Pride Magazine

Cover Page Analysis

  • MASTHEAD: bold capital letters and red emphasise 'pride' to empower readers.
  • SKYLINE: tells the readers that the magazine has been in circulation for 24 years, implying it has been successful for a number of years. It also promotes the magazine's website, where consumers can access the product online.
  • TYPOGRAPHY: the fonts used in the magazine are elegant yet bold, similarly to how the readers want to be and look.
  • POSITION OF THE TEXT: the text is around the main image of Naomie Harris, as this is the most important element of the cover.
  • MODEL CREDIT: as Harris is famous, Pride uses her to endorse the magazine as she is well-known by many and is a beauty inspiration for black women to look up to.
  • DIRECT ADDRESS: engages the reader by directing their attention towards the article and making them feel included, particularly as it appears to be based around a discussion that readers will want to get involved in.
  • COVERLINE: interests the reader and encourages them to buy the magazine, as the topics are mainly of interest to women of colour.
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Product Context

  • Pride is a UK monthly women's lifestyle magazine that targets women of colour.
  • It has been in publication since 1990 and has a circulation of over 300,000 copies per month
  • Pride is distrubuted in the UK by COMAG. 
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Historical and Social Context

  • In the 1950s and 1960s, women's beauty magazines moved away from articles on homemaking and moved towards articles focused on beauty. Fashion also moved up the agenda. 
  • With consumption a priority for these magazines, readers were being reminded that they should look and feel the best that they could, and that the best way to achieve this was by purchasing the latest cosmetics and hair care advertised within the magazines. 
  • It is evident that this is still the case with Pride. 
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Cover Page Analysis (Media Language)

  • The magazine's title has conntations of self-respect, self-esteem, dignity and strength. There is a subtext of resistance and an affirmation of cultural identity
  • Some of the masthead is lost behind the cover model's head, suggesting her dominance and showing how confident the magazine is that their readers will still be able to recognise their brand. 
  • The red and black colour palette used for the cover lines helps to support the idea of pride. Red is associatd with pride and strength and the black is a strong, bold yet elegant statement.
  • Harris' body language with her hand on her hip suggests confidence and is also a photographer's trick to lengthen the appearance of the torso, helping her to appear taller and slimmer and improve her body shape to make it more aspirational. 
  • Harris is looking directly at the audience, seemingly making eye contact to include them.
  • Many of the cover lines focus on body image, reminding readers that they should always look their best.
  • One cover line references female genital mutilation, using only its acronym (FGM). There is an assumption that readers will be cultured enough to understand this, and also suggests that the magazine is comfortable covering serious topics through investigative journalism. 
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Cultural Context

The Black Lives Matter movement is an international activist movement that originated in the African American community, campaigning against the violence and systematic racism faced by black people.

The movement started in 2013 following the controversial acquittal of police officer George Zimmerman after the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin.

The dominance of this movement may have something to do with the huge number of social media followers Pride has gained in recent years, and reiterates the resistance the magazine has just by daring to exist as a woman of colour only space. 

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Political Context

Around the time of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Black Pride was a response to dominant white cultures and ideologies that encouraged black people to celebrate black culture and embrace their heritage.

At this time, the Afro hairstyle came to symbolise black pride and power in contrast with the artificial hairstyles of those wearing wigs or having relaxed hair, both of which were seen as pandering to European notions of beauty.

Despite this, Harris' hair on the cover of Pride is straight, down and slightly lightened, likely due to the fact that the magazine relies on advertising to generate revenue.

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Representation of Ethnicity

By using a successful, black, British cover model as their dominant image, Pride is presenting a role model for its readers from their own community.

Harris was raised in a single-parent household and came from a working class background, making it easier for the readers to aspire to be like her.

The magazine declares itself to be 'the face of this new young black Britain; outgoing, confident and ambitious': a concept that Naomie Harris appears to epitomise very well. 

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Representation of Gender

Naomie Harris is attractive and slim. The very essence of all women's lifestyle magazines is consumerism, and so the images and cover lines will always seek to support this in order to generate advertising revenue.

Cover lines such as 'how far would you go to be beautiful?' suggest that the reader cannot already be naturally beautiful: there is always room for improvement. 

In Pride, readers are reminded that they could and should look better and that they will be judged on their appearance - 'Objectified, sexualised, mocked. Black women's bodies examined.' The subtext of this is no different than any other lifestyle magazine - you are inadequate. The only difference is the article's angle, which focuses on its target audience of black women.

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Representation of Female Genital Mutilation

The initial belief that the magazine is including hard-hitting journalism doesn't completely hold together when you read the second line, which states that is happening on Harley Street, an area of London well known for cosmetic procedures. From this, we could argue that the magazine's only angle when covering this issue is wholly focused on beauty and body image. 

However, perhaps it could still be seen as a brave move to put it on the cover of a popular lifestyle magazine, bringing a very serious topic into public awareness.

Furthermore, the exlamation mark makes the magazine's point of view on the topic clear, illustrating a tone of shock. 

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Stuart Hall's Representation Theory

Representation is the way in which meaning is given to the things which are depicted within a media text. 

  • Hall emphasises the importance of visual representation.
  • He claims that audiences read or understand a particuar text according to their cultural upbringing. In predominantly white Western cultures, ethnic minorities are misinterpreted due to underlying racist tendencies.
  • Therefore, it can be concluded that stereotyping as a form of representation reduces people to a few simple characteristics or traits. 
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Stereotypes within Pride

Stereotypical: The coverlines relating to black women being 'failed by feminism' and 'objectified, sexualised, mocked' as well as wearing wigs.

Counter-stereotypical: Confident cover image, not overly sexualised, masthead encouraging black women to be proud of their identity. 

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Blumler and Katz's Uses and Gratifications Theory

Personal Identity: Identifying with the cover model and relating to the articles on feminism and the objectification of black women. 

Information needs: 'FGM on Harley Street!'

Entertainment needs: 'Bond and Beyond' relates to the James Bond movies, which readers have likely seen

Social integration: 'Have we fallen through the cracks?' includes the reader

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Readership

As the dominant title in its market, Pride is seen by advertisers as the most effective way to reach black British women in the UK. It is one of the few niche titles that attract mainstream advertisers such as Ford and Vodafone.

It is also the only black media company of any size that still remains in black British ownership.

23% of black women in the UK read Pride Magazine at least 4 times a year, 63% of whom are in full-time work. 

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