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Analysing the representation of women in British Asian women’s magazines

Linda BBC 150x150 Tuesday 5 May 2015

Senior Lecturer in English Language Dr Linda McLoughlin met with regional policy makers, community groups, local government representatives, magazine editors, women’s networks co-ordinators, and academics to discuss her latest research into identity politics in magazines aimed at British Asian women.

The dissemination workshop was the culmination of a two year project that saw Dr McLoughlin undertake a textual analysis of magazines aimed at British Asian women, followed by a number of research focus groups with women’s networks in Preston, Pendle and Blackburn.

As a result of her research, Dr McLoughlin was also invited to talk to the BBC Asian network about her findings, which included information on audience responses to the advertising of products such as skin lightening creams. 

Dr McLoughlin’s latest research follows on from an earlier study published in South Asian Popular Culture which explored multimodal representations of beauty in a contemporary magazine aimed at British Asian women.  

Dr McLoughlin said: “My textual analysis and the focus groups revealed underlying tensions in the juxtaposition of western and traditional images and values which offer British Asian women a commodified and hybridized subject position.  

“The dissemination workshop which followed, which sought to bring together women’s organisations and audiences with those who produce the magazines, was an extremely useful way to contextualise the research and attempt to bring to the attention of decision makers the issues that really matter to their readers.   

“A number of issues were raised including the problems that come with ideological representations of femininity and female sexuality, and whether the magazines were promulgating a universal aesthetic of female beauty which is persistently white, western and wealthy. I hope that the workshop gave a voice to the readers and raised awareness among regional policy makers, community groups, local government representatives, women’s networks and the magazine editors themselves.”

Dr McLoughlin’s research will be published next year in a book called British Asian Women's Magazines. 

Profile - Dr Linda McLoughlin 

English at Liverpool Hope University 

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