Women and Weight: Gendered Messages on Magazine Covers
The purpose of this article was to compare and contrast the covers of popular men and womenâ€™s magazines. The authors hypothesized that womenâ€™s magazines were much more likely to have key messages or articles about enhancing bodily appearance than that of menâ€™s magazines. Further, they felt that the discovered messages on womenâ€™s covers would be more conflicting or hypocritical than those of menâ€™s magazine covers.
The researchers gathered their research material through analyses of twenty-one magazines. Six monthly issues dedicated to varying seasons were used for each magazine title. The total amount of magazines examined was 69 covers of womenâ€™s magazines and 54 covers of menâ€™s magazines. The authors then used a checklist that had the following headings: presence of a diet message, exercise message, cosmetic surgery message, and general weight loss message and if there was existence of a conflicting message beside one another. The percentage for each specific magazine was determined by dividing the number of magazine issues that contained each checklist item by the total number of magazine issues examined.
The results of the authors research revealed that, â€œAlthough the majority of the most popular womenâ€™s magazines focused on changing and improving oneâ€™s self, most of the popular menâ€™s magazines focused on the outside world, news, politics, hobbies and activitiesâ€ (Malkin, Wornian, Chrisler 649). Additionally, several of the womenâ€™s magazine covers were found to have conflicting messages, â€œFor example, a magazine might show a picture of an ice-cream cake with a message that says â€˜Ice-Cream Extravaganza!â€™ next to an exercise message that says â€˜Trim Your Thighs in 3 weeks!â€™â€ (Malkin, Wornian, Chrisler 652). Furthermore, th