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“GLOSSY” POLITICIANS: PORTRAYING WOMEN POLITICIANS IN ROMANIAN CONSUMER MAGAZINES

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Author(s): ROMINA SURUGIU

Journal: Challenges of the Knowledge Society
ISSN 2068-7796

Volume: 2;
Issue: -;
Start page: 1929;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: women politicians | consumer magazines | popular culture | icons | Romania

ABSTRACT
Women consumer magazines (glossies) represent the most important part of the specialized media all over the world. The main ingredients of their editorial “recipe” are the positive tone of the articles, and the optimistic, yet shallow approach to all the theme/subjects covered. Magazines are considered to be beautiful objects that inspire people to cherish them. Women magazines have been criticized in feminist media studies for portraying women in a stereotyped way and for encouraging a consumerist behavior among them. The role models offered by these media are mainly taken from the show business and fashion industry. Women politician are rarely present in the pages of these publications, especially in countries as Romania where the political participation of women is one of the lowest in Europe. The paper presents in the first part official figures regarding the political participation of Romanian women, and it discusses the results of the most important academic studies on women and media. A previous research showed, for example, that in a four years period, three important Romanian magazines published only 9 article presenting women politicians. The general assumption in magazines desks (and in the society) is that politics is a dirty business that does not match the beautiful world of magazines. The second part will focus on a case study, considered to be relevant for explaining the general image of women politicians and politics in Romanian consumer magazines. A visual analysis (from the popular culture perspective) will be done to Elena Udrea’s pictorial feature for Tabu (Taboo) magazine (November 2011). The choice of the case study was motivated by the following reasons: Elena Udrea is a controversial, yet successful politician, she has impersonated popular culture icons (Madonna, Jackie, Cleopatra) and the feature has generated many positive and negative comments in media.

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