Sunday blogging against racism #4c–Ladies’ Home Journal

I’m not going to be able to do this one justice, as the September issue of LHJ apparently isn’t yet available online, but I’ll try to get the basic premise across.

While “donating” plasma the other day, I grabbed the September 2007 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal from the magazine rack.

In the intro letter from the editor, I noticed two pictures of LHJ staff members interacting with some contributors to that month’s magazine. I noticed that one of these staff members was African-American, and another was Asian, and I started to think about the construction of whiteness, and how women’s magazines, like so much else in our culture, exist in part to help define what is “normal”, and therefore “white”. Even if they use “diverse” models to illustrate their articles, in the final analysis, whiteness is what they are peddling.

I looked at those pictures, and I started to wonder what it must feel like to work for a magazine that does its part to help maintain the “white” status quo, while living as a woman of color in a city whose diversity is far greater than that of the rest of the country . . . are they aware of the IRO/IRS that is happening? Does it bother them, or do they choose not to think about it?  

All I know is that, the more I learn, the less able I am to see the images fed to me by the media as “neutral” in any way. And I guess I hope that, by sharing my observations, I will be able to help others question these things as well . . .

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