The modern American woman lives in the world that is lit with titles of the magazine such as Cosmopolitan, InStyle, Allure or Vogue and what the magazines represent. Specifically, such magazines represent sex, celebrity, beauty, and fashion as well as fitness and health. The largest population of the middle-class American women in their young age all have shelves full of these magazines whether they read them or subscribe to their ideas or not. This shows how these magazines have managed to dominate the market. Merriam-Webster defined cosmopolitan as something that "has a wide international sophistication." The word cosmopolitan is, therefore, the best fit for the magazine that targets young women who are seeking to get advice on sex, fitness, and fashion. Having started in 1886, Cosmopolitan magazine did not start as a sexually inclined women magazine as it is known today. It started as a literary family magazine that would be read by all family members without fear of obscene contents landing on children.
However, the magazine's turn of events can be traced on January 1893 when the magazine published contemporary events and social problems shifting its focus from a mere literary magazine. This saw Cosmopolitan magazine sell more than 150,000 copies becoming number three regarding sales after Century and Harpers. However, the contents about sex dominated Cosmopolitan magazine from 1986 when out of 2,706 articles analyzed, 17 percent was found to be purely sex content, 13 percent of personal relationships 11 percent were about celebrities 10 percent of health, 7.9 percent about entertainment and television, 7.3 percent was about career and finances 6.6 about fashion, 5.2 percent about politics and social life, and 4.3 percent was about travel (Tiggemann & Marika, ). Cosmopolitan magazine is among the most famous magazines in the USA. For over thirty years ago, the cosmopolitan magazine has used beautiful women on their cover page blend with fashion, beauty and an eye-capturing topic that attracts their target customers. This magazine is spread all over the US in bookstores, dentist offices and even in school libraries. This thesis seeks to analyze Cosmopolitan Magazine as the most favorable magazine for the middle-class women aged 18 years and above that have interest in fitness, fashion, and sex. This essay will seek to analyze the influence of Cosmopolitan on American women's beauty, fashion, fitness and even their self-esteem based on the women presented in Cosmopolitan magazine and the real women in America.
It is evident that Cosmopolitan is affecting the change in the beauty that we see in American women now. Being among the top five highest selling magazines in the US, Cosmopolitan magazines are famous for their airbrushing of the women on their cover page blend with titles that hints the readers on how to grow thinner and hotter every day (Maslow). They use the pictures of thin American women with blonde hair and bluish eyes to present the modern beauty of the Caucasian women (Doring et al. 2016). The magazine analyzes models based on their race and portrays black people as one of the race that use make-ups and fitness to attain their beauty. Owing to the rapid growth in American cosmetic industry as well as the Hollywood and miss US contests, American women have since shifted their beauty as a thin Caucasian woman with blonde hairs (Maslow). The boom in these industries backed up by production of beauty, fashion and fitness magazines led to women thinking more about how they appear and thus developing an urge to look more beautiful and presentable to man. Cosmopolitan magazines portray models on their cover page with cosmetics products' article in their magazine (Purkies). Women have been made to believe that if they use the specific beauty products presented in Cosmopolitan magazine, they will end up looking exactly like the models in the magazine. Previous research has shown the impact of using models in the magazine has mixed reactions to the target market. Amanda B. Bower who is a marketing professor posits that when a model is used in a magazine, there is a very high likelihood to stir up a negative attitude towards the magazine since some women feel negative towards themselves compared to the pictures of the model presented (Carelse et al. 2017).
However, the continuous growth of Cosmopolitan magazine contradicts this research because Cosmopolitan has capitalized on use of models, actors, singers, and authors in their cover page and has shown to sell many copies as compared to their main competitors; The Queen and Vogue (Machin). Cosmopolitan magazine has a lot of influence on women in the United States. Previous studies have shown that women self-esteem is mostly influenced by other women especially the celebrities. Women tend to compare themselves with models in the media, and thus the influence of cosmopolitan magazine on American women cannot be underrated. Low self-esteem can result in depression especially if the affected woman becomes socially rejected. But cosmopolitan has also used attractive topics that target young, middle-aged American women. For instance, sex has been one of the most discussed topics in this magazine. Carina Hsieh wrote an article on Cosmopolitan on 12th December 2017 titled "The Ultimate Sex Positions Guide" (Solak). Under this article, Carina Hsieh explained different sex styles and her target was obviously young American women who are in their primes of sex urge and are looking for advice on sex that will please their boyfriends. In the cosmopolitan magazine, sex topics are always on the cover page, and you don't need to look deeper to find them. This could be one of the reasons why the magazine has been selling well in America during and after the time of Helen Gurley Brown who edited the magazine for over 30 years.
Cosmopolitan's theme of fitness has always been on top as well. It is depicted in pictures of models used that give the American young women an impression on how they "should" look to be attractive to their men (Barlow). Cosmopolitan uses model pictures to convince women that they need to buy so as they too can learn the tips of maintaining fitness that will make them hot and attractive to men sexually (Shimet al. 2015). According to an analysis by Barlow (2016), the aspect of sex and fitness in Cosmopolitan Magazine is depicted through body language of the models used in cover pages and even stated explicitly through words and phrases. For instance, there is a cover page on UK cosmopolitan magazine that has a model "inside a orgasm club" in the UK on the cover page (Barlow).
In conclusion, Cosmopolitan has used the themes of fitness, sex, and fashion to create a brand that sells very well in the contemporary world to women aged 18 years and above. The magazine has impacted on the way American women view beauty as and led them to buy various cosmetics to make them look like models in Cosmo magazine. However, the magazine has created stress and depression to some women who have found it hard to look like the models in the magazine.
Barlow, Kara W. "Cosmopolitan goes interciltural: a semiotic analysis of cosmopolitan magazine covers." Digital commons @ Linfield (2016).
Carelse, Aimee, and Martha Evans. """The Woman You Want to be": The Changing Face of Fairlady Magazine, 1985-2005." African Journalism Studies (2017): 115-150.
Doring, Nicola, Anne Reif, and Sandra Poeschl. ""How gender-stereotypical are selfies? A content analysis and comparison with magazine adverts."." Computers in Human Behavior 55 (2016) (2016): 955-962.
Machin, David. ntroduction to multimodal analysis. . Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
Maslow, Azalee. "Depictions Of Beauty On Cosmopolitan Magazine: A Content Analysis Of Covers (1959-2014)." UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones (2015): 8-50.
Purkies, Ava. "Beauty Secrets: Fight Fat": Black Women's Aesthetics, Exercise, and Fat Stigma, 1900-1930s." Journal of Women's History (2017): 14-37.
Shim, Jae Woong, Mahnwoo Kwon, and Hong-In Cheng. . ""Analysis of representation of sexuality on women's and men's pornographic websites."." Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal (2015): 53-62.
Solak, Aleksandra. The Globalization of Sex: A Look at Cosmopolitan Magazine. 08 December 2016. 13 February 2018.
Tiggemann & Marika, . "This image has been digitally altered": The effect of disclaimer labels added to fashion magazine shoots on women's body dissatisfaction." ." Body image (2017): 107-113.
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