Two people walk into a magazine stand. The first is a business man who just got off work and the second is a teenage girl who is on her way home from school. The business man walks past the guy's section and goes straight to a magazine that reads "Find Your Style 358 Hot Looks to Really Turn Heads" while the little girl passes by the girls section and picks up a magazine with the sub-title: "Custom Fit: Lebron James buys his first suit." What does this say about their interests? It doesn't make sense right? That is because magazines and their advertising design themselves using stereotypes. Probably the little girl will not be as interested in hearing about Lebron James and his career, as much as about how boys in her class see her. Stereotype is the main strategy that publishers use to sell magazines.
Assuming that the girl has found her true choice of magazine, she will have to battle the onslaught of ads featuring girls with pretty hair, and lots of makeup to arrive at the "358 Hot Looks" article. Though she just wants advice on how she can get a guy's attention, she now has to deal with images that will make her think that she needs more than a little makeup to do the job. Elle Girl October 2003 has fifteen advertisements before hitting the first article, most of them double page. Glamour magazine has an increased percentage of advertisements as does GQ with one-third of the ads showing before the first article. The repeated views of skinny girls with lots of make up and cheesy comments, such as in Elle Girl, eventually force young girls to compare themselves to this stereotype.
Another unfortunate aspect of most magazines, men's and women's, is that the image they make on the cover is not fully correct. Reeling in people by articles that concern the common reader and then they do not support them in the articles. Why should one buy a magazine and find that they get flimsy articles? GQ October 2003 states really largely on the front cover: "98% Ambition and 2% Body Fat" as an article about the wrestler the Rock, yet the three page article tells mostly of his tatoo and less of his rise to stardom.