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American Culture Essay

944 words - 4 pages

For my fieldwork assignment I viewed and analyzed four magazines: Cosmopolitan, Allure, Muscles and Fitness, and College Basketball. Two of the magazines were for women and two were for men. I have concluded the American culture is revolved around money and our image. It seems like the white American culture is ethnocentric and limits the amount of appearances of other races in the media. According to the textbook, “Ethnocentrism is the tendency to judge other cultures using one’s own standards” (Newman 113). Based on my observations it doesn’t seem like our culture even remotely tries to include other cultures or races into our media. The purpose of this project was to learn about our society and cultural norms. Norms are “culturally defined standard or rule of conduct” (Newman 36). Our norms of advertising seem to be based off of wealth and ways to improve our image.
I observed many interesting things in the female and male magazines based on race and social class. “Social class is a group of people who share a similar economic position in a society, based on their wealth and income” (Newman 321). The majority of the women’s magazine advertisements conveyed white females that were “upper class”; this could be because women want to be seen as glamorous, superior, and attractive. On the other hand, the men’s magazines seemed to be less about social status and race; and more about sports and working out. This could be because men want to be seen as masculine. The common theme of all the advertisements was focused on how to improve your appearance by using materialistic items. In the male magazine “College Basketball”, there was an advertisement with a white successful handsome male cruising in his beautiful 2014 BMW. According to Newman, the upper class consists of only “the highest 5% of the U.S. population” (page 329). This makes me wonder if most of us aren’t extremely wealthy then why is our society so obsessed with the upper class. It could be because our culture sees money as having power.
The majority of the advertisements used images and language to make the advertisements more visually appealing. One of the Cosmopolitan advertisements was about the “fragrance” Estee Lauder that was advertised by a white female. This woman was elegantly dressed and the advertisers used the strategies of language. They use “fragrance” instead of perfume, which makes this advertisement seem more high class. Because this woman seems high class; I perceived her as having an immense amount of power. Advertisers for female magazine would use the word fragrance instead of perfume, or sleek instead of shiny. An example of word choice in the male magazines was “build your legacy” instead of gain muscle. However, the main strategy...

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