Women and Weight: Gendered Messages on Magazine Covers.
The purpose of this article was to compare and contrast the covers of popular men and women's magazines. The authors hypothesized that women's magazines were much more likely to have key messages or articles about enhancing bodily appearance than that of men's magazines. Further, they felt that the discovered messages on women's covers would be more conflicting or hypocritical than those of men'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 women's magazines and 54 covers of men'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, "Although the majority of the most popular women's magazines focused on changing and improving one's self, most of the popular men's magazines focused on the outside world, news, politics, hobbies and activities" (Malkin, Wornian, Chrisler 649). Additionally, several of the women's magazine covers were found to have conflicting messages, "For example, a magazine might show a picture of an ice-cream cake with a message that says "Ice-Cream Extravaganza!" next to an exercise message that says "Trim Your Thighs in 3 weeks!"" (Malkin, Wornian, Chrisler 652). Furthermore, the research discovered that a majority of the body enhancing messages were strategically placed near other messages that would bring about the idea that enhancing ones body or being the ideal women, would lead to a happier life and with better control of the people in it.