Women’s magazines and identity construction: a comparative study OF “Full Woman” and “Flair For Her” magazines (2010-2013).
Nakaziba, Loy Persis
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The purpose of this study was to establish the impact of magazines on identity construction among women in Kampala. It was a comparative study based on two women’s publications: Flair for Her magazine and Full Woman, a weekly newspaper pull out from Saturday Monitor. The study sought to analyse magazine influence on identity construction among targeted readers, the influence of western ideology on magazine content and the values held by Kampala women in comparison to those portrayed in the magazines. The study analysed the magazines basing on their role as public sphere specific to women. The study employed critical discourse analysis to analyse the magazine content, Key informant interviews for the magazine editors and survey research including the Rokeach value survey to determine the views and values held by women in Kampala. The data revealed a disparity between the ideal woman represented in the magazine and the contemporary woman in Kampala. The magazines under study have content that is inspired by feminist ideology and consumerism. The study revealed that magazines portray a woman with more foreign oriented ideals and values than the average woman in Kampala. It reveals a more individualistic woman than the more community oriented values traditionally held in Africa. Power plays a significant role in determining the content as the powerful in society can advance their agenda while the poor and powerless remain unheard. Key among the findings was the low interest in reading culture which also determines the type of content in the magazines. The poor reading culture in Uganda hampers magazine readership and participation in the public sphere. It was concluded that magazines create unsustainable identities for women to emulate and use persuasive discourse to urge women to adopt beliefs, attitudes and values basing on the ideologies carried in the magazines.