I have always had an interest on the topic of women’s representation in the media. Ever since my first subscription to Seventeen magazine, I always wondered why the girls had to dress a certain way or why did most of the ads have to be so sexual. I also thought whether or not women between ages sixteen and twenty-two really followed the fashion or other advice given in these magazines.
The social norms and hegemonic messages that have facilitated my interest to the topic were basically the plain fact that young adult women were falling victim to the advertisements presented in these seemingly innocent magazines. Even with all the stereotypical contents in the magazines, there are plenty of positive articles featured in these magazines; articles describing real-life situations that young women can relate to and “advice” from doctors, among other things. Part of me does feel that the real-life stories featured are a way to justify that the magazine is not promoting hegemonic norms, but then if one were to look past the stories, there are articles and other sections that show how to apply make-up, keep/breakup with a boyfriend, how to dress for a date, how to style your hair with the changing season, and other things that “teach” young girls how to be an “IT” girl.
The same things that are presented in the magazines are also shown on television. Before the class, when I would watch a television show, specifically reality TV, I would notice that the women on the shows almost always had to behave a certain way in order to get recognized.
People will continue to scrutinize women’s looks, behavior, and “motherly duties,” as we saw with Courtney Love debacle. Over the course of the semester, I was able to find concrete evidence to support my premature observations. Now I will be able to not only analyze everything I watch, listen to, or read, but will also be able to support them with tangible data.
Ijeoma A. "Beacause You're a Girl."Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism. Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman.