New women, old messages?: constructions of femininities, race and hypersexualised bodies in selected South African magazines, 2003-2006
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This article discusses the ways in which racialised femininities are differently presented as hyper(hetero)sexual in three South African magazines targeting female readers - Femina, Fair Lady and True Love - between 2003 and 2006. I argue that the bodily work women are expected to perform is determined by constructs of race, where women are advised to regulate and control their physical
bodies as a means of maintaining (hetero)sexual desirability or becoming (hetero)sexually desirable. I discuss how the racist portrayal of black womanhood in magazine advertisements that target white female readers of Femina and Fair Lady are sexualised in ways that define the black female body as alluring and exotic. My discussion reveals that the privileging of white heterofemininity in all
three magazines as normative and ideal, simultaneously defines black women as the embodiment of a racialised (hetero)sexuality at times mediated by essentialist ideas of Africa which echoes racist colonial discourse and defines black women as essentially different.
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