Original Research

Female gender representation in selected South African magazines

Nonkululeko N. Shabangu, Sandra Rossouw, Cornelia G. Smith
Reading & Writing | Vol 13, No 1 | a385 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v13i1.385 | © 2022 Nonkululeko N. Shabangu, Sandra Rossouw, Cornelia G. Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 May 2022 | Published: 21 September 2022

About the author(s)

Nonkululeko N. Shabangu, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve, South Africa
Sandra Rossouw, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve, South Africa
Cornelia G. Smith, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: There has been an increase in the number of women’s magazines in South Africa, which also contributes to the country’s economic growth and development.

Objective: Magazines serve as a source of entertainment and information and they cater for readers interested in learning more about what features in society and even globally, which underscores the importance of quality and gender-sensitive material. The portrayal of females in magazines surfaced as a source of interest in the light of women’s liberation and gender equity.

Method/Results: The purpose of this study was to explore the language and content of selected South African women’s magazines. The objectives were to determine how language and content are used to represent females in selected South African women’s magazines; and determine the professional editors’, journalists’ and readers’ perceptions of the representation of females in the selected English women’s magazines.

Conclusion: A qualitative case study design was used, and semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data from the selected participants. The corpus spanned three professional journalists and nine readers, including seven females and five males, purposefully selected, who participated. The data collected through interviews were analysed and thematically discussed. Readers’ reception aesthetics were used, in conjunction with feminist literary criticism, as theoretical lenses.

Contribution: The study found that sexualisation and objectification continue especially in advertisements, but that much progress has been made in magazines to represent women as powerful and significant.


Keywords

gender; presentation, South African magazines; reception aesthetics; feminism

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