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The media’s image construction of African women with multiple and conflicting social roles and the impact of multiple roles on women’s mental health.

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This study investigates how African women with multiple social roles are portrayed in the media and whether the media reports on how these multiple roles impact their mental health. The study sampled eight articles that featured women in different industries: business, academia, health, arts and culture, aviation etc. The eight magazine articles were deemed adequate to yield valid rich data, the women featured ranged from the ages of 33 to 81 at the time of their interviews, respectively in 2017 and 2018. The study is grounded on the feminist theory which is embedded in the ideology of feminism. Feminist theory is used to analyse discourses such as gender stereotypes and sexual objectification of women that previous studies have deemed dominant in different media platforms, including magazines. Discourse analysis is used to analyze Destiny magazine articles to establish the dominant discourses. The study employed discourse analysis in order to understand and interpret how language is used to create an image of African women with multiple roles and to understand the impact the language used may have. The study discovered that women are portrayed as feminine beings and people who can hold multiple roles concurrently without apparent struggles. It was also discovered that the magazine covers women’s struggles or obstacles which do not appear to be a result of holding multiple roles. It is important to note that, contrary to what is dominant in literature, Destiny magazine’s portrayal of women is positive. A huge part of the magazine’s reporting is based on women’s achievements. Most of the articles that were analysed do not emphasize women’s mental health.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.