At the beginning of the millennium, domestic violence is still an important problem which has deep social roots. According to statistical results it affects about 50% of all marriage couples and people living together. About 85-95% of all victims are females. Traditional gender roles establish specific relations between males and females and, as a result, influence cultural norms and values reflecting of these relations. Modern magazines popularize false social images of women as weak and light-minded which force men to treat their wives and girlfriends as submissive and obedient.
Thesis I suppose women are objectified in magazines as objects, leading men to feel they can treat them as such. Primarily, it is important to note that advertising is a powerful tool which controls the circulation of ideas and social norms. The role of magazine ads is so important because they become an interactive medium and an effective tool of propaganda. I suppose that the influence of magazine ads on domestic violence is so strong because they control the circulation of ideas about gender roles and women identities.
Many people, men or women borrow their identities from the popular magazines like Vogue, Time, People, etc. Through a gender-sensitive lens, advertisers portray how constructions of masculinity (agency, control, aggression) are not independent of, but rely upon, contrasting constructions of femininity (dependence, vulnerability, passivity). The aim of advertising in magazines is to create an image of a product as valued and popular. To some extent, this media influences consumers subconsciously.
Advertising in magazines is very important element of successful performance because it occupies the consumers’ minds with brand’s offer¬ings. This medium helps to establish confidence, trustworthiness and competence for customers, but, at the same time, it has a great impact on social role of people depicted. The role of magazine ads is tremendous because this media has started to play a dominant role in construction of personal identity. Magazines are the most popular reading nowadays attracting millions of people from different classes, races and social groups.
In modern magazines women are portrayed as weak and helpless in contrast to strong and powerful men. I agree with Susan Bordo’s interpretation of gender relations, who states that many magazines ads are an example of modernity where the role of body is crucial in contrast to soul and mind (Appendix Fig 1). Body image and construction of felinity depicts social dynamics of modern society and its values (for instance, abusive sexual relations). The term “the contemporary homophobic psyche” (Spikes 2003) can be applied to description of a modern woman as weak and helpless.
I suppose that in many cases, advertisers are exploited an image of submissive woman creating a certain message and emotional appeal (Appendix Fig 2). As a result, men perceive females as objects and threat them as such. The main problem is that gender is not simply a system of classification by which males and females are sorted, separated, and socialized into equivalent sex roles. Gender also expresses the universal inequality between women and men. When researchers speak about gender influences on a particular culture they also speak about hierarchy, power, and inequality, not simply difference (Napoli et al 2003).
To support this point of view, it is important to include statistical results and surveys. They state that women are the most unprotected category which experiences violence within the institution of marriage. Among women sexual abuse and physical violence are the main forms of humiliation and oppression. Just as feminists have sought to define rape as an act of violence, not a sexual act, it is right to remember that what is at stake in sexual abuse of an indigenous woman is the expression of male’s power and an inapposite sexual relationship.
“Three in four women (76 percent) who reported they had been raped and/or physically assaulted since age 18 said that a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, or date committed the assault. Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner” (Domestic Violence is a Serious, Widespread Social Problem in America, 2006). Interpreting these results, I guess domestic violence is a social problem influence by wrong social images of women popularized by magazine ads.
A negative portrayal of women as objects come from different magazine ads: How women dress, what music they listen to, and what they choose for entertainment, are all reflections of how strongly or weakly they embrace the culture. Rebellious has become firmly established in the society today in spite of the dangerous influence it has had on young people. I agree with the study by Kathryn Greene and Marina Krcmar (2005) who connect domestic violence with verbal aggression, argumentativeness and sensation seeking explaining both media choice and problem behavior.
This means that over a period of time, males come to feel that they are known the superheroes and perceived by friends and neighbors as such. Domestic violence and incest are the main forms of aggression depicted in magazines. Seeing “oppresses” women, males use domestic violence as the only possible way to prove their importance. They identify themselves with heroes who are strong and muscular. To explain this phenomenon I use Bordo’s explanation of such concept as a “material body” (Spikes 2003). Images of women as weak produced from material culture and a body is always associated with a material entity (Appendix Fig, 3).
