Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Media Enterprise Pitch Post

For my enterprise article, my idea was to become a freelance court journalist/reporter. I propose that I can be hired by any news publication to enter the courts to report on trials they wish, or individually head into court myself and report on trials I think will be of interest of newspapers and pitch my articles to them for a profit. Throughout news publications I do feel that there is lack of court reporting, and they often get sidelined for my high profile cases that are splashed all over the newspapers and various other articles. I also think that sometimes, newsrooms don't have the time, or the journalists to send out to report on the court trials, therefore they will be able to hire me to go to the courts for them to report.

I think the strengths of my project are that court reporters are very rare throughout the industry; therefore my project would be very useful in raising awareness of what goes through our court systems. I think weaknesses for my project would be dependant really on how the general public would feel about seeing more court reports in the newspapers which I have tried to see through a survey I have conducted whether or not people would be interested in seeing more court reports in their newspapers. I also think there could be some issues surrounding contempt of court, and what I can report in the articles.

However I think my pitch went well, and I remembered most of the important things to say, although I didn't go into as much details as possible, and as planned due to nerves and feeling under pressure regarding the timing. I did feel that my pitch was informative, and highlighted the most important details of what I was trying to get across. My pitch was just under the time limit, which was upsetting, but I do feel that I covered most of the criteria in the time. I do feel that my pitching technique could be improved, as I lack in confidence speaking in public, so I am often very nervous and stumble over words, and sometimes lack giving eye contact. But all these will come in practice, when I am placed in this situation again, and I am sure that this pitch will be a learning curve for me.

From the feedback from my group, they all agreed that my pitch was concise, and I knew what I was talking about, and gave much detail and included all the content I needed. They also commented that I referred to my previous experience which was relevant. They also gave me some critiques regarding my pitch presentation, especially that I could improve my eye contact a lot more, and also I use my hands too much when explaining, and it can often get distracting. I agree with the critique that they gave me as previously mentioned, now the issue has been raised, I can learn from it for next time.

I’m currently conducting market research through a survey, asking various questions regarding whether people think that more court reports in regional and national newspapers would be a good idea or not, and why these would be of interest of society, and why court reports would interest them. So far I have received quite a positive reaction, with people wanting to see more court reports in newspapers, especially those in the area they live in.

During a placement week with the Birmingham Mail, I had the opportunity to go into court myself, along with their specialised court journalist, Ross McCarthy. I found this a very enjoyable experience and a great chance to learn the ins and outs of court reporting. When I went on this experience, and many times after I was surprised to see that he was the only court journalist round the Birmingham Crown and Magistrates Courts, and there was never anyone, bar him sitting in the press seats. I found this unusual, as I thought that more newspapers than the Birmingham Mail would be sending journalists into the courts to report on some cases especially for the regional newspapers. Compared to Ross, I won't just be writing for one particular publication, as I will be available to be hired by any publication from anywhere over the UK. I think he is an inspiration to see while he works though, to provide me with knowledge and help along my way.

My next steps would be to conduct some more market research, and keep collecting my data in order to complete my feasibility plan. I will also need to work on my branding and the values of being a freelance court journalist. I would also need to have a good look into the financing of my project. These will be the next steps in my project. How do you think I should finance my project? How do you think I could improve my brand?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Newspaper Response

This is an article I found on the Media Guardian website, which I think relates to my specialism of Journalism. The article is about The New York Times halving its amount of web articles that can be viewed for free, as their paid subscriptions has exceeded their expectations. 

Here are the main points of the article: 

  • Only going to be 10 free articles per month
  • 454,00 paid subscribers after a year
  • Before, free users could have 20 free articles
  • The publisher maintained that it will "continue to allow access to a generous amount of free content on the website and across multiple digital platforms". 
  • The NYT offers three access packages: $3.75 per week for the website and smartphone apps, $5 a week for the website and tablet app, and $8.75 a week for access to everything. 
This reflects my impact on my chosen field, because I often read news articles on the internet, and even though I don't read of the New York Times, if a English Newspaper/Magazine, started cutting down on the articles you could read for free, I wouldn't be subscribing due to the lack of money as a student.

