As much as I love my family and exploring British Columbia with them it was difficult to be away from my book for two whole weeks. However, I did pick up some new books and visit some beloved bookstores, like Munro's in Victoria (pictured below), not to mention some new ones like the one in the Steampunk Café in Port Alberni. Anna Beer's Sounds and Sweet Airs: The Forgotten Women of Classical Music is proving to be a very interesting history lesson. Jane Urquhart's book L. M. Montgomery is eye-opening. I didn't realize the author of Anne of Green Gables was so incredibly unhappy (and unhappily married). The shop girl at Mermaid Tales in Tofino pointed me in some thus far uncharted directions and even the Legislative Assembly (in Victoria) held some surprises.
I also saw some things I could have done without, like the van in Tofino on the side of which someone had painted 'Virginity is curable' and a bumper sticker that read 'I (heart) Hooters' (on the Malahat highway).
Unfortunately, the YouTube video I am creating about the sexualization of women in women's magazines will have to wait until September. (There just aren't enough hours in the day!)
I came across an interesting documentary entitled The Hunting Ground (2015). IMDB accurately describes it as an exposé of rape crimes on U.S. campuses. It is shocking to see the extent of the problem but also encouraging to see what young women are doing to remedy it.
As of today the book is 405 pages long (or 240 280 words). I have been working on a video presentation about the sexualization of women in women's magazines. My first slideshow (posted here a few days ago) contained 105 images. I have since added dozens of ads and images for the new video I am creating. With a little luck it will be ready this week.
After 11 months of working on my book about the sexualization of women in the media I have decided to add another media category to examine. The new list of media categories includes movies, television, music videos, magazines and pornography.
Although I am basically pleased with the way my slideshow turned out it wasn't exactly what I had originally envisioned. I had to work with the tools that were available to me through my website, and they didn't allow me to do what I wanted. So I am going to create a slideshow presentation for YouTube using other tools. I want to get the presentation just right, which for me means as user friendly as possible.
(Please read this before starting the slideshow. It reads like an essay interspersed with slides. Viewing speed can be controlled by clicking on the forward and back arrows in the upper right-hand corner.)
Sexualizing women in women’s magazines has been normalized. Thanks in large part to the pornography industry, its popularity and the profits it generates, the demand for pornographic material has influenced all media, including movies, TV, music videos and magazines. In 2015 NBC reported that the global pornography industry generated $97 billion. In 2000 the New York Times reported that in the United States alone this industry generated $10 billion. In 2015 GQ stated that the pornography industry in Japan generated $20 billion. In 2013 The Huffington Post stated that pornographic websites got more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined. Pornography is big business and mainstream media has taken notice and adapted accordingly.
Nowadays it is rare to see a woman who is not sexualized in a magazine, that is to say: considered in a sexual way. Now it is even common to see girls sexualized in magazines. The emphasis is always on sex and men’s sexual fantasies. Women’s sexual appeal and behaviour exclude all other characteristics, leaving only an object of men’s desires.
In 2015 The Economist reported on the most commonly searched words on pornographic websites. Among the most popular searches were lesbian, teen and anal. The male interest in these types of pornography is increasingly reflected in magazine ads and even in the ‘candid’ pictures taken of famous actresses and singers. Thanks to the pornography industry advertising has adopted some fetishes, including oral and anal sex, lesbianism for men’s viewing pleasure, bondage and even pedophilia. This should raise red flags for women because pornography objectifies and dehumanizes women, leading to increased violence against women and girls.
The sexualization of women in women’s magazines has many reoccurring themes, including the double standard about the amount of clothing men and women wear in ads, unnatural poses to appear sexy, reclining women who appear ready for sex, phallic objects near women’s mouths, the dehumanization of women, women as prostitutes and sexualized girls and women who appear underage.
Ads create unnatural associations, which are reinforced and normalized thanks to constant repetition. In the current world of advertising it would seem that everything must be sold by sexualized women: clothes, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, perfume, hair products, diamonds, vodka, mineral water, contact lens solution, protein pudding, breast cancer research and everything else under the sun.
The vast majority of the following ads appeared in women’s magazines. The intended audience was therefore a female one. Two or three ads appeared in a Canadian fitness magazine for men and women.
© 2016 Alline Cormier
Yesterday I didn't get any writing or editing done. Instead I took advantage of my public library's amazing book sale (softcover books for $1 and hardcover books for $2) to pick up more novels by Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou, Virginia Woolf, Alice Walker and E. Annie Proulx (among others). Even at those ridiculously low prices I blush to think of how much I spent--I actually made two trips! Then I got to work creating a slideshow of advertising in women's magazines. It is coming along nicely, but I am having trouble not getting carried away and making it feature film length.
As of today my book is 403 pages long (or 239 876 words). Yesterday I researched the pornography industry (Day 2). It's undeniable, studying the pornography industry changes the way you see women's magazines. Last night I began sorting magazine images for the first of a series of slide shows I'm putting together. It should be ready and up on this site in the next few days.
As of today my book is 398 pages long (or 235 155 words). I spent the morning writing about pornography. There is so much to say, but I am endeavouring to be concise.
I discovered Gail Dines' writing on pornography, as well as a research paper entitled Pornography Viewing Among Fraternity Men: Effects of Bystander Intervention, Rape Myth Acceptance and Behavioral Intent to Commit Sexual Assault published in 2011 by John D. Foubert, Matthew W. Brosi and R. Sean Bannon. It is fascinating. The authors of this paper wrote:
"Research has shown that men's use of pornography poses a particular threat to women who are either married to or are in committed relationships with men. For women who seek relationships with men that are respectful, honest, monogamous, and based in romantic love, research on Internet pornography shows that what is depicted is the opposite: lack of respect, abuse, multiple partners, and sexual contact without emotional attachment [...] Married individuals who report seeing a pornographic movie in the last year are significantly more likely to divorce, to have an affair, and to be less satisfied with their marriage and with life in general [...]."
As of today my book is 395 pages long (or 233 313 words). Yesterday I managed to edit without adding much text. I posted some vintage ads from the 1950s, 60s and 70s on my home page. They were all taken from my collection of women's magazines. In the next few days I'll put together a slide show. This picture was taken from a 1957 issue of Mademoiselle.