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Paper Topic:

american study gender and inequality

Elle and the State of Women 's Worlds

Women 's magazines have a long , storied history of negligibility . They are intended as catalogues , complete with all the pretty pictures and fluffy advertorial content to complement the glut of products being advertised within their glossy pages . As Gloria Steinem notes in her impassioned reflection Sex , Lies , and Advertising ' Except as moneymaking machines - cash cows ' as they are so elegantly called in the trade - women 's magazines are rarely taken seriously (1 . A women 's magazine is not supposed to be viewed as having

any kind of significant purpose or meaning , and it is certainly not intended to be utilized as an accurate sociological survey of the state of women 's worlds as viewed by the larger /dominant culture (i .e , men . While it is true that this is not the intention of the magazine 's existence , the magazines have theless become effective tools in gauging the position of the feminine in the larger social context , informing the consumer on everything from what is considered as valuable women 's knowledge and activities to what women are most concerned with in their daily lives . It is through these kinds of magazines that society not only sees the popular images and definitions of femininity , but also forms these perceptions as a result of their continued proliferation within the advertising and editorial content of the magazines themselves

In the most recent issue of Elle magazine , August 2006 , there are nearly countless examples of the ways in which the concept of femininity as well as the gender of female ' is constructed socially through images and words , a number of innate implications that permeate all that is consumed by our culture . Everything from the idea of woman-as-object-of-desire , constantly surveyed and aware of the surveillance (as well as complicit in it , to the screaming near-absence of images of women of color , even to the reification of the idea that women must control their appetites ' so to speak , can all be found within the pages of this one solitary issue of this one sole publication

While this particular issue is rife with examples of the many ways in which women 's roles are subservient and thus overall less significant as viewed by the dominant social standard , for the purposes of this assignment I am going to focus my attention on merely a handful of specific ads and editorials (if they can really be called such in any kind of meaningful way , speaking only of the issue as a whole in a very generic , all-encompassing sense . Focusing on every ad that can be contended within this issue is , quite simply , too expansive

While thumbing through the pages of this issue of Elle , one of the elements which struck me the most frequently and with the most force was the idea that this is a women 's magazine that seems to be clearly marketed - at least , in the advertising campaigns - towards men . Take for example , the cover - Keira Knightley , a star-of-the-moment...

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