paper 3 - Maxim vs. Cosmopolitan The mass media lays out...

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Maxim vs. Cosmopolitan The mass media lays out the general rules depicting how men and women should portray themselves in a socially acceptable manner. Men must uphold hegemonic masculinity ideals, and women must appear traditionally feminine. The conventional man must be physically and mentally strong, have sexual power over women, and dress casually, such as jeans and a t-shirt. Women, on the other hand, must be graceful and beautiful, soft-spoken and emotional, and wear makeup and clothing to attract males. It is clear that both Maxim and Cosmopolitan ’s intended audiences are these archetypal gender groups. The cover of Maxim can catch a man’s eye in a heartbeat. Juxtaposed to large yellow and white writing reading, “Watchmen’s Sexiest Superhero: Malin Akerman Unmasked,” is a large, naked woman who takes up most of the page. She is the ideal woman: blonde, thin, beautiful, and sexual. She covers her chest, but leaves some breast exposed for the man’s mind to envision the rest. Sealed in a plastic cover, the man must buy this magazine to see what else this woman has to offer. Six pages are given for Akerman’s short interview. Five out of these six pages are full portraits of Akerman in sexy poses and provocative clothing. Although Maxim is attempting to praise Akerman for her acting, it is simultaneously using her as a sex object. They place her, naked, on the cover to sell the magazine, and promote men to go see Watchmen by her promiscuity. This supports the “women are to be looked at,” theme. One article that stood out the most is titled, “Happy Women’s History Month!” Flipping through the magazine’s pages, this article appears to be glorifying women. But,
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take a closer look at the text, and you will see it is sneering at these women. I first knew this article was not going to be respectful when I read the picture’s caption, “From top: Dorothy Dale Kloss, Rosie the Riveter, Sheyla Hershey, and Kim Petras. Not pictured: Our terrified penis.” I expected this article to praise women for something they accomplished, but their stories were told in a negative manner. For example, “Sheyla Hershey, 28, could have suffered through a flat-chested existence with a 34FFF bra size, but she dared to dream. A visit to lawless Brazil, Sheyla fulfilled and filled with a gallon of silicone. She walked away with size 38KKK breasts, the largest in the world, and presumable an aching back. Yes, she cans!” Why would men be interested in reading about this woman’s breast enlargement? I know if I read about a man enhancing his area so it was the largest in the world, in Cosmopolitan , I would be disgusted and confused about the intent of the article. But what if in Maxim , there was an article of a man enlarging his genitals? Would it be trendy? Is this article trying to take something men love, breasts, and turn it into disgusting? Or is it just easy to pick on women altogether?
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paper 3 - Maxim vs. Cosmopolitan The mass media lays out...

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