Images and Ideas of Femininity and Masculinity

992 Words4 Pages
Engelska A, Professional English

Cultural Studies

IMAGES AND IDEAS OF FEMININITY AND MASCULINITY

JOHANNA LINDBERG

(861222-0148)

Berit Åström

Spring

2010-03-14

Department of Language Studies

Umeå University

In this paper I will present an analysis of two fitness magazines, Self and Men’s Fitness. Having read a lot of fitness magazines myself, I am used to the way women’s magazines look and what approach they have, so I find it interesting to compare that to how fitness is presented in a magazine for men. The feature I have chosen to look closer at is food, how it is presented to reach a male and female audience
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A stereotype of the perfect hostess serving home-baked desserts while still managing to stay slim is nevertheless promoted by articles like for example “Tasty treasures: Crowd pleasing party dishes in perfect stay-slim portions”. A distinct difference between these two magazines is the focus on the opposite sex. In Men’s Fitness there are constantly pictures of women present, under the heading “Why we work out”. This exemplifies the presentation of women as rewards for men who choose the right product, or in this case, chose to do the right work out (www.media-awareness.ca). This somehow undermines the credibility of the health aspects of fitness also presented in the magazine. It shows a rather primitive image of men, not interested in a magazine without pictures of all but naked women. And at the same time it objectifies women in a, in my opinion rather retrogressive way. In Self on the other hand there are no pictures of men whatsoever, and I understand it as wanting to be a magazine for women and about women, a magazine to identify with.

Conclusion:
I find that these magazines reinforce the stereotypic image of masculinity as muscles and femininity as slenderness. This might of course be explained to some extent by their focus on fitness and work out, since both are directed toward an audience already interested in fitness and health. However, I think there should be room for a broader and more inclusive way
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