Comment Paper – 12: Kazakh Women & Magazine


MagazineA magazine’s influences to women’s behavior are predictable because media can construct certain truth in the reader’s mind. Nevertheless, this week’s articles give a wide-range of the definition of the “magazine” term. Each researcher manipulates the term to prove their own hypothesis. The scholars focus on the influence of the content but did not touch the social-economical aspect of sex in English language magazines.  I believe as an international reader American magazines purpose a certain image of women and that this fulfills American consumer’s expectations.

Mueller argues that magazine’s articles are longer than in ordinary newspaper and that is why readers can learn and analyze the cause and effects of the story (Mueller, 2009, p. 565). Moreover, Gill presents the point of Winship, who argued that “ideological juggling acts” coexists in different parts of magazines (Gilli, 2009, p. 348). In addition numerous scholars’ content analyses proved that a big portion of American women’s, men’s, and teen’s magazines contain sex-related content (Jennifer, 2010, p. 286).  Arguments about how magazine’s impact women’s beliefs contradict each other. If a reader can analyze the sexual content, why would they become weaker and follow the feminism ideology in the magazine? According to Gilli’s content analysis (2009), women’s magazines idealize sex priority and the right attitude towards their own sexual behavior (p. 361). Also, scholars mainly analyzed students’ perceptions, which cannot be generalized to the population. For example, Walsh’s (2010) conclusion that Asian, Middle Eastern women’s level of sexual health knowledge and self-efficacy is lower than American women does not account cultural difference. In addition, the author did not present the meaning of sexual health knowledge. A family planning could be understood differently in each culture.

Compared to other countries where the media content is controlled by rulers, American media content sells the idea of happiness. During the Soviet regime, women’s magazines portrayed Soviet women as successful housewives and loyal members of the Communist Party. After the Soviet Union collapse, these magazines changed the names but the ideological content kept its meaning. The Kazakh version of women’s magazines promote the image of the Kazakh women in a traditional way but in the last pages a special section dedicated to sexual issue is added as well. In Cosmopolitan, 60% of the content describes sex and women’s topics. In Kazakh magazines sexual content is covered in a family oriented context and is not promote the types of sexual issues. I think the difference between the discussions of sexuality in women’s magazines within different cultures can be explained by women’s perceived cultural roles in different societies. However, Russian language adolescent women magazines in Kazakhstan not differ in content from western magazine. Both of them focus on celebrity life, personal beauty, and health. Above are shown several Kazakhstan’s women magazines covers:

1) Cool Russian Language teenager’s magazine

2) Сезон (eng. Season) Russian language business ladies magazine

3) Қазақстан Әйелдері (eng. Kazakhstan’s women) Kazakh Households magazine

4) SalNur Kazakh Muslim women’s magazine.

Interestingly we do not have a variety of men’s magazines that are categorized by social status. There are plenty of women magazine in Kazakhstan, thus women play active role in Kazakh society and can afford to buy such magazines. It is a pity that none of the western scholars’ articles mentioned the relationship between the price of magazines and the research participants’ monthly budgets. I strongly believe women’s spending is higher than men. For example, the front page of popular Kazakh women magazine, Сезон, costs around $ 3000 USD.  The difference in media structure in each culture can affect the content and likewise its impact on woman’s behavior.

In summary, the attitude towards the life style of women could be affected by media but cultural difference is foremost to the construction each individual’s opinion about beauty and sexual issues. American magazine’s content presents to American consumer’s interests.  In the future I want to see not only media analyses of the sexual content presented in women’s magazines but the psychological and cultural perspectives as well.

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