Monday, February 14, 2011

Women in the workplace

Women are represented in a number of ways and these vary depending on the time they were taken or the image they are trying to portray. For this blog i have chosen a magazine front cover of some of the Top 50 American Business women from Fortune magazine which is a global business magazine which has been in production from 1930. This front cover is from 1999, an age where women were becoming increasingly visible in the workplace and therefore more respected. However there must still be inequality because the cover has chosen to seperate the business men from women, suggesting they are different and still looked at spearately. This cover aims to show business women in a good light. The black clothing they are all wearing connotates a sense of seriousness about their work. This means that these women are not airheads or fixed on celebrity news. Their clothing dictates a serious side of their personality and shows an intelligence about them, which would disappear if they were to be wearing Barbie Pink for example. There are no short skirts or high heeled shoes suggesting these woman can compete in the tradition male game. Men wear black and therefore women wearing black shows a sense of equality. However the woman are attractive, and they are all wearing make-up in order to show aspects of their femininity. They want to appear beautiful and stay true to the representation that women take care of their looks. The necklace one woman is wearing is white which suggests that contrast of personality in her life between the strict business woman and the more traditional virginal look about women, that can do nothing wrong and are clean and soft. It is also intersting that the background colour that the women are placed on is pink, which shows that there are still those gender stereotypes with woman being pretty and men being tough. The positions they are in on the page suggest that women still need that closeness of a group (like the stereotype of not being able to go to the toilet alone) whereas a men would more than likely be placed apart on the page. With regards to Nickel and Dimed, these women must be in the minority in America, for it is still hard for women to progress to such a high lever in the workplace. The majority would be in supermarkets or cleaning jobs- however these women many have help a helping hand of education for example.

The second image i have chosen is an advert for a popular tv show in America and England 'Desperate Housewives.' Like the previous image the woman have a sexual aspect about them which suggests that the common image of woman doing work is that it can somehow be made sexy. For me it means women try and get by and up in society by looks rather than the hard work which the previous image suggested. They seem more than happy to emphasis the feminine aspects of their body is this because it is a typical womans workplace? The previous image acknowledged the feminine aspect to a lesser extent suggesting the business world is still predominantly for men. This is a far cry from what Barbara experienced- the cleaning job at the Maids for example was blood, sweat and tears rather than laid back casual hoovering. The woman are all holding a typical household item and this relates back to the more traditional concept of woman having their job in the household, doing the chores. One woman is brandishing a rolling pin which implies that the house is not where these wives will be staying. This representation of women as housewives is not the norm now and woman continue to find thier place outside of cleaning and housework and learn and experience the world. The work that these women are doing appears to be fun and quirky in comparison to the business world, as the colors used are feminine and the background yellow implies a sense of having a good time. The bright colors suggest fun and are a far cry from the feeling of being held in the workplace, these images suggest that these women enjoy their job. It could be argued that this is a better place to be with a rich husband; instead of living in poverty with a job that forces you into hard manual labour and injury? Women in poverty would surely prefer this lifestyle...

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