Due to the developments in today's gender discussions, this essay aimed at investigating the gendered constructions and encouragements to consumption. As a former fashion student I have a special interest in the commercial constructions featured in fashion magazines, especially since advertising, fashion and perceptions of gender have long walked hand in hand. Just as feminism studies have shown femininity being a fluid identity, recent studies of masculinities, media and culture are also showing changes in the depictions of men.
The aim was to clarify how fashion magazines encourage men and women to consume products and ideals, and also discuss the gender constructions occurring in the junction of editorial and commercial text (articles and advertisements). The analysis was thereof based on three main questions:
- How is consumption encouraged in male and female fashion magazines?
- What kind of gendered pattern appears in the junction of advertisement and editorial text?
- With regard to the gender constructions, what is the reader encouraged to consume?
The theoretical framework of the analysis was based on gender studies and political economy, mostly describing a commercial perception of feminine journalism and a new metrosexual expression in men’s fashion and lifestyle magazines.
By using a combination of quantitative (content analysis) and qualitative (semiotics) approach two fashion magazines, Elle and King Magazine (published in May 2013) were used as representatives of fashion magazines in general.
The results showed clear differences between the sexes. Male magazines presented obvious role models for a new hegemonic identity based on financial success and stylish costume. The magazine provided the reader with clear instructions concerning behaviour, dress, and the like, as well as specific suggestions for products that expressed the correct form of masculinity.
Ideals occurred in female magazines as well, but unlike King Magazine, Elle provided its readers with the concepts and inspiration to imitate ideals. While male magazine focused on the consumption of products, female magazine visualized a consumable escapism.
2013. , 42 p.