Media and Beauty Ideals

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Theorizing Communications
Professor Kirkpatrick
Journal Reflection 1
September 8, 2012
I am an avid fashion magazine reader; my favorites are Cosmopolitan and Vogue. As I was flipping through my October issue of Cosmo, passing by 80% of the advertisements without a second glance, I stopped myself at a Nivea lotion ad. In the past, I would have over look this page, not noticing anything distinguishing it from any of the outrageous number of advertisements. However, something about this ad irritated me. (I blame it on my Women’s Studies class and my Theorizing Communications class.) It pictured a man holding a woman in his arms with the slogan, “Give him skin he’ll love to touch.” I thought to myself, “Why would I ever buy a lotion in attempt to provide a dude with a smooth-skinned chick?” At first, the idea seemed absolutely ludicrous! But after pulling together the knowledge I’d acquired from my Women’s Studies class and my Theorizing Communications class, I realized that this advertisement, in fact, made perfect sense and it all comes back to the concepts of “social norms” and patriarchy. Social norms are cultural expectations. They are institutionalized and patterned into organizations that shape what you think, how you behave, and how you look. The norm is used as a focus point to measure the degrees of its variation present in society. Some norms are difficult to alter and take a long period of time to change. For example, the “mythical norm”, white, middle-class, heterosexual, and abled, has been normalized in society for decades. They are difficult to modify because normality reflects the identities of who ever are in power. Therefore, the mythical norm still is present because white, middle-class, heterosexual, and abled people have had the majority of social power in past years. This concept has not been recently introduced. Social norms have forever created systems of inequality and androcentrism has played an enormous role in developing these...
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