Where is Daddy?: The visual portrayal of fatherhood in modern parenting magazines from 1994-2010
LE3 .A278 2010
Bachelor of Arts
By analyzing the media‟ s portrayal of fathers in modern Canadian society over the last 15 years, this thesis examines the role of Western media in its depiction of the father role, and its subsequent impact on Western society‟ s working ideology of fatherhood. Today’s Parent magazine, established in 1984, was selected for in- depth analysis because it is Canada‟ s primary national parenting magazine ( read by 1.8 million Canadians each month); is published frequently ( 12 times per year on a monthly basis); and contains a gender- neutral title which implies that its content is applicable to all parents, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or economic class. In my analysis, I adopt elements of Marxist theory which argues that the parenting magazines promoting these family lifestyles are an important part of the superstructure used to reinforce the class system and elements of Feminist theory which argues that gendered divisions are so heavily promoted in parenting magazines because they benefit men, thus ensuring a continued standard of divided gender roles and responsibilities, as well as the inevitable continuation of female subjugation. My primary goal was to determine whether or not the magazine‟ s visual portrayal of fatherhood has changed over the allotted time period. After conducting my own methodological research, I found that fathers continue to be visually underrepresented and stereotyped based on the ages of the children presented with them as well as the activities they are involved in. The magazine continues to propagate perceived norms and stereotypes regarding gendered parenting roles, with the majority of its visual content directed at the assumed interests of women/ mothers rather than men/ fathers.
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