By Rayan Kayssi
For this article, I chose the March 2006 edition of Cosmopolitan magazine, which is considered a women magazine because it mainly targets women readers.
As for the assumption that the ads in a particular magazine will be fairly consistent in their representation of sex and gender, I found it to be a valid assumption.
Almost half of the content of this magazine consists of beauty ads and diet ads.
I found many female stereotypes that are used by the advertisers, many of which were obvious and others were subtle.
For instance, images of female bodies are everywhere. Women and their body parts sell everything from food to cars.
Popular film and television actresses are becoming younger, taller and thinner.
Women’s magazines are full of articles urging that if they can just lose those last twenty pounds, they’ll have it all. Women who are insecure about their bodies are more likely to buy beauty products, new clothes, and diet aids.
Women are sold to the diet industry by the magazines we read and the television programs we watch, almost all of which make us feel anxious about our weight. For example, in this magazine there are many different diet pills ads and plastic surgeons.
Many of these ads are subtle, because many women don’t have in mind that the media control their perspectives of the ideal “woman” image.
Many of them do look for these special diets that make them lose many pounds quickly and look for the diet pills that burn fat.
When all the diet fails, many start considering surgery so that they feel better about themselves and have the perfect image they have been looking for.
Women’s sensuality wasn’t the only one portrayed significantly in this issue, also men were portrayed as good looking as they could be and healthy as they could be.
They also have a page criticizing ‘unfit’ men with pictures of them showing their big belly.
The portrayal of sex and gender in this magazine is fairly realistic, because this magazine is aiming for women readers and almost its entire content is portrayed to women.
Even the expensive car ads are advertised in women’s perspective. For example, instead of putting prices or financing offers, or have the car’s specifications in big fonts, they only have a picture of the car and a picture of a women stepping in gum on the other side.
With a big font it says “Life without Toyota…”