A lifetime of roles has been handed to us. From the time we were given a name, a baby-jumpsuit and toys, we were directed to a tapered trail of character-abiding services in preparation of society's customs. Everything from our facial appearances to our belonging in random institutions has been vigilantly constructed, eras before our arrival. We have been handed tools of labor and leisure to mark ourselves in society's homogeneous walls. The divisions of what we talk of, adorn ourselves in and consume were erected from the beginning-and can be glimpsed at through the mere entertainment of magazines.
Whether reclining at the beach or our living room couch, reading material is always desired. Most of us aren't too likely to race for our text books or Steven Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" either. But between the pages of the many gender-specific, billion-circulated magazines, lies a world of hegemonic practices that is often evaded in a mask of simple diversion.
A quick flip through the glossy pages of Cosmopolitan or Glamour leads to a load of prancing anorexic figures and man-pleasing advice. The ads are embellished in fantasy-like backgrounds, with women running through the grass with their mouths open as if yelling, "I'm having such a great time!" or gazing upwards with an inspirational look and a speck of some makeup in the background-the sole contribution of this eternal glow.
A maze of words spring at you: "Brush before bed, don't overindulge your do", "How to snag more compliments", "Spark a steamy embrace", and "Summer Looks guys will go gaga for". "Getaway Beauty", outlines a stack of unnecessary items from hair-gel to cover-up which women should pack along to make their trip "lighter" and much more relaxed. Celebrities are epitomized and elite articles of clothes are desired. While the thin frames and oval faces progress idealistic beauty, the prestigious setting (all of the handbags and clothes most of us can't afford) mark the evident magnitude of the American dream.
From the ads to articles, it is obvious the postmodern female is one who appears confident, beautiful, rich and educated. A reader without one may be misguided–one cannot be sexually powered if she is uneducated, she'd be promiscuous. One cannot be beautiful without the consumption of products or give the appearance of confidence if she cannot afford these products or lifestyles, which will lead to increased attention from men.
Although our society has come far in condensing habitual gender policies, with the liberation of a woman's sexual freedom and political involvement, sometimes the most customary messages are secreted in an artifact of pure-leisure intent. Every page turned, a woman learns how to please and improve her appearance for others, which will direct her to improvement of her life chances.
When leafing through a men's magazine, it is easy to notice their satisfying rituals are a bit different. Stories don't focus on them being victimized or exhibit checklists of items to slather on to appear suitable. For them, it is all about pleasing themselves. A lingerie-poised woman seduces the cover with a string of other stripped females decorating the pages.
Humorous articles paved with humorous beer ads convey a much more carefree lifestyle. Successful business men like Donald Trump and random NFL stars may reinforce the patriarchy and force behind a man's roles, and the woman remain naked copies of ornament to please men. There are much more movie reviews, comical stars, and articles on the latest powerful car than attention to tools of acceptance to fit in and win approval in society. The spotlight is on their hobbies, careers and flashy bachelor lifestyle than a world revolved around pleasing others.
The comical ads from sports to business in men's magazines underline them as society's aggressors where the makeup, perfume and clothing ads in women's magazines portray them as sex objects. Although the media's cultivation effect isn't as hyped up as it may appear, what we devour from magazines is ensued in music videos, commercials, movies and TV shows. Although the release of institutional attitudes have assisted ages of cradle-grave assembled roles, in this consumer-driven nation we may still bypass the blatancy of hegemonic philosophy wrapped up in a common pleasurable product.
Jennae Mendoza is a junior journalism major. Her column will be running weekly all summer.