I think this also presents social and economic issues, because also, many people might not be able to afford to subscribe to the New York Times to read their articles, as $3.75 a week is quite an amount, when you add it up to every month, or even every year. 

Here is a link to the article:

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Research Methods Assignment

During my Second Year studies in first semester, we had to take a compulsory module called Research Methods. Here, week by week we learnt in detail, about all the different types of research methods we could use in our research from now on. And in the end we had to produce an assignment using questions we were given to do with our specialism, that evaluated the research methods, and linked them up with primary sources. Here are three examples from my assignment. 

Week One

How has the readership changed between free and paid-for newspaper in Europe over the last ten years?

The topic within this question is all about the readership in Europe of the free and paid for newspapers. The issue of debate within this question is has the readership changed over the 10 years? How has this readership changed? Why has it changed? The object of study I have chosen to use in my research is paid-for newspaper ‘the Sun’, and free newspaper ‘Metro’. The method I would use would be policy documents and statistics (primary research).

To answer this question I would need to read, identify and interpret documents which show the difference in readership for the newspapers in Europe over the last ten years, particularly the two I have chosen as my object of study. I will locate and identify these submissions by accessing their digital archive on the internet, at .

In a quote from the World Association of Newspapers (2007) it is said “Daily paid titles, recorded an average 17% growth from 9533 to a record breaking 11142 titles between 2002 and 2006.” Also from the World Association of Newspapers (2009) it is said that “Global newspaper sales were up 2.3% in the last year, and then 9.48% in the past five years.”

Studying statistics and policy documents is a key way and method into helping us understand, how things have changed over the years.  Positives of using this method are that data is everywhere, and it is very easily located, and you can very easily use them in your studies.

Limitations of using this method, would be that as they are so vast, some often may not apply to what you are studying and you can not use them to conduct your research.

A quote from ‘The Future of Newspapers’ (2009) reveals that “526 paid weekly and 637 free weekly papers have enjoyed relative stability, with some showing a modicum growth.”

My tips for using the methods of statistics and policy documents would be to make sure that the data completely applies to what you are studying, as otherwise it will not apply, and will not make sense. Also, as they are so easy to find, using the first lot of statistics you find is not always the best, keep looking through them to see if you can improve your methods.

Week Two

How important is the emerging role of ‘blogs’ in traditional journalistic organisations?

The topic within this question is the role of blogs in journalistic organisations. The issue of debate within this question is whether or not these blogs are important? Why do journalistic organisations now have blogs? Where did these blogs come from? Are the blogs making a good impact? These would be a few questions to consider. The object of study I would choose to use would be ‘The Guardian’ newspapers online blog. The method I would use to research this question would be interviews, and integrating it with work place ethnography.

To answer this question, I would construct interviews with various journalistic organisations to find out how important emerging roles of blogs are inside these organisations, especially that of ‘The Guardian’, whose online blog is my object of study, to see if they are useful creation or not useful at all to an organisation. I could also integrate this with work place ethnography, to look at the practices of the organisation, and see if blogs come under one of these.

Studying and conducting interviews is a key way of finding out in important information from workers at these journalistic organisations. You can really find out what goes on in an organisation from people who are on the inside.

From the article, “Journalism and Blogging” by Wilson Lowrey and Jenn Burleson Mackay, it says “The percentage of news websites in the sample that host blogs has nearly doubled since last year, growing from 33 percent in April 2005 to 61 percent in March 2006. About 37 percent of the sites had pages specifically designated for blogs, and about 33 percent of the sites had a ‘‘blog’’ link button on the site’s main navigation bar. More than half of the editors said bloggers posted commentary about their publication at least once a week, and about a fourth said commentary was posted daily. Nearly three-quarters of editors said reporters had used blogs as news sources, but only about 16 percent said this happened at least once a week. Sixty percent said blogpostings had been discussed in news meetings, and 17 percent said blogs were discussed in meetings at least once a week.”

