Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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This paper aims to analyse the discourse of femininity in advertisements for products and services for women published in Thai health and beauty magazines by adopting a Critical Discourse Analysis approach. The research questions are: 1) what is the ideology of femininity represented in these advertisements? And 2) what are the linguistic strategies used for representing these ideological concepts? It is found that these advertisements convey an ideology of 'desirable women' which consists of three related concepts. 1) Desirable features for women include slim and slender figure; youthful appearance; white, clear, and radiant skin; large, firm, and shapely bust; and odorless privates. These features are construed signs of "healthy beauty." 2) Some natural bodily conditions which are opposite to the desirable features are problems and enemies. Women with these "problems" are in trouble and lack confidence. 3) Bodily management can be done effortlessly and effectively through the magic of the advertised products and services. Thus, women should improve themselves to be better persons by selecting the right products and services. Various linguistic strategies are manipulated to represent these ideological concepts including the use of lexical selection, claiming common fact, metaphors, overstatements, rhetorical questions, presupposition manipulation, and intertextuality. As for lexical selection, positive words, as well as trendy terms such as "healthily beautiful" and "healthy", are selected to ratify the attributes to be construed as "desirable." Also, terms denoting problems and anxieties are used to describe some natural features, which are opposite to the "desirable" ones, as "undesirable features." Lexical choices denoting ease, short periods of time, and potency are used to describe the effectiveness of bodily improvement processes. Factual claims are adopted to validate ideological concepts. War-like metaphors are used to construe the opposite features as enemies with whom women are fighting against. Overstatement is used to describe the delightful feeling of achieving "desirable" features and the miraculous power of the advertised products or services. Presupposition manipulation is used to imply that some features are problematical, shameful, and even diseased. This further implies that women with what is deemed to be "undesirable" features are in trouble. The use of intertextuality in the form of inserted personal narratives and the citation of scientific facts quotation is used to suggest that the advertised products and services are the right ones for women.

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