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Looking at a recent issue of Cosmo, I was left feeling like the whole magazine was putting modest women

down and making sex and beauty appear to be the only way to get a guy. That led me to want to look at the content of this magazine a little closer.

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Has Cosmopolitan magazine turned women into a sexualized object instead of acting as a source of advice and entertainment for the majority of women?
It is important as a professional in the eld of communication to understand the affect of your content on society. Cosmo certainly provides and ideal women, and readers are encouraged to convey in themselves the messages that this magazine is channeling.

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Cosmopolitan magazine has been around since 1886, making it one of the oldest magazines in print. Like the rest of the world, Cosmo changed greatly over time. It began as a publication that consisted of popular womens ction and advice columns. It appealed to the majority of middle class working women and provided dating tips to help these woman nd the right guy. The magazine took on the assumption that their readers were single working women.

Today, Cosmos audience is mainly married women. Its content focuses on ways to spice up relationships and inform women of the qualities and characteristics that men like the most. The magazines monthly publications are gushing with sex tips and stories, and provides ways for women to look their best and increase their mens desire for them. Women are being objectied on almost every page on this publication, whether it is in an advertisement or an article itself.

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Benets of my research:
In the 1900s, cosmopolitan magazine ran into trouble with funding and readers and decided it needed to make some changes to get more copies sold. These changes led to the Cosmo that is in circulation today. Literary sources explained the reasons for these changes, and the results of these changes, but it did not show them. My research will provide me with visuals of todays Cosmopolitan experience.

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My Expectations:
Based on the information I found from other sources, I expected to nd a lot of articles about how woman should look and behave for their men. I expected a large focus on beauty and sex, and little content varying from that. I believe that my research will show how highly sexualized Cosmo has become, as well as many ads about how to be the ideal woman, sharing products that can help you accomplish the overall image. I believe that I will nd that this magazine demonstrates how women can become objects for men to fantasize about instead of teaching woman how to be respected and courageous. There is also a part of me that expects the amount of sexualization in the magazine to be less than described in past research because of the rising popularity of feminism and womens lack of appreciation for being objectied.

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What method will work well for my research?


CONTENT ANALYSIS
It is a great method to use for subjects in the media. I am looking for what the magazine is composed of, what is in the content and what the content is saying which is essentially the denition of a content analysis.

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More about the method of Content Analysis:

A content analysis is a way of breaking down the content of something into categories in order to better analyze it. It also provides you with quantitative information about the content being analyzed.

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For a content analysis, one must use operational denitions. An operational denition is a denition that tells you how the content you are analyzing is being classied. Operational denitions use operations and indicators to dene terms. For this research project I will use the following operational denitions:
Advertisement: Pages selling products, for the purpose of this project I counted the advertisements by pages; if an ad took up a three page spread, I counted it as three pages of advertisements instead of just one advertisement. Sexually Charged Images: Images with male and female physical contact, women wearing only under garments or clothing resembling under garments, women posing in provocative positions (leg spread, laying down, making breasts the central focus of the photo). Beauty Products: products that can be used to alter natural body appearance. Included in this category were diet pills, lotions, perfumes, and make-up. Political/literary/inspirational content: these three categories I grouped together simply because they were virtually nonexistent in this magazine, but are important as a category in womens magazines. This category consists of current issues such as birth control and abortion; important, inspirational, or popular books and novels that are often talked about in womens magazines; and educational articles telling inspirational stories from peers, another really popular part of womens magazines.
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How I went about doing my research:


I created categories of topics popular in the majority of womens magazines as well as topics that are true to all magazines. I ipped through the magazine time after time counting, recording, reading and observing images. After nding which categories were the most surprising and relevant, I edited my categories further until I thought they well represented my ndings in the magazine. My categories can be found in the next slide.

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Category
Total # of Pages
# of Pages with Women # of Pages containing talk of sex # of pages With Ads # of pages with beauty ads
# of Pages with women in sexually charged poses # of pages with men in sexually charged poses # of pages with political, literary, or inspirational content

# of Pages 259 163 45 124 94 93 11 4

% of total 100 62 17 40 36 36 4 1

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My analysis showed that almost half of the magazine was composed of sexually charged images and articles. Sexually Charged Image or Discussion Other Content

43% 57%

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Some of the articles advertised on the cover included: Feel Great Naked and The Sex Issue and Sex Questions. Inside of the issue you nd more headings Packing Heat, an article that explores sexual relationships with co-workers. Makeup men nd irresistible a four page spread that gave mens opinions on how they like women to do their makeup and what they think looks the most attractive on women. Strike the pose that drives men wild explores a pose that scientists say turns on men the most. Look sexy from head to toe a small section containing tips to make clothes highlight the sexiest parts of a womens body. The innocent habit that hurts your hubby a column that points out how guys are hurt when women talk about how they nd other men attractive, but dismisses the fact that men are just as guilty of this habit. How not to attract a dude things that some women do that are a turn off to men.

These articles that take up a good portion of the magazine do nothing but teach women how to make men happier. There is nothing about how to make women feel good. This puts a lot of pressure on women to be perfect so that men will be attracted to them and love them. What these articles fail to mention are how important it is that women feel free to express themselves and it does not offer any hope as far as how to get men to bend over backwards to make women happy.. Women are denitely being objectied in a sexual sense in this magazine.
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Advertisements in Cosmo
Percent of pages with Advertisements Pages with other content

52%

48%

Out of the total pages with ads (124), 76% of those ads were for Beauty Products, 36% of the whole magazine.

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Even advertisements that were not for womens clothing or cosmetics used womens bodies to sell products.

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What I found:
Cosmopolitan Magazine is largely focused on turning women into perfect objects of sexual desire for men. The magazine puts a large focus on putting a lot of energy into making your man happy and looking and behaving in a way that is attractive to him. Cosmopolitan magazine does not spend a lot of space discussing political issues, women in positions of power, stories of women being taken advantage of, or advice on anything other than sexual relationships like other womens magazines. Although Cosmo is a very popular magazine, it is not spreading any encouragement for women to be anything other than sexual objects. The small part of me that believed that Cosmos current issues may give into an increasing feminist movement was completely blown out of the water as soon as I looked at the cover and table of contents. It is clear that Cosmo is a magazine with a particular style that they are sticking with.

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Sources:
http:/ /cdn2.khloekcdn.celebuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Khloe-Kardashian-Cosmopolitan-Cover-May-2012Issue-580x788.jpg http:/ /www.dailystab.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/lady-gaga-cosmo-cover.jpghttp:/ /www.google.com/ imgres?q=cosmopolitan+magazine +1900&hl=en&biw=1256&bih=618&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=xpQ717t3QqcFkM:&imgrefurl=http:/ / shinghistory.blogspot.com/&docid=tAVopyN8MkPMnM&imgurl=http:/ /i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa358/ heidstress/shcover_21.jpg&w=376&h=500&ei=uiXT4ncBOnw0gHHrrXYDg&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=449&sig=107381193148217088927&page=1&tbnh=126&tbnw=95&start= 0&ndsp=25&ved=1t:429,r:22,s:0,i:115&tx=39&ty=60 http:/ /www.stylehasnosize.com/wp-content/uploads/InbetweenieCosmopolitan01.jpg
Feminist Media Studies; Sep2009, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p267-283, 17p McMahon, Kathryn. Journal of Sex Research, Aug90, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p381-396, 16p Gupta, Antoinette E.; Zimmerman, Toni S.; Fruhauf, Christine A.. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 2008, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p248-266, 19p, 1 Chart

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