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 magazines grows into a fine Cosmo collection. The covers are adorned with bright feminine colours and beautiful women -- the first thing to attract potential readers. Each issue has new faces and bodies, yet they all look familiar: how many more sex and make-up tips could they possibly have? The covers of the magazines themselves tell us what they are all about. By placing the two examples of Cosmopolitan covers side-by-side, there are many similarities that can be seen. They are relaying the same message. What is the message? Both have the stereotypical model on the cover of the magazines. They are blonde, blue-eyed, and are much slimmer than the average woman by far. The two are posing in similar ways, showing their midriffs and cleavage. Neither of them are really smiling, but look like they are ready to do something 'fun' and 'fearless.' Which explains the magazine's slogan: "Fun Fearless Female." The slogan is also addressing the kind of women who would read this kind of magazine. Career women in their twenties and maybe even their thirties, most likely single, and looking for or dating a man.
The headlines are directed towards this kind of readership. 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...