Hegemony is the leadership or dominance, especially by one state or social group over others. The Marxist theory of Cultural Hegemony ties in with Gramsci’s idea that the ruling classes can control the social values and customs of society, purely in order to shape the ruling classes’ Utopia. For example, the government (a ruling class) has a huge role in sculpting the way in which ideology each member of society believes in. This can be the ways in which expenditure of Taxpayers’ money are governed, for example. Each individual automatically categorises themselves into socialists, or conservatives, essentially. Socialists who lean towards communism, and conservatives, who lean more towards capitalism. Of course, it is not as simple as that, there are many more categories that most of the UK are part of, but it is practically impossible in contemporary society, especially when votes are disproportionate.
Hegemony is still prevalent in contemporary media industries, in this case, the magazine industry.
The reading included many pertinent ideas in relation to magazines. I picked up on Gramsci’s idea on ‘ideological material.’ Gramsci explained how the press was a big force in shaping society. For example, the press became a dominant instrument in creating ideological legitimation of the existing instruments in society and social order. Linking with this idea, the magazine industry, it is still able to enforce certain ideologies into our minds as consumers. For example, women’s magazines always have at least one or more of the following sections: weight loss, fashion, beauty, recipes health and fitness, children and celebrity gossip. They do not have politics, style, culture, life, watches, games, cars and film as men’s magazines have. Magazine editors, (the social group of a usually male dominated workforce) keep obeying the supposed rules, or in order words, keeping in line with the ideologies. It is the audience, that consume certain ideas, for example: “I am a woman, so I need to lose weight, buy the new lipstick on the cover and follow the recipes at the back of the magazine.” The magazine industry reinforces certain ideas and the audience blindly accept and follow what the magazine tells them to do.
My group’s magazine is called ‘S Magazine’ Suffragettes, Safe Zone, Societal Issues, Softly Spoken are all topics that are covered. ‘S Magazine’ is a feminist magazine and the unique selling point is that it caters for both men and women. My group and I spotted a gap in the market when we realised that there were no feminist magazines that were for both genders. A reason for this is that we wanted to steer away from the ‘somewhat inevitable’ hegemonic control that magazines have generally in the industry. ‘S magazine’ promotes equality between the sexes, by targeting subjects that are usually seen as ‘taboo.’ Examples include: porn, male virginity, modesty, the concept of masculinity. ‘S Magazine’ aims to normalise these taboo subjects by including factual, gender neutral information. ‘S Magazine’ aims to go beyond the limits of class, gender, socio-economic status and race, ‘S Magazine’ is for all.