I found that many magazine ads represent material construction of gender based on a visual territory in which the masculine characters affirm their dominance through the opposition, the feminine. Women are depicted as slender and attractive which inspire sexual desires and longing in men, and can lead to domestic violence Depicting idealized body images, advertisers tend to promote desire for a particular social culture which is aimed to satisfy longing. Female body images contrast with male bodies depicted as masculine, strong and handsome.
It is possible to say that male masculinity disrupts contemporary cultural studies accounts of masculinity which has cultural and social effects of male embodiment. Such accounts can only read male material body as the powerful and active alternative to female passivity and as the expression therefore of male subjectivities. For instance, studies provided by K. Lindner show that “Women are also often shown in contexts that suggest the ritualization of subordination, meaning that women adopt postures that indicate submission to control by others.
They lower themselves physically, lie down at inappropriate times, or are embraced by a man” (Lindner, 2004, 2). I suppose that false social images of women and their impact on domestic violence show moral and cultural decay. The women are subdued by low social position and secondary roles they occupy. These facts suggest false ideological construction of gender and identity. Many women are caught up in a false social image exploited by magazine ads. The most important is that body images reflect idealized womanhood influenced by an image of beauty cultivating in modern society.
Through the lens of the female views, ideal male bodies are physically strong and extremely sexual. For instance, K. Lindner finds that “the woman [in magazine ads] is shown wearing revealing, hardly any, or no clothes at all, which is often associated with sexualized images of women” (Lindner, 2004, 6). In contrast, advertisers pay a special attention to privy parts of the male body which help to underline idealized image of masculinity topical for modern cultural images. In contrast, women depicted as dependent and submissive.
I suppose that in many cases magazine ads force males to behave violently against women as an easy solution to compete on the social arena. Many people are often struggling with the idea of what is “normal” behavior, ideas that perhaps are a form of media social values. If men see social images of women as light-minded and extremely sexual, they subconsciously behave violently against them. In this situation magazine ads represent a desirable identification of woman as weak and pathetic.
In other words, that objective value structure is to be found in given social forms that provide shared meanings, phenomena that are entirely absent from the artificial world created by males. From this perspective, magazine ads can never be neutral between competing ways of life but must preserve the form of life in which women are ineluctably portrayed. Women are not prior to social arrangements but constituted by them. This approach clearly undermines that purported universalism which characterizes much of normative mode, and would seem to limit social criticism to an exploration of the meanings of forms of life.
Also, scenes implying rapes and killing underline crises of feminity and dominance of men. Also, in the article Lindner underlines that “attention [of women] often drifts away, they gaze into the distance as if they were not part of the scene, and they appear to be disoriented. This leaves women dependent on the protection of others” (Lindner, 2004). These facts vividly portray that wrong social images populated by magazine ads have a great impact on construction of social identity and perception of women as weak and helpless.
The facts suggest that many magazine ads do not provide realistic images that body can identify with, images that encourage respect and pride in self-identity. It is a profound communion of the senses, which acquires a different dimension when the female body is in the situation of having had sex – that is to say in an affective context in which the attraction of the object and the capacity of receptivity towards it acquire the greatest relevance (Appendix Fig 4).
Scenes of intimacy reflect social stereotypes and cultural preferences of modern society and lead to domestic violence. “in more recent times researchers have shown women are increasingly portrayed as objects of sexual desire that are also attractive, thin and young (Lambiase et al, 1999 cited Napoli, et al 2003). According to statistical results, the vast majority of sexual abuse is perpetrated by adult males on girls (Domestic Violence…, 2006). Emotional abuse is also ‘popularized’ and ‘advertised’ by magazine ads.
Taking into account low role and status of women, it is evident that emotional abuse is culturally accepted form of violence. The consequence of emotional abuse is that it causes the greatest distress resulted in betrayal of trust and responsibility involved. Emotional can be explained as a form of psychological manipulation and acute victimization. Painful initiation ceremonies, practices of ‘mutilation’ or deliberately induced physiological ‘deformations’ in the service of some ideal of beauty are reflections of gender roles in culture.
In many ads “the woman removes herself psychologically from the situation at large or is shown mentally drifting from the physical scene, leaving her disoriented and dependent on the protectiveness of others” (Lindner, 2004, 6). I suppose that this situation gives males some hints about dependant and helplessness of a woman and force them to behave violently at home. It is important to note that the types of emotional abuse involve ignoring, terrorizing, isolating, corrupting.
