Creating a magazine from scratch is harder than I thought it would be. Being the consumer on the the other end, all we have to do is read what is presented to us, essentially we do not have the power to tell the editors what we would like to see in our magazines. They rely on the media, beauty ideals (women’s magazines), celebrity culture and fashion to base their articles, adverts and fashion trends on the material they produce to us. Being a ‘minority’, apparently to the media and fashion industry, I wanted my magazine to reflect and be able to relate to all women, as the stereotypical white beauty ideals are still evident in popular mainstream magazines, and I shouldn’t have to go to the ‘few’ Ebony and Essence magazines to be able to see myself represented. After all, aren’t women magazines supposed to represent EVERY woman ?
The reading presented itself with relevant ideas that I thought were applicable to women magazines. Gramsci speaks of an idea called Ideological Material which he explained that in his day the press were the dominant instrument of producing ideological, legitimation of the existing instruments and social order. I found myself being able to interpret Gramsci’s knowledge in terms of how todays society still idolises white beauty standards, especially in women’s magazines. The editors and people who hold the power to produce content are unfortunatley mainly white, so they typically want to cater to their ideas of beauty and believe that certain products will sell well on white models and therefore cater to a white women audience, which of course isn’t true.
Althusser also had an interesting theory which shifted the idea of ‘Ideology’ to focus on everyday practices and rituals organised via social institutions. He described ‘Ideological State Apparatus’ as the material practices that were part of a closed system in which individuals were constantly interpellated in to a social order becoming constructed as subjects unconsciously by the dominant social institutions and discourses. I came to the understanding that this related to my magazine in the sense that the way magazines are constructed are quite hierarchal like hegemony. Magazines as a whole are quite closed off to the everyday person, although they seem as if they include you and cater to your needs, most magazines subliminally tell you how to dress, what you should look like and how to act in order to attract a guys attention. Realistically they know you won’t follow through with what the say but it will have you subconciously insecure as you feel like you need to be someone other than yourself.
My groups magazine is trying to steer away from this concept of media and celebrity influences. We would rather focus on the idea of asking questions we think young adult women of todays society would want to know the answers to. Instead of trying to hold superiority over our audience we would prefer to include them in conversation and make them feel apart of what is going on. We ask controversial questions such as why do ‘minorities’ have to have ‘other’ magazines to see themselves represented in the beauty and fashion world, feeling like you don’t belong or exist in society is something I’m sure no-one wants to feel.