The positives of using the method of interviews would be that the interviewer (yourself) can clarify the questions, and make sure the respondents respond in the correct way rather than if the interviewer had no control the research could be different. A limitation of an interview, could be that the respondent may not be very confident in answering the questions when under pressure, so may not give a full response.

My top tips for using this method, would be to ensure all questions are not to complex for the respondent understands clearly, and can answer them. Also making the respondent comfortable and calm, so if they are under confident they open up more, and you get the full research you want.

Week Four

What sense of identity do teenage girls develop through their reading of adolescent magazines?

The topic within this question is the identity girl’s gain through reading magazines. The issue of debate with the question is how the identities develop. The object of study I would use for this study would be teenage magazines “Sugar” and “More!”. The method of research I would use would be focus groups.

To answer the question I would set up a number of focus groups, with between 4-6 teenage girls in each group. To discuss whether they read adolescent magazines, and to see if these magazines effect their identities of themselves. I’d like to find out whether or not because they see a female reflected in these magazines in a certain way, that they aspire to be similar to them instead of being their own individual person. Also whether or not they learn more things from these adolescent magazines.

Studying focus groups is a good way to conduct research, as you get lots of different opinions, and the participants often are encouraged to discuss their thoughts and opinions more openly when provoked by other people participating in the focus groups thoughts on the matter.

A quote from the journal “More sugar?: Teenage magazines, gender displays and sexual learning” written by Mary Jane Kehily says  “Abstract teenage magazines such as and  More’ Sugar have been the subject of some  controversy in Britain recently. Media attention has indicated that such magazines are too sexually explicit for young women and one Member of Parliament declared that the magazines ’rob girls of their innocence’.”

A quote from the journal “Encoding Teenage Girls Magazine Quizzes” written by Amy Pattee says “Recent and historical research examining magazines written and produced for adolescent girls draws from the body of academic work that looks at media created with a female audience in mind including women’s magazines, romance novels, and soap operas. In addition, this research draws from the growing body of “girls’ studies” literature that critiques gendered norms of childhood and adolescence and the products created to address and perhaps even encourage these adult conceptions of youth.”

A positive of using focus groups is that you can draw upon participants thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, experiences and reactions to the discussion you are presenting them with. Compared with other methods, you can also gain a great deal of information in such a short period of time.

Music Industries Press Release

During my first year, I took a module called Music Industries. In the module we were put into groups to create a record label, where we would sign bands to play at a gig we organised ourselves. I signed a band called the 'The Yipes' to our label 'Hypnotic Records' and this is a press release I wrote about landing the deal. 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 1st January 2011

A&R and Promotions Management:


Indie band, ‘The Yipes’ from Telford in Shropshire, have signed a 5 month contract with Birmingham City University based ‘Hypnotic Records’. The deal which includes headlining a live showcase event in mid January in the city of Birmingham, was signed in early September, through ‘Hypnotic Records’ A&R Management.

‘The Yipes’ have said to be very excited by this new deal, and are eager to start working towards to live event alongside ‘Hypnotic Records’ and their other signings. They are looking forward to the new fans they will accumulate from around the Midlands area and around the UK. As they are only relatively well known through the Shropshire area, increasing their fan base through this exciting deal with ‘Hypnotic Records’ could be very exciting and rewarding for them!

The band formed of two brothers, and two friends, were formed in early 2008. They combine their unique tastes in music, to provide something fresh, original and exciting for the Music Industry.

Hannah Durham, CEO of Hypnotic Records, had this to say about to the deal, “Signing the deal with The Yipes is a very exciting venture, for both us as a label and them as a band. Our team are looking forward to working alongside the band, and promoting them throughout the Midlands. The next few months are going to be very exciting for everyone involved”

Hypnotic Record’s live event is rumoured to be being held in Birminghams famous music venue the Road House, on the 12th January, featuring ‘The Yipes’ and also other artists including ‘O’Casan’ and ‘Riot City Saints’. It is said to be a very exciting event, tickets go on sale as of now, costing £3.