There is no need to be reduced to either extreme if it is recognized that more general values do operate as a context within which ‘harms’ are inflicted on women. In some cases, emotional injury is cause by sexual abuse. Not only does this claim constrain the possible acceptable explanations of sexual abuse, but it also sets the agenda for any solution, especially in recommending long-term and radical changes in the respective status of men and women. Very often, the cases of physical violence are not reported, because women afraid of their husbands and possible negative consequences for their families.
To some extent, this situation and women oppression is caused by religion dogmas and traditions play the crucial role in magazine ads (Kang, 1997). Lack of respect towards women results in specific images and messages send by magazine ads norms. It means that men play a dominant position in culture as keepers of traditions and customs in contrast to women who perform a reproduction function only. Women are portrayed as objects of sexual desire or housewives. I see that every society has a stan¬dard which identifies what is and is not abuse; there is always some limit set to acceptable rearing practices.
Yet these standards and limits vary across cultures. For modern women false media context and a role of a patriarchal system in the society cause oppression and subordination of women. For instance, the researchers found that “the majority of the coding categories were associated with sexualized images of women, which were, again, expected to be found more frequently in Vogue with its focus on beauty and fashion, than in Time with its more serious and sophisticated content that includes political and economic issues” (Lindner, 2006, 4).
The prestige of the individual self-reached an all-time high when new social arrangements and events dramatized the relative powerlessness of the individual leading to a devaluation of the self. However, a process giving special significance to the ‘uniqueness’ of each product led to a particular concern about identity reflecting the individual and group desire to be “different”. When a customer can identify the product he uses he is situated; that is, cast in the shape of a social object by the acknowledgement of his participation or membership in social relations.
It is important for magazines to distinguish between information and news, advertising and news. Unfortunately, many magazine ads are created by companies in order to promote their product or brands. (Baker, 2005). I come to conclusion that magazine ads are not a set of abstract rules for anonymous agents to live by, but consist of distributive practices, sanctioned by a tradition of behavior, within which identifiable agents can achieve some kind of unity with a social whole that exists apart from their choices.
Thus desert and deservingness are inextricably bound up with shared meanings. Media, and magazine ads in particular, heats the crisis of domestic violence distorted image of a woman as a strong and courageous. Gender roles in magazine ads shape not only how people identify females and view the world but also how others identify and relate to them and how they are positioned within social structures. Domestic violence is heated by false images exploited by magazine ads portraying women as objects.
This gender labeling is so strong that even when women try to change their personal identity they cannot change stereotypes bounded by magazine ads and popular culture. Even if domestic violence does not vividly depicted in magazine ads, sexual or submissive figures of women force men to behave violently, abuse and oppress their wives and daughters at home. Works Cited Page 1. Baker, Christina N. , Images of women’s sexuality in advertisements: A content analysis of Black- and white-oriented women’s and men’s magazines. Sex roles. 2005, vol. 52, Iss. 1-2, pp. 13-27. 2.
Domestic Violence is a Serious, Widespread Social Problem in America. 2006. Available at: http://www. endabuse. org/resources/facts/ 3. Greene, K. , Krcmar, M. “Predicting Exposure to and Liking of Media Violence: A Uses and Gratifications Approach”, Communication Studies, Vol. 56, 2005, pp. 71-75. 4. Kang, Mee-Eun. The Portrayal of Women’s Images in Magazine Advertisements: Goffman’s Gender Analysis Revisited. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, Vol. 37, 1997, pp. 979-985. 5. Lindner, K. Images of women in general interest and fashion magazine advertisements from 1955 to 2002.
Sex roles: A Journal of Research, Oct, 2004. Available from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_51/ai_n8694423 6. Napoli, Julie, Murgolo-Poore, Marie, Boudville, Ian . Female Gender Images in Adolescent Magazine Advertising. Australasian Marketing Journal 11 (1), 2003 Available from http://www. marketing. unsw. edu. au/AMJ/V11_1/Napoli_etal. pdf. 7. Spikes, M. P. Susan Bordo: Feminism, Chapter 7, in Understanding Contemporary American Literary Theory, pp. 154-180. University of South Carolina Press, 2003.