Essay on Ad Bank Semiotic Analysis: Cosmopolitan and Maxim Magazines

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Ad Bank Semiotic Analysis: Cosmopolitan and Maxim Magazines


In our house, we have a girls' bathroom and a boys' bathroom. When entering into the women's private sphere of the bathroom, one cannot help but notice the mountain of women's magazines on top of the toilet. Similarly, the men's bathroom has its share of men's magazines stacked in their domain of masculinity. This essay will take a look at the advertisements in these infamous periodicals, to attempt to gain a better understanding of their message(s), and their appeal. Interestingly enough, both the men's and women's magazines tend to represent women in the same fashion.

Cosmopolitan is the first thing I see when entering our bathroom. Month after month, the pile of
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They tell us what the issues are going to be about. Notice the fonts, and where the headlines are placed. The upper-left corners of the covers scream 'sex' by using big bold letters, as the words jump off the page. It is the first headline that we are to be attracted by. Sex grabs people's attention, and this is no exception. We read on: "Tantalize Him!", "Tell Instantly If He's Your Soul Mate!" The exclamations are to elicit excitement and interest. "317 Sexy Spring Looks", "250+ Fall Fashion Finds": the numbers connote the idea of it being scientific, factual, and thus reliable. We tend to trust numbers, but we do not directly involve ourselves with them in our everyday life. Women stereotypically concentrate their efforts on human relationships rather than stock market figures. "In our society women stand for the side of life that seems to be outside history--for personal relationships, love and sex--so that these aspects of life actually seem to become 'women's areas.'" (Williamson, 101). None of the headlines are concerned with politics, economics, or the realities of the working world at all. The biggest news is about birth control, or the latest Hollywood stylist. It is as if 'women's areas' are not very grounded to the logistics of the world.

But women are expected to be juggling the different aspects of their life while maintaining a perfect figure. The same ideas are emphasized on both Cosmopolitan…