What assumptions do women’s and/or men’s lifestyle magazines make about gender? With reference to specific magazines that you have studied, discuss the nature and purposes of theses assumptions? Lifestyle magazines are the most popular and competitive areas of the magazine publishing market. There are many magazines which are specially targeted at audiences, and reflect the gender lifestyles of the average women or man the magazines are trying to cater for.
When looking at whether they make assumptions for audiences, I feel they bring out certain stereotypes of assuming their audience likes one thing and one thing only, for example, the magazine NUTS or ZOO, feature a lot of “girls” and “football! ” This is catering for the male audience and assuming this is all they like. The magazine COSMOPOLITAN, which is aimed specifically at females, features stereotypical interests of females, such as “Beauty and Fashion” tips or “Sex Advice on Men” and this based by assuming their gender interests.
When analysing a lifestyle magazine on the surface they seem to offer information and advice about a certain type of “lifestyle”; what products to buy; where to buy them; what types of goods and services that might be available to someone leading that particular “lifestyle”, you only have to flick through an edition of “VOGUE” or “LOADED” to know what I am talking about. However as Lazarfield and Katz suggest, the relationship between audience and text is often much more complex and more intimate, offering a range of “uses and gratifications” for the reader.
This theory is used to make the editors and people working on the magazine money. They manage to profit from the consumer magazines by selling particular types of audience to advertisers. The magazines are offering their readers a “lifestyle”: in other words a model to base their lives on at this particular moment, and the goods necessary to accommodate it. This is manipulating the audience and their assumption to what lifestyle magazines make about gender.
They read the magazine’s to get guidance and aspiration, and I think the editor’s portray this feeling they get well by use of colloquial language such as “Get Bikini Fabulous, 110s of sexy, figure-friendly bikinis. 45 look-toned-nows cheat. Fake your tan, not your confidence. ” (Cosmopolitan, June, 05) The use of language in this quote is a very common style of writing women’s lifestyle magazines, as the magazines often form an encyclopaedia of the insecurities about women’s issues, both mentally and physically.
The magazines are subconsciously designed to make you insecure about yourself. This makes me think of a study done by a theorist named McRobbie, whom in 1978, did a study of the “romantic individualism” encoded within JACKIE, (a women’s lifestyle magazine in the 70s). The study is described by McRobbie as offering “a systematic critique of JACKIE as a system of messages, a signifying system and a bearer of a certain ideology. “