A&R and Promotions Management:

News and Feature Writing Part One

I am currently undertaking a module called News and Feature Writing where I have to create a portfolio of news stories, backgrounders, interviews, reviews and columns etc. The piece below is a first draft of my News Story. I wrote about the Queen's first visit on her Jubilee Tour, to Leicester. I also included some original Journalism where I interviewed some friends who go to University in Leicester who were there when the Queen, Prince Phillip and the Duchess of Cambridge visited. When my portfolio is complete, some of my work, will go towards a group assignment where we are making a magazine. Our idea was to create a supplement magazine that you receive with your newspapers at a weekend, so my target audience for my article, is their audience. 

Diamond Jubilee: The Start of Queens Tour
Cheering crowds waving the Union Jacks Flags greeted the Queen in Leicester, the first stop on the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK. The Queen watched cultural dancers before entering De Montfort University, where she was accompanied by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, to watch a fashion parade. Prince Phillip viewed a project aimed at improving the local community.

They later attended a service at Leicester Cathedral, and the Queen unveiled a plaque at “Jubilee Square”. Lauren Ascroft, 20, a student from De Montford University said “it was amazing for them to come visit our University, it’s a day we won’t forget for a while.” Jason Barefoot, 19, a student at Leicester University said “It was surreal to see the Queen and Kate Middleton walk past.”

Earlier, crowds of people had gathered round Leicester’s train station awaiting her arrival. There was heavy police presence, with patrol cars on the road bordering the station and a helicopter overhead.

The Queen wore a pink cashmere dress and coat, with a matching hat designed by Angela Kelly. The duchess wore a suit by LK Bennett, a hat by James Lock and Episode shoes. They sat side-by-side watching the fashion, during which six of De Montford University’s students presented Kate with a tailor-made design for a pair of shoes, from which she chose her favourite.

Crowds gathered outside the Leicester Cathedral, cheering and clapping when the royals arrived. Five children presented the Queen with bunches of flowers. The crowd outside the cathedral broke into ‘God Save the Queen’ as the service grew to a close.

The royals later visited Leicester city centre, where the Queen herself, unveiled a plaque which would be placed in the newly named Jubilee Square. The square is said to be a permanent reminder of the Queen’s visit today. The Mayor of Leicester also presented the Queen with a photo album capturing the memories of her previous visits to Leicester.

The Queens Diamond Jubilee tour, will include visits to the Isle of Wight, Nottingham, Edinburgh and visiting us here in Birmingham. The tour finishes on 25th July in the south-east of England.

Dissertation Proposal

As I am nearing the end of my Second Year on my course, it was finally time to think about what I wanted to focus my research on for my Dissertation in my third and final year at BCU. I eventually chose a topic that I am very interested in, and also would be enjoyable to write so many words on! And here is the final proposal I submitted!

“To what extent are teenage magazines such as ‘Shout’ and ‘Bliss’ sexualising young girls and what issues does it raise?”


My proposed dissertation research question is looking into the representations of young/teenage girls in popular teenage magazines. I have a keen interest in the way all women are represented through different genres of magazines, especially looking at the way that teenage magazines are portraying teenage girls. I also think it is important for these issues to be addressed in order for people to realise the true extent of how teenage magazines are over sexualising the image of young and teenage girls.  The module I have completed that is relevant to my study would be Journalism in Context and Issues and Representations. There are plenty of issues revolving around the way young and teenage girls are represented in consumer teenage magazines. There are many opinions surrounding the on-going, but relevant debate. The issues are evident when you look through any example of teenage magazines, looking at the articles they publish, the photographs of young girls dressed up in too much make up and high heels, with short and skimpy items of clothing. Also the adverts featured within the magazine, looking at the products they try to sell to these young innocent teenage readers. The over sexualising of young girls is an on-going issue that needs to be tackled throughout the media, as it’s an issue in journalism, television and film. I think it would be interesting to also look at what regulations are set in place, if there are, to protect young and teenage girls from the content of these magazines, as this hasn’t been drawn up on scholarly research before.

