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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 4042

The Gender Project

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The Gender Project


The aim of this project is to identify and explain modern day social representations of both men and women found within a contemporary magazine aimed at a male audience, GQ magazine. This will be achieved by gaining a sample from several back issues of the magazine forming a female sample and a male sample. Both of these will comprise only of articles featuring overtly a picture of either a male representation or a female representation or in some cases both, such pieces will fall into both samples or into which they are most appropriate too. The sample will be selected by taking every nth piece from the initial data collection, so as to get a workable sized sample. Once the sample is formed data will be subject to both quantitative and qualitative content analysis which will extract major themes from the visual images only as well as the importance of such images, with support from know psychological research meanings, consequences, and importance of such images will be produced. Key findings derived from the research include the representation of women as sexual objects and little else and the male representation being athletic and intelligent.


This project has been approached with a social constructionist perspective which means to look at the person while remembering the social context which encompasses ideologies, technology, environment, language, meanings and culture to mention some of the themes at the heart of this perspective. The project has been approached with the knowledge that human beings are a part of a social continuum, which has great bearing on our aspirations, accomplishments and stability.

The theory of

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Once a sample had been obtained a coding frame was required so an analysis could begin. Using four images from each sample to create a frame I removed every third article. At this stage of the analysis it is easy to introduce experimenter bias, I could have chosen the articles that would have allowed me to create the frame I wanted and so the overall results that I wanted. However such behaviours would not create a valid and worth while study, so measures were implemented to remove this potential bias. Every image in the sample was placed in a sealed non transparent envelope and placed in a pile, then every third article was removed from the sample, once four male and four female images had been taken out they were removed from the envelopes and the construction of a coding frame began.

The coding frame required would need to allow units of visual images to be allocated to a category which then allows for the frequency to be counted and its importance recognised by the number of times it appears. As this project is looking at the representations of genders in contemporary media the categories were designed to allocate material in such a way that its representation is apparent. For example one category was images of people represented as heroic, risk takers and athletic any image fitting in to this will be giving representations of people undertaking activities that produce these connotations, an example could be somebody rock climbing. A full list of the categories and there meanings is in appendix 1A.

With the coding frame in place the twenty four images were categorised, into the seven categories that had been developed. The number of entries into each is listed in appendix 1B.

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The representations detected in this work are evident throughout society, for example women being pictured in a sexual way are used to sell everything from beer (2005 Fosters bill board campaign) to shampoo (2005 Herbal essences TV commercial). Men are quite often shown as the antithesis to this as being macho and dangerous, equally men are thought of in this way in every day life for example ‘women and children first’ something still in place for procedures during emergency exists. This behaviour gives the impression men can cope with a dangerous situation better and it’s easy with females out of the way. The trends identified in this work fit it in with social ideologies that are held within western culture. We expect little boys to be interested in ports and playing rough, perhaps why men are commonly represented in athletic ways. The findings show that men were represented in parts are wealthy and business like or intelligent. Not one female was represented in this way, this does not conflict with how we are structured as a culture, females are not often shown in the media and successful and wealthy, even in something as trivial as a TV soap how often are female characters shown in such a light. They are not as it would go against many cultural norms we already hold, it would appear unrealistic.

To conclude the findings have predominantly supported historical psychological findings, while refuting small aspects of research that which has gone against traditional ideas held about gender and its representations. The findings do follow western ideologies and support literature by Herzlich and Moscovici.

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