Each time you pass a stand full of magazines it’s hard not to absorb the many exhortations that are being thrown at you. The range of different lifestyle magazines have more or less exploded during the last years. All magazines, each one trying to outmatch the other, want to help you improve to be the best you can.
People get affected by their surroundings including what they see and what they read. Therefore we chose to do this study, as an opportunity to get a closer look on what the Swedish lifestyle magazines Cosmopolitan and Café tell us about women and men. The questions this essay dealt with were how both of the magazines create images of the modern woman and man, included which messages they produce while doing it.
The theoretical framework for this study was in first hand based on Anja Hirdman’s discussion about homosociality and gender. As an implement Laura Mulvey’s male gaze was used, to get a better understanding in why the images of women and men look the way they do. Also, Anthony Giddens’ well-known theory of structuration, Yvonne Hirdman’s gender system and Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding model were used as tools in the rhetorical and semiotic analysis of this study, to answer the key questions.
The main findings of this essay resulted in a surprisingly clear picture of how different men and women are portrayed on magazine covers, through picture and text. In Cosmopolitan women are defined by their men and their looks. They are told how to get a perfect skin, thinner waist and probably the most important thing of all – Him. Café, on the other hand, wants to offer men new adventures, new gadgets and the latest fashion. They tell men about life, excluding women, and contribute to the male fellowship. The findings about the fact that both Cosmopolitan and Café are giving men the main attention and focus are relevant in the question about gender stereotypes and need to be further explored.
2012. , 60 p.