Stereotypes and general representation in magazines

The word magazine comes from the Arabic word meaning “storeroom” (originally ‘Majalla’). This is the precise job for a magazine- for it to store information for readers about a variety of things depending on their age, group they are in and the interests they have. The majority of magazines these days are mainly aimed at female readers aged from 13 and above. Most women at this young age prefer to read magazines than to read books because of the profound influence of what is deemed popular culture upon the youth of today and in particular, their desire to emulate celebrities in one form or another.

The purpose of a front cover is to provide the reader with a taster of what the magazine would contain and reflects the editor’s choice what they feel is perhaps the channel for furthering the interest of the it’s readers. Furthermore, it show what to expect inside and what gossip they will be provided with, and implies that the readers money would be well spent if they were to purchase the magazine. Magazines differ both in their genre and the audience they are targeting, which in turn differ, in terms of gender, age and even ethnicity.

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At the front of a teen magazine you would more likely expect to see a very cute, pretty women or female models posing as they are the kind of people or celebrities that girls would be attracted to due do the readers wanting to be like their role models. This is essentially part of a wider cultural phenomenon that has arguably affected teens from all backgrounds, a natural result of the ‘MTV generation’ (associated with cultural globalisation), where American culture (loosely defined) permeates into the thinking of today’s youth.

This in practise means a greater significance being attached to material values without which one is deemed ‘un-cool’. Thus, not wearing particular designer labels, not having the latest phone etc is not feasible for the average teen. The aim they have is to sell and to attract people -especially young women/girls, as they do not tend to have specialist magazines to read. This paper will explore how two magazines covers, explaining the purposes they have and why they are such big influences on whether we choose to buy one or not. The first magazine is Real People.

It has bright colours, which attract the attention of readers who enjoy reading about those like themselves. Examples of colours that do this, which create this impact are the usage of bright pink, bright yellow and a huge swathe of blue. The pink also has added effect as it seems to be feminine and mainly young women would like to read a magazine like this. The layout of the magazine itself is also a source to catch the reader’s eye because the subheading that is used-“DIET OR DIE” will instantly be what you look at as it in capitals and has a large picture to draw you into what the story is going to be about.

This would catch the eye of someone who is trying to lose weight. The Real People magazine has deliberately made this their main story, as there are a lot of people, especially women in the public who are obese and are trying to lose weight and become healthier. By using a real person’s story instead of celebrities it shows that people like us are actually capable of losing weight efficiently. This can instantly be read from the picture that Real People has provided on the cover with the heading.

The headings, which are central in the Real People, are merely used to persuade the reader to but it. If the stories don’t convince the public to buy the magazine they also have prize draws for people to win large sums of cash-“We want to give away i?? 56,570 to our winners”. The large sum amount that they are trying to give away is an offer that many readers can’t refuse. The title ‘Real People’ itself explains what the magazine it going to provide the readers with- true stories about people like themselves.

This allows the readers to know what they are to expect inside. The price of a magazine plays a role in influencing the reader because it only cost 60p and it seems to be a fair price for the stories that Real People provide alongside the games and chances to winner money. There are also tag lines all over the cover so the reader knows that a lot of things are to be provided. Examples of other tag lines that are used that may convince readers to buy are “I sold my brother on eBay; A stranger saved my dying son”.

The audiences’ response to this would be shock to discover that people would do this and they would also be drawn into buying what they see. On the cover of Real People there isn’t really need of the reader to be jealous of the people featured on the front because they are ordinary and don’t have the things that most women have a need and desire for such as the prettiness or the curvy body. This helps the reader to feel more comfortable in the body that they have because there are others who are like them and don’t have to feel as though they have to change in order to get noticed.

In contrast to ‘Real People’, “New” has much more influence about the way that a person should dress and what are the desired ways to be a real woman is. The slogan that is used at the front of “New” magazine -if its hot its here! – Attracts the eye of the reader because they know that what they are reading about these celebrities is going to be new information about them. At the front of the cover there is only a small space that is given to a real life story and lots of colour, 3 pictures of female celebrities and big text take up the rest of the space on the cover. “New” has a bright and full cover.

