Task 7 – Easy Living content analysis

During this session, me and Tom were given a 2011 edition of Easy Living to analyse how ‘fair’ the magazine represented ethnicities. We started a tally chart and scanned the entire magazine, noting the number of Caucasians and non-Caucasians. After completing the magazine, we found that there were 89 Caucasians, and only 2 mixed-race and 1 Latino. We immediately deducted from this, as well as the overall content of the magazine, that Easy Living is aimed at white middle class women.

We then had the idea of comparing the demographics of the magazine to the total demographics of the UK. In 2011, White British people consisted 87.1% of the population whilst the other categories accumulated as 12.9%. In comparison to the issue of Easy Living, which was also published in 2011, White people consisted of 96.7% of the magazine whilst the other categories only made up 3.3%. We deduced from this that the magazine was very unrepresentative of the total population. However, we understood that the magazine has never been aimed at the whole population but rather it appeals to middle class women. Nevertheless, the issue’s demographics doesn’t take into account the number of black, Asian or mixed race women who see themselves as middle class.

To improve our investigation, we would have had to analyse a number of Easy Living issues, over perhaps 6 months, in order to measure how consistently this failed to represent their entire readership. Then again, we would also need to find out what percentage of the middle class constitutes black, Asian and mixed race women in order to measure how ‘fairly’ Easy Living is representing ethnicities. Then again, it is difficult to apply the word fair to anything because it always involves someone’s opinion of what is fair. For example, the editor of Easy Living may not see the relative exclusion of other ethnicities as unfair but rather as continuing its appeal to its main readership. Everyone has a different opinion of what is fair just like everyone has a different opinion on what is justice. Fairness could also involve the scale of an image of white people throughout the magazine, compared to those of other ethnicities. For example, two out of the three other non-white women featured in the Easy Living issue were only featured within images filling a quarter of the page whilst most of the white women featured got almost a page dedicated to their face.

The word ‘fair’ is also vague in itself as it does not necessarily involve how other ethnicities are represented but rather, in what quantity are other ethnicities represented and does that quantity coincide with national statistics? Although the magazine is in full control of what it does/doesn’t publish, many of the women we tallied were in adverts, made by external companies to the magazine, which makes it harder to blame the magazine for misrepresentation. Nevertheless, it could still spawn a debate on the representation of ethnicities within advertising.

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