How Women Are Portrayed in Lynx and Cosmo

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To what extent do the front covers of Cosmopolitan use similar representations of women compared to the Lynx ‘beach’ campaign?.

‘Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ – John Berger, ‘Ways of seeing’.

For my research investigation I intend to explore to what extent specific media products use similar representations of women to appeal to their target audiences. The examples I have chosen to focus on are the iconic, international women’s fashion and lifestyle magazine ‘Cosmopolitan’ and Lynx’s controversial ‘beach campaign’. I will therefore be exploring what similarities and differences they embed due to their oppositional target audiences and content. Throughout my research the main theory I will be linking to my texts is that of Laura Mulvey, her theory explores ideas of sexism and male gaze within the media industry. Hearst the publisher of Cosmopolitan describes the magazine’s target audience as ‘Fun, Fearless Females’, the alliteration of the ‘F’ sound connotes a sense of attitude and fierce behaviour. Alongside the brand proposition ‘celebrates…a passion for life and inspires young women to be the best they can be’ consciously supporting women by portraying a sense of empowerment and ambition. In contrast, Unilever, owners of the Lynx brand state their brand prospect is that all their products are ‘designed to give our customers the edge in the mating game’ establishing itself as ‘UK’s leading male grooming brand!’.

Cosmopolitan are iconic for telling their audience about two main topics; lifestyle and sex. Just by looking at the magazine covers, it is clear that these two topics dominate. I researched the April 2012 cover of Cosmopolitan, it follows the generic conventions of a typical magazine format for a women’s fashion and lifestyle magazine. In terms of the colour scheme - the pink fonts and neutral clothing convey a sense of femininity and perhaps the everyday domestic lifestyle of...
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