Gender Roles, Norms, and Socialization Essay

One topic that often comes up in a sociological conversation is socialization. How is it spread? Who spreads it? What makes a specific piece of material socialization? Many sociologists agree that the media has a large roll in socialization and spreading it on a wide scale. The purpose of this paper is to explore the media and see where and how it is spreading its own form of socialization. Sociological research suggests that Three men’s magazines and three women’s magazines were chosen in order to find key gender socialization themes produced in them.

The men’s magazines that were chosen were GQ, Men’s Health, and Esquire. These three men’s magazines were chosen because they not only have socialization themes in them, but they are three of the most subscribed to magazines in the United States. The magazines all have relatively the same themes in them, however some focus on specific themes more than others. I chose GQ because it is the epitome of men’s magazines. It contains everything a man could ask for. From sports, to news, to fashion tips, and even beautiful women, this magazine has it all.

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GQ focuses on fashion, style, and culture. The current editor of GQ is Jim Nelson and the current publisher is Peter King Hunsinger, who both acquired their GQ job in 2003. Men’s Health was also chosen for this paper for the reason that it mostly revolves around fitness, style, and fashion. These are three of the biggest“norms” that society sees and deals with on a daily basis. Men see these characteristics as important to their daily lives. When a man wakes up, he tries to dress in what is fashionable to the time period.

A man might go to the gym before or after work in order to get/stay in shape and looking good. Also, like GQ, Men’s Health usually has a section specifically focused on the opposite gender, what women want, and sex. The last men’s magazine I chose was Esquire, which like the other two, focus on whats popular during the time period like fasion, politics, women, and food. The Hearst Corporation publishes Esquire in the U. S. It was founded and edited in 1932 by Arnold Gingrich. The three women’s magazines that I chose are Allure, Cosmopolitan, and Women’s Health.

Allure It was founded in 1991 by editor in chief Linda Wells, who has been at the helm of the magazine ever since. Just like most women’s magazines, Allure focuses a lot on fashion, what is going on with celebrities, and as always, sex. This magazine has articles in it from “How to be Stylish” to “The Art of Seduction. ” The second magazine that I chose was Cosmo. Cosmopolitan is one of the largest magazine distributors in the US and, like Allure, focuses on many female priorities. When first opening up Cosmo, one can’t help but notice all of the articles based on sex.

In earlier times, articles about sex in magazines were not normal. In fact, they were pretty rare. However, times are changing, and so are the social norms. The three women’s magazines that I chose have a strong underlying theme about love and life. These articles are becoming more common, and more popular. Women are able to read articles in magazines like Cosmocalled “75 Sex Moves You Need to Try” and “30 Things to do to a Naked Man. ”Love and sex is the biggest theme in the three women’s magazines I used.

Magazines that put articles like this in their magazines are indirectly creating social norms and gender roles in society because it draws women’s attention and makes women more comfortable with the subject. It also creates magazine subscribers who enjoy always reading what the new trend is in magazines. Whether its about love, food, clothes, or even celebrities, the number of subscribers to these magazines grow everyday. Emile Durkheim created the Structural-functionalism theory, which states society is a unified whole that functions because of the contributions of its separate structures.

If Emile were alive today, he would say that magazines as a form of media fall into structural-functionalist theory because society is working as a group in this instance. For example, in this situation there are two parties, the magazine producer and the magazine consumer. Both parties need each other in order to make progress in society. The producers need the consumers to buy the magazines in order to stay in business, and the consumers feel the need to buy the magazine to keep up with what is in style.

Men and women’s magazines help the consumer to feel in the loop. I also believe that consumers buy these magazines because it gives them hope. What I mean by that is consumers look up to celebrities and popular figures inside America’s culture. The consumer wants to look like them, dress like them, and have the celebrity’s lifestyle. Buying the magazine is the consumer’s way of feeling closer to their idols, the celebrities. This is why structural-functionalism is the theoretical perspective that best describes the media’s role in socialization.