So here we are, our very first month of rating the women’s magazines we read. We hope to make it clear that women deserve stimulating content that does not objectify their bodies, or relegate them to narrow gender roles. What we’d like is for you to reply below to the questions we’ll post. In your responses you’ll need to clarify the magazine you’re rating, and remember that we are talking about the May 2013 edition.
Rating system: 1 (very good, feminist and empowering), 2 (could be better), 3 (anti-feminist, sexist, or disempowering). Feel free to give us an explanation of why you’ve given the rating, but make sure you specify the rating. E.g. A) 2 – Some of the images showed women who were skeletal, whereas others showed healthy bodies.
A) Images and photographs – think about things like diversity of bodies, diverse racial groups, diverse ages, diverse activities. Think about the cover model – what race was she, what body type was she, was she local or international?
B) Content – were there any articles relating to women’s rights, were there any articles relating to women’s sexual and reproductive health, were there articles that addressed the needs of women in business?
C) Weight loss and ‘health and fitness’ articles – think about things like how many weight loss articles were there, did they acknowledge the diversity of bodies, did they encourage slenderness over health, what were their goals? How much emphasis was placed on exercise in order to look good rather than be healthy?
D) Sex articles – think about things like how many articles advocated female pleasure, how many articles were aimed at keeping women sexually and reproductively healthy, how many articles focused on male pleasure, were all the articles focussed on heterosexual sex, were their articles regarding homosexuality or bisexuality,
E) Gender roles – think about whether the articles encouraged women to try new things, did the articles encourage women to be domesticated, how much emphasis was there on being a family maker, how much emphasis was placed on being a business woman or career orientated? Were there any articles that focussed on single mothers, lesbian or intersex women, or non-nuclear families?
F) Violence against women – was the issue of violence against women addressed? were there any articles that implied victim blaming?
Ideally what we’d like to see from women’s magazines is content that reflects the interests and diverse lifestyles that women in South Africa have. If you have other categories you’d like us to include for the June edition, please feel free to suggest them below.
So an example rating would look like this: Magazine name: A1, B3, C2, D3, E1, F3. Total score: 13. I rated the magazine like this because….