An Ideal SELF Woman?
Americans live in culture full of numerous gender codes. Gender codes are imaginary rules of how males and females should live and are created within America by the media such as TV shows, movies, billboards, magazines, and advertisements. In "Gender Codes in the American Culture", Jack Solomon and Sonia Maasik believe that "Gender codes are socially, not naturally, constructed, and usually reflect cultural values rather than natural facts" (476). This supports that the media creates gender codes because it is the main method in which cultural values are presented. They present what is accepted to be masculine and feminine in America at the time, and society follows these generalizations of what it means to be a man and a woman, thus creating gender codes.
A lifestyle magazine is an example of a one type of media that creates gender codes. It is easy for lifestyle magazines create gender roles because they idealize a certain type of man or woman because they address the aspects of everyday life in their articles, advertisements, and features. They show their readers how the ideal man or woman lives their life. SELF is one lifestyle magazine that does just that. SELF is a lifestyle magazine for women between the ages of 20 to 50 years of age and it focuses on giving their readers information and pointers of how to live a supposedly well-rounded life. SELF creates the feminine ideal that a woman be competent in every aspect of her life.
According to SELF, being competent in every aspects of a woman ' s life includes being health conscious, eating right, having scheduled weekly workouts whether at home or in the gym, keeping yourself well groomed, dressing fashionably, being independent, having healthy relationships, and keeping yourself happy. SELF promotes these criterions of a woman ' s life as the ideal by expressing the idea that good things will happen to you if you meet the ideal criteria and that bad things will happen to you if you don't meet this ideal criteria. SELF uses the images and the contents of their advertisements and articles to send out this idea to their readers.
The advertisements in the magazine do a great job of idealizing the well-rounded woman. The advertisement on page 154 for women's footwear shows three women on the top of a mountain with the slogan "Smart, stylish gear for crossing borders, chasing adventure and embracing life." This idealizes women who try new things and get adventurous by telling them that if they do, they get to see great things and experience what they've been always been dreaming about and they get to see spectacular views such as the mountains in the photograph. By insinuating that when you travel you are "embracing life", it gives the negative connotation that if you don't travel and sightsee, that you are missing out on life and that your life is boring otherwise.
An advertisement in the magazine for PowerBar also works to idealize the healthy and happy...