Gender roles in Cosmopolitan

Essay by roisinanne November 2004

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In the magazine, Cosmopolitan there are often stereotypical views of both women and men and I intend to focus on this. Gender roles prescribe norms, which instruct people to pursue specific careers and lifestyles. Certain roles, behaviours and attitudes constructed by society assign and control how men and women behave and are perceived. Cosmopolitan regularly features stories focused on how to make women beautiful, thin, and desirable to men. Its pages are also full of advice regarding who your Prince Charming will be and how he should and should not treat you. Strategically, the writers and editors lure women towards the magazine by placing beautiful images on glossy covers amongst articles that focus on body image, style, and relationships. The advertisements and articles in Cosmopolitan help fuel assumptions made about the specific roles and abilities of men and women.

By glancing at a magazine rack, assumptions can be made about how a man or a woman is perceived and how people are "supposed" to look and act in a relationship.

February's Cosmopolitan articles included: "Fire up His Desire", "Sexy or Skanky?", "Best Beauty Bargains Ever", "What his Cell Phone Style Says About Him", and more advice related to fashion and health. These headlines give the impression that its part of a women's role to be obsessed with their image and their relations with men. Not all articles are written for women though; some specifically instruct the reader to show the article to boyfriends in order for them to know what they are not doing correctly in a relationship. Men may then be perceived as being incapable of understanding women's needs and wants. Certain articles help support women in standing up against the pressures of men and society; others encourage women to use top-of-the-line cosmetics so that can prevent wrinkles and...