Ruby Wax

Concern has long been expressed over possible adverse effect of stereotyping. This essay investigates a sample of news stereotyping to determine how gender portrayal stereotypes women. Findings indicate that women are significantly more likely than men to appear as images of sexual beings first, rather than intellectual beings, and at the same time, journalists tend to focus on the domestic aspects of the politically active woman’s life. This is a sample from the DAILY STAR on the page 7 on November, 9 2003.

The news story is about Ruby Wax who is well known herself due to the success of shows like “The Full Wax” which she writes herself, she is also a famous director at the BBC. In this essay, I will analyze how this newspaper article stereotypes Ruby Wax from 4 aspects namely photograph, placement, headline and content. 1, photograph The size of the photograph it takes on the page is an important code for the reader as it affects the attention given to the article.

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There are two photographs of Ruby Wax that take up 4/5 of the space given to the story; the other 1/5 is taken up by the written report. Your eyes tend to be drawn by the larger photograph first in the centre of the page. It shows Ruby Wax, the subject of the story, who is wearing a glamorous velvet dress and with the distinct colors of the red lipstick, is doing her dusting. She holds a vacuum cleaner in the left hand and a feather duster in the right hand with a luxurious house as the background.

The smaller photograph shows Ruby in a low cut dress lying on the bed in a sexy pose. Before reading this article, I didn’t know who Ruby Wax was. It’s hard for me to relate her to a famous director or a writer at the first sight of these two photographs. From these two photographs, Ruby Wax is stereotyped to be a beautiful thing, an eloquent thing, and a delicate thing. She is also stereotyped to be a hardworking housewife. She is showed as female as any other normal woman and just as good a wife as any other wife.

The journalist conveys such information: the significant difference between her and other women is not her intelligence and success as a director or writer, but she is doing her housework in the glam velvet frock. 2, Placement This news article is placed on the upper side of page 7 and it takes up 3/4 of this page. The other 1/4 of the page is an advertisement on furniture such as cream chair, four-poster bed and blue vase. Related to the large photographs of Ruby above, the first impression the whole page gives me is that this is not a news report but an advertisement for something like vacuum machine or furniture.

I noticed that there are still quite a lot of news reports about football stars or boxers in that day’s newspaper, but I can hardly find any of them accompany by the advertisement on furniture or ornaments but something like computers, mobile phones, cars and so on. They like to portray women in housecleaning and child caring roles to sell cleaners, furniture or baby products as they do in this article. This gender stereotype is used to sell the products to the people they believe would use them most, showing them in the “situations” they would most likely be in.

We have to admit that even in today’s society; women are still easy to be associated with housework by people so this type of stereotyping of women in news stories is commonplace. 3, Headline The headline “Vaccing Gorgeous” is placed on the top of the photograph of Ruby with the largest typeface of this page. The headline’s position and size means that the reader’s attention should be split between the headline and the photograph. And the subheading below is “Ruby puts on glam for a dust-up”. The headline “Vaccing Gorgeous” is a play on words.

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