If men wrote women magazines_whats the difference to the original one.jpg



Sounds weird, right?

The picture above illustrates what women magazines could look like if men wrote them. They would probably just write about appearance and sex – but not just in general. They would write about how women shall look and have sex in order to please MEN.
These efforts seem far away from the intentions of women when writing and reading magazines, especially when considering the target group of the “world’s most successful magazine for young women”[2]: Cosmopolitan.

“Cosmo inspires and empowers readers to be their best in every aspect of their lives – to be a fun, fearless female”[3]. A fearless young woman won´t bow to every desire of a man! And a fearless young woman would notice if someone tried to manipulate her, wouldn´t she?

So the question comes up: How far away from the upper picture are “real” women magazines?

To answer this question, I took a look at 11 covers of the “Cosmopolitan U.S.” in 2012 and also at 12 covers of “Jolie” in 2015 – a famous women magazine in Germany which addresses quite the same target group. More precisely, I observed how often the magazines showed a cover-girl that could be considered as fulfilling the beauty ideal (like on the cover above) and how often they displayed the topics of diet/improvement of body shape and sexuality. Moreover, I checked how often sexuality was linked to men in terms of (1) the necessity of knowing what men want and (2) tips how to fulfill these male desires.

Lets first talk about Cosmopolitan. In fact, I was surprised how seldom the topic of diet/improvement of body shape was adressed. On 11 covers, this topic was only adressed 4 times. Numbers increased enormously when I looked at sexuality, which was displayed 25 times. What was quite astonishing was the fact that 11 times there was reference to men:

“25 sex moves he secretly wishes you´d try” [4]

“Sex he craves” [5]

“What he wants to see during Sex” [6]

So what do WE see? Often it is not about what SHE wants, but what HE wants.

Looking at “Jolie”, there is less new I can report. From 12 covers, 6 addressed the topic of diet/improvement of body shape. A little surprising was that “only” 11 headlines were concerned with sexuality – however 5 of them showed reference to men.

….Oh, one more thing I almost forgot because it seems so natural. All 23 covers showed famous women fulfilling the beauty ideal of being young, attractive, slim and mostly lightly dressed.
In my second post, I will literally turn the page to throw light on the contradictory identities of modern women and men.

But what conclusion to draw at this point? Of course there are several magazines that tread other paths and spread different pictures of women, but it is remarkable that for two such famous and successful magazines, fearless and self-confident seem to go along with male dependent and stereotypical.

Sounds weird, right?




[1] = Picture taken from http://coolmaterial.com/roundup/women/if-men-wrote-womens-magazine-the-sequel/, 27.1.2016

[2] = http://www.bauer-media.com.au/brands/cosmopolitan/, 27.1.2016

[3] = ibid, 27.1.2016

[4] = http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/news/g860/cosmo-cover-gallery/?slide=4, 29.1.2016

[5] = http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/news/g860/cosmo-cover-gallery/?slide=6, 29.1.2016

[6] = http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/news/g860/cosmo-cover-gallery/?slide=9, 29.1.2016

[7] = Logo created by myself