ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN
PREVIOUS TRANNY GUIDES
Images' - From 8th Edition of The Tranny Guide
Images' By Lesley Lambert
A description of the final
research project for Lesley’s BSc degree in psychology.
Men and women are not
biologically, very different from one-another, yet their
behaviour is different in ways which go well beyond the
natural physical differences.
As part of my final year
project of my Open University psychology course, I chose
to look at a possible reason for this discrepancy.
One area of my study was
the 'social representations' in the media, which subliminally
influences our understanding of the world, ourselves and
those around us.
For the purpose of a project
to exercise the courses analytical procedures and to prove
my understanding of the subject, I chose to focus a small
study on two leading glossy magazines, one aimed at women,
Marie-Claire (May 1997) and one at men, GQ / Gentlemen's
Quarterly (July 1997).
By undertaking this study
I thought that I might also gain some insight into what
influences others including my trannie partner who reads
Pictures were my main focus
of study but I also scanned the text for information to
contribute to my analysis. I looked at articles and adverts
containing pictures of men and women and then chose a
random sample for in depth study. I was looking to see
what stereotypes these images conjured up. For example
the idea that 'a woman's place is in the home' might be
objectified by a picture of a woman using washing up liquid
at a kitchen sink.
I saw in the adverts
In three fashion ads, there
were pictures of men dressed in suits, personifying I
felt, purposeful, corporate, self-importance. The fashion
adverts showing women contrasted heavily with that of
the men. They were clad in lighter dress and looked as
if their thoughts were elsewhere. I felt that they personified
were presented as beauty created by man"
There were four advertisements
for beauty products. In two, the women were presented
as beauty created by man and in the third the woman appeared
to be the object of man's desire. One advert was for a
male fragrance - this had the caption 'Essence of Freedom'.
The man had a distant dreamy expression similar to that
seen on some of the women's faces.
There were four adverts
for various eyewear, three of these featured men. In two
of these the men looked tough or self-important. In one
the man was loving and sexual. The fourth advert was for
contact lenses this had the caption 'make love not condensation'.
This featured a woman with a sweat-covered face. I felt
this image to be anchored in the idea of uncomplicated
sex, The advert was in GQ magazine and this led me to
consider it as objectification of woman as an object of
pleasure by the advertiser.
were not set against natural backgrounds ... as if they
not a part of the real world"
In adverts for kitchen
equipment and slimming products there were both men and
women. Usually the woman was more prominent than the man.
In the adverts showing a man and woman in an embrace,
the woman was in a more passive position with the man
doing the holding and caressing. In one advert the woman
was on the top but the man appeared to have a more dominant
I saw in features
In the fashion features,
pictures of women were not set against natural backgrounds.
Some of the pictures were cut out, probably from catwalk
scenes, giving the women a disembodied feel as if they
were not part of the real world. The male images were
more active, they seemed to have more substance being
set against a natural background.
I saw in the articles
There were human interest
articles which contrasted with the prevalent images of
Articles featuring men
showed them as sensitive, confident and concerned about
other people. One man was quoted in the text as saying
"To me...there's something dramatically ugly about a person
who can wear a dress for £6,000, when at the same time
people can't afford to eat." The other was a composer
who looked very tough and aggressive but had written a
piece of music about a woman's story of abuse.
representations of men were a complete contrast to the
An interview with a famous
photographer of topless models, painted him as a kind
and gentle family man.
of the results
On the whole the male gender
was represented in a more positive way than that of the
females. Men appeared to be more active, involved and
concerned about the world around them. The overall result
showed that the representations of women were set in a
fantasy context. With few exceptions women appeared as
passive or neutral, detached from the real world.
The results of the study
surprised me. I had expected to find traditional, modern,
middle class stereotypes of women. For example; housewife,
mother, career woman, superwoman (juggling career and
motherhood). I had even hoped to find some more positive
female representations which would relate to my own feelings
and experiences. For example women as activists, feminists
and with interests outside of home, family and career.
Instead I found objectification that seemed to me anchored
in associations with fifties pin-up magazines. I was reminded
of 1970's Cosmopolitan and centuries old archetypes of
women on pedestals like goddesses.
I felt that the representations
of men were a complete contrast to the women. Men were
represented as comfortable with themselves, not overtly
concerned with their appearance (but smart and clean none-the-less).
Some fitted a 50's tough guy image, but even this appeared
to be a tough veneer over a soft and caring interior.
Men did not appear as sexually aggressive but as loving
and sexual and in touch with the 'caring nineties'.
In a larger study across
a broader range of titles a different conclusion may have
been drawn. However on the evidence of this small study
it is shocking to think that young men and women may be
influenced by these strongly biased representations of
women. I hope it does not mean that the fight for a woman's
right to choose has been forgotten.
of the women I know ... unblock their own drains"
On the positive side it
is nice to think that such positive and more rounded images
of men may be influencing future generations of young
were the magazines representing?
Most of the women I know
work, raise children, do gardening, unblock their own
drains, offer support to others and come from a variety
of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. I also know many that
are disabled. I don't know many women who have the time
or the money to live the lifestyle represented in this
Most of the men that I
know, that are as sensitive, caring and concerned as the
men described in the magazine articles, are rare, work
as I do, in community care or are gay, bisexual, or are
My tranny partner, believes
that one of the many contributory factors to transvestism
is a desire to escape the pressures of a traditional masculine
life for the a more 'romantic and glamorous' world of
The magazines certainly
appear to feed the illusion of this dreamy femininity
and of course this temporary escape is valuable and should
be available to any gender. However we both know women’s
lives are not like this all the time. I trust that other
caring sharing trannies understand this too.
Further suggested reading:
Forever Feminine: women's magazines Ferguson M (1984)
and The Cult of Femininity, London, Gower.