Some important key terms and words for this project are: consumption, the utilization of goods and services for personal use or manufacturing. For example, we work to earn an income which allows us the opportunity to buy goods and services such as leisure. Leisure, is a period of timer that can be spent relaxing, engaging in recreation, or otherwise indulging in freely chosen activities such as reading, watching tv, playing videogames, listening to music, etc. Recreation is any satisfying, amusing, and stimulating activity that is experienced as refreshing and renewing for body, mind, and spirit. Another important term that has a big impact on our lives is commodification, the process by which it becomes possible to buy and sell a particular good or service. Nowadays, it’s common for people to spend money on movies, music, books, videogames, apps, sporting equipment, and admission fees to places like Six Flags. The focus of this paper to is to compare the differences between an ethnic magazine (People en Español) and a mainstream magazine (Vogue). Other important terms are popular culture, forms of cultural expression usually associated with the masses, consumer goods, and commercial products. High culture, is forms of cultural expression usually associated with the elite or dominant classes. It is important to remember these terms since mainstream media is known to control the masses and one of the outlets they use to do this is through magazine ads.
What we all know about this focus is that mainstream magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair will primarily feature American males and females while ethnic magazines such as Essence and Ebony primarily feature people of color. That’s not to say you won’t find people of color or whites in the magazines mentioned above, it’s just that the disparities in how often the opposite race is pictured within ads will be significant.
The sources used in obtaining are information are The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology textbook, an issue of Vogue from December 2016 and an issue of People en Español from December 2018. The way we obtained information was straightforward and simple. We used the Sample Tally sheet to record information from each magazine. From there, we transferred the information to the Content Analyses Work Sheet. Lastly, we looked at the data we came up with and from there we created our PowerPoint and we each came up with suggestions and recommendations on how to address the issues we came across such as lack of diversity and representation in each magazine.
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For the findings and interpretation section, we noticed there were significant differences between the respective magazines. In the Race/Ethnicity category, we noticed that the majority of people featured in Vogue magazine were thin, white females. In contrast, People en Español heavily featured Hipics. In addition, Vogue magazine only had two Hipic people featured in ads for the entire issue. For other groups, there was 17 African-American females and two Asian females. There was only one black male and one Asian male. Unfortunately, there was no Hipic males in the magazine. People en Español had no Asian representation but there was three black males and one white male.
In the Occupation category, 99% of the jobs featured in Vogue magazine were all white-collar jobs. There was only one job that we were unable to decide whether it was blue collar or white collar. People en Español featured 63% white-collar jobs while the remaining 37% percent went to pink-collar jobs (35%) and occupations we couldn’t decide (2%).
For the body weight category, it was no surprise that Vogue featured an astonishing 86% of females with thin bodies. For average body weight, the remaining 13% were females. People en Español had a little more variety. A little more than half (55%) of the models in ads were thin while the remaining 45% were average-sized models. For men, the results were the same with the magazine advertising five muscular men and five average size men.
In the type of clothing category, People en Español featured 53% of women in dressy/costume outfits while the remaining 47% were dressed casually. 88% of the men in the magazine were dressed casually while 10% were in business uniforms and 3% were in dressy/costume outfits. Vogue had some variety in this category with 48% of the women dressed in business uniforms, 12% in sleepwear or lingerie, 18% dressed casually, and 22% in dressy/costume outfits.
For degree of dress, People en Español featured 78% of its female models fully clothed while 16% were partially clothed. For the remaining 6%, we were unable to place them in a sub-category. For male models, 94% were fully clothed while the other 6% were partially clothed. In Vogue magazine, female models were fully clothed at 72% while 28% were partially clothed. The only three male models that were featured were all fully clothed.
The three sociological theories are structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. Structural functionalism is when social institutions such as recreation and leisure provide for the needs of society and its members and help to maintain social cohesion and unity. Conflict theory is social institutions such as recreation and leisure reflecting the existing power structures in society thus creating and maintaining social inequalities. This is clearly on display when you look at the racial disparities in both magazines. Vogue focuses on heavily promoting white people while People en Español focuses on displaying Hipic men and women. Both magazines are in a way showing the inequality of today’s world. Although People en Español is trying to spotlight their people and culture in a world that constantly pushes them aside. Symbolic interactionism is social institutions such as recreation and leisure being produced when people act together thus playing a meaningful role in the everyday lives of members.
The biggest issue we came across was the lack of diversity and representation as mentioned above. We understand People en Español is shining a light on talented and successful Hipics while Vogue magazine is perpetuating stereotypes while having an underlying “white power” theme. Vogue magazine was promoting a lifestyle of the rich and famous while People en Español focused on catering to the middle class with their ads and these ads focused on food, health, women, medication, etc.. Although the issue of Vogue was from 2016, I wouldn’t be surprised if the data we collected is any different from a current issue. We believe a plan of action to address these issues would be to equally represent people from all walks of life. Young, old, gay, straight, and every color and nationality. There are other publications out in the media that do this, so there’s no reason why in 2018 magazines are promoting social inequality. It would also be helpful if publications found advertisers that believe in values such as equality and ask them to work with them. That way the magazine is inclusive and NOT exclusive.
In closing, our goal was to compare a mainstream magazine versus an ethnic magazine. We collected data, discussed what we found, and then addressed the issues we came across. Our most important recommendation is for there to be a balance in the advertisement not only in the people represented, but in the product placements. A few of us (Karoline, Chris, Ossama) learned that there is still inequality in magazines while some of us (such as Richard and Kendri) were already aware of the injustices prevalent in today’s mainstream media world. We learned a lot from this project and how the media works to control and manipulate the masses with their message.
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