Claiming back the F Word: Feminism and Women’s Glossy Magazines
Women’s magazines have long faced critique for their often narrow and conceptualized portrayal of women and the impact that this has on the consumer. A study conducted in America for example found that reading a women’s magazine for merely three minutes negatively affected the self-worth and self-esteem of 70% of women who participated in the study. In this paper, feminist researcher Joy Watson and Heinrich Böll Foundation Programme Manager, Claudia Lopes explore some of the ways in which women’s glossy magazines depict harmful messages and images that detract from eradicating gender inequity while also bringing to the fore some of the ways in which magazines have empowered and helped women re-define themselves over different periods in time.
The paper, which was written in preparation for a dialogue with Editors of women’s glossy magazines hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation on the 12th of August 2015, makes a pivotal argument for relationship building between women’s magazines and feminist researchers, activists and women’s organisations to collectively reinforce messages that seek to build and empower women and tackle gender and social inequity.