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Semiotics Ideology and Femininity in Popular Pakistani Women's Magazines

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Drawing on theoretical perspectives from Western feminist research on the genre of women's magazines, I adapt Lazar's model of feminist critical discourse analysis (2005; henceforth referred to as FCDA) to write a critique on the genre of popular Pakistani women's magazines as linguistic and semiotic constructs, which articulate a certain ideology regarding the construction of Pakistani womens' identity. Through semiotic analysis of certain sections of the magazines, I point out the underlying normative and ideological assumptions in order to show how these magazine representations position women; and how semiotics wield power in marginalizing the role of women in society. The restrictive nature of discourses on femininities is highlighted through an analysis of discursive linguistic and semiotic techniques and devices. I argue that the role of semiotics is central in shaping and reinforcing such asymmetrical, gendered and sexist social patterns and practices and that these images (can) have repercussions with regard to women's sexuality(ies) and their social roles and identities.

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