Gender Roles in Marie Claire

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One of the most prevalent forms of invisible social control is the creation and perpetuation of stereotypes. Today's society is filled with stereotypes and the media has proven to be an excellent breeding ground. Research in the stereotype domain indicates that the media can prime stereotypes, and these primed stereotypes do influence how people are later perceived. Also the research on media priming of stereotypes generally increases confidence in the generality of the media as a prime. Television, movies, newspapers and magazines contain millions of images that feature individuals portrayed in stereotypical ways. This paper will examine the February issue of Marie Claire and the gender and racial stereotypes that are evident within the advertisements and articles. For many years society has embraced the idea that the differences between men and women are biologically determined and certain roles, behaviors and attitudes constructed by society assign and control how men and women behave and are perceived. Sex is determined by genetics while our gender is programmed by social customs. Some theories interpret that a women is tender and a loving mother while on the other hand men are aggressive hunters and are the dominant one of the family. Gender roles prescribe norms, which instruct people to pursue specific careers and lifestyles. Marie Claire, a typical trashy magazine geared towards women, regularly features stories focused on how to make women beautiful, thin, and desirable to men. Its pages are also full of advice regarding who your Prince Charming will be and how he should and shouldn't treat you. The writers and editors lure women by strategically placing beautiful images on glossy covers amongst articles that focus on body image, style, and relationships. The advertisements and articles in Marie Claire help fuel assumptions made about the specific roles and abilities of men and women. Simply glancing at the magazine section, while waiting in the checkout line, any individual, man or woman, is able to make their own assumptions about how they are perceived and how they are supposed to behave from article headlines, such as those in February's Marie Claire which included: "Fire up His Desire", "Sexy or Skanky?", "Best Beauty Bargains Ever", "What his Cell Phone Style says about him", and more advice related to fashion and health. These headlines give the impression that its part of a woman's role to be obsessed with their image and their relations with men. Not all articles are written for women however, some specifically instruct the reader to show the article to their boyfriend so he will know what he is and isn't doing correct in the relationship. Men may then be perceived as being incapable of understanding women's needs and wants. Certain articles help support women in standing up against the pressures of men and society; others encourage women to use top-of-the-line cosmetics in order to prevent wrinkles and signs of aging. Unfortunately, many women get caught up by the pressures of being a woman and are led to believe that one must be extremely skinny and gorgeous to be successful. Certain articles, such as "Beauty Editors' Favorite Bargains" make purchasing beauty products essential by providing less expensive options. This specific article lists the products and descriptions as well as price and makes it seem as if every woman should own each of the products, as if it is part of their role, especially Almay Kinetin Skincare Advanced Anti-Aging Series Firming and Brightening Eye Cream, for approximately $16. This article also makes the suggestion that women are forever supposed to possess young, firm, radiating skin, and that they must go to great lengths to achieve beauty or they will not be accepted by society. A large portion of the magazine is devoted to advertisements, which feature attractive women and men enthusiastically promoting make-up, designer clothing, and perfume. The...
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