarify some of those thoughts and questions.

I want to gain insight in this class to improve the skills that will be implemented into my performance as a responsible journalist. I think this class will create awareness and the issues involved can change the world.