Images and Ideas of Femininity and Masculinity

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  • Topic: Nutrition, Health, Dieting
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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 respectively. Since both of these magazines have a focus on fitness and healthy living I assume that the audience-specific differences should be relatively obvious. Food in Self:

The title of this section is “Food and Diet”, implying a focus on healthy eating, but also, considering the double meaning of the word “diet”, a focus on weight loss. The subheading “Healthy eating, weight loss secrets, food news”, further emphasize the focus on dieting. In this way Self is a good example of a phenomenon I would say is symptomatic of women’s magazines. Concerning dieting one finds articles like “20 superfoods for weight loss”, “Eat more, lose weight” and “Cheese: slimming secrets”. Of course, slimming down is in many cases an important part of the process of getting fit, but when it dominates the discourse like this it creates an ideal that many women can’t live up to, even if they live a healthy life. There is also a constant focus on calories in all the recipes in Self, the goal is to eat as few as possible to stay slim. In my opinion the message get a little too one-sided, there is hardly any mentioning of the fact that when you work out you actually need to eat more calories than if you don’t. Less calories, yes in some...
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