An investigation of the representation of females in a popular magazine directed at teenagers.
Rambaran, Anusha Dayaram.
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In this study I investigate gender representations in a South African magazine directed at a teenage female readership. It begins with a survey of sociolinguistic understandings of the relationship between language and gender, and of critical linguistic insights into how gender and gender relations are constructed through discourse. This is followed by the Critical Discourse Analysis of selected texts from the magazine. These analyses reveal that the writers draw on conventional representations of women and conventional social relations between men and women to perpetuate subordinate roles for woman in a male-dominated society. On the basis of this evidence I suggest that such magazines serve as instruments of social control in a patriarchal society by positioning women as being overwhelmingly concerned with their personal appearance and with developing and sustaining relationships with the opposite sex. I also point to the ways in which the writers have drawn on representations of femininity to position the readership as consumers, thereby serving the interests of the capitalist modes of production. This study concludes with suggestions on how the findings can be used to implement Critical Language Awareness in the classroom.