Although there doesn’t seem to be much on the cover the fact that there is someone who is well known on the cover- in this case Victoria Beckham. Readers would like to become like her and what they see. Although on the cover the heading that is used is “Posh’s baby news” the public are able to see that it will only be part of the story and the picture shows how skinny she is and what kind of clothes she wears. They would consider the celebrities as their role models because of the fame that is acciated with them and as they may have the beauty that most people have a desire for.

Also the bright colours that are used and the headings they have, catch the attention of the public, but even more so the people that are featured at the front are the most important as it is they who persuade you to buy the magazine. The person/people who are featured at the front have to be well known, look young, and have a good story about them that would make the ideas of those who are reading the particular magazine appear fulfilled. Other contents of a magazine that a female would read that would have to be included are fashion tips, how to be the ideal woman (ways to lead their lives), and how to remain looking attractive.

These contents all together with freebies and lots of advertisement make the magazines that people read be good, exciting and interesting. This wants the readers to want to be like her. Those readers who are interested in fashion would try and copy what she wears and try and create a trend from it. The picture of Victoria Beckham creates more of insecurity in women because they will have more of a need to buy and look like how she is. The colours that surround the picture create this sort of impact.

The text is bright yellow and the background being black makes her stand out from the other pictures and stories. Another temptation they give to the public to buy this specific magazine is they use the words “read her first interview inside”. By saying this on the cover you immediately assume that it must be a good story/interview as it is obviously out on the front. Another strap line that does this is “Kate Moss’ no pants shocker- inside her wild 33rd birthday”. This creates a similar effect but this story wants for you to see who was invited to this famous models birthday.

By reading this magazine you seem more familiar with what is going on in the celebrity world. If you are a teenager who is reading this magazine you become more popular with your peers because you seem more knowledgeable than others around you. A dramatic strap line that is used on the cover of “New” magazine-“my three children hanged themselves” makes the reader want to buy the magazine because they may want to read reasons why the children hanged themselves and what kind of impact it had on the mother of the children.

This strap line would also interest those who enjoy reading real stories like this, which hit home to things that have happened to them. Something that both magazines had in common were they contained lots of advertisements. There are more advertisements in the “New” magazine because it is more on celebrities so the editors use this to their advantage to display as much. There were adverts such as phone deals displayed, but as this is a magazine about celebrities, you are able to assume that this kind of magazine would contain fashion advertisements and ways to attract men.

As this kind of magazine would also interest teens they would display the latest technical devices such as phones and special deals. “Real People” didn’t have advertisements on the front but on the back cover had deals on broadband. Boys would not be interested in either the “New” or “Real People” magazines because they do not contain things that would interest the majority of males that there are. I think this is because at the front there isn’t anything that includes a muscular man whilst a dozen women who adore him surround him.

Also there aren’t anything featured which would make them seem sexually knowledgeable while on the other hand you have the females who want to seem more knowledge, read them. The audience of young women aged around 16-25 would be more attracted to the “New” magazine because it has more things on celebrities and is seen as a way of seeing women as being more knowledgeable of the kind of women they should be or become. The type of audience that would enjoy reading “New” magazine are those who are quite young and want to either seem younger or want to fit in with their peers.

On the other hand people who are mostly over the age 30 or so would read “Real People”. The reasons behind these conclusions are that those over 30 would like to still remain fashionable but would be more interested with wants going around with those more closer to home who they would have much more in common with. I wouldn’t choose to read either of the magazines because on the cover there isn’t anything, which interest me, although the strap lines to both of the magazines are quite persuasive and are influencing me to buy them.

As I am teenager, if I was trying to stay into trends and wanted to seem more sexually knowledgeable, I would choose to read the “New” magazine as it seems to be able to fulfil those desires that I have and this is done easily by just featuring very wealthy, slim, famous female celebrities on the front. I would also feel more secure about myself because “New” the cover of it makes me feel as though it’s a feminine magazine so I would know more about the way I should be acting and what I should spend my money on amongst my peers.