It is common in the teenage magazines genre that the young girls are represented as older than they actually are, making them seem more sexualised and also making them feel older, and also desirable to teenage males. Femininity is portrayed through the images, texts and adverts throughout these magazines. However, this wasn’t always the case, many years ago, teenage magazines like ‘Shout’ and ‘Bliss’ weren’t always presented in that way and represented teenage girls as what they were - young, teenage girls. The images, articles and adverts are now just a reflection of modern day society where teenage girls are growing up too quickly, and want to be seen as more mature than they are, and feel more grown up and be an adult. I feel it is important to look into the issues that these magazines raise and to assess whether or not the images of young and teenage girls are being over sexualised.

In this report, I aim to do a textual analysis on various issues of the magazines ‘Shout’ and ‘Bliss’, to analyse how the magazines over sexualise young and teenage girls, and to try and determine why they do this. The magazine industry often portrays ideologies of how they think females should be viewed in society, for example Women’s magazines and also “Lad-Mags”.

Theoretical Frameworks/Critical Survey of Secondary Sources

My proposed research question has three specific theoretical frameworks which will enable me to conduct an in-depth analysis, forming the basis of my research. I will need to explore the representations apparent in the teenage magazines which are my object of study. I feel that Angela McRobbie’s work is relevant to build upon regarding teenage girls’ magazines. She argues that magazines seek to “further consolidate and fix an otherwise more unstable sense of both self and gender”. She focuses on the idea that girls use these magazines as a form of escapism from the real world, defining and shaping a world that the reader wants to live in. The magazines become more of a friend for the teenagers, advising them on what to wear, how to wear their hair, how to act and how to control their love life. Flicking through the pages of these magazines, there is articles on celebrities, real-life, beauty, style, female problems and a lot of emphasis on how to attract boys, which McRobbie refers to as the ‘girls feminine sphere’ when she was analysing largely popular 1970s teenage magazine ‘Jackie’. Feminism in Journalism and representation of Women/Girls in magazines are largely studied topics of debates that have been around for years. I feel that McRobbie’s ideas of the role in which these magazines play in a girl’s development from a teenager to a woman will prove beneficial to me in my own analysis of the two proposed magazines I intend to analyse regarding the representation and over sexualising of young girls.

My second theoretical framework focuses on the over sexualising of young and teenage girls in the magazines. A notable theorist for this framework would be Mary Jane Kehily, in her article “More Sugar? Teenage Magazines, Gender Displays and Sexual Learning”.  She looks at the problems in the magazines help pages. She says that the idea of sharing their problems can be seen as fundamentally sexualized subjectivity. She thinks that reading these problem pages helps discussion and informal learning of sexual issues. These pages are over read by young and teenage girls, sometimes they are seen as a laugh, or something for them to relate to if they are troubled. But some read them with the aspiration of them wanting to go through these problems themselves in order for them to feel like a proper adult, rather than a young teenage girl. I aim to use Kehily’s work in order to analyse the ideas raised in ‘Shout’ and ‘Bliss’ and see what problems are raised in their magazines.

Angela McRobbie, again would be suitable to look at when she studied popular magazine ‘More!’. She said that it embraced and displayed an intensification of interest in sexuality. She notes that this sexual material is marked by features such as exaggeration, self-parody and irony which suggests new forms of sexual conduct for young women. She looks at how girls look at these articles in admiration for what they want to become and aspire to be. She feels that they offer an insight into the practices and behaviours which were points of concern for young women. I aim to use McRobbie in order to look at the articles featured in my object of study, to see how they reflect what McRobbie refers to in her theories.
I also think the theorist, Laura Mulvey would be interesting to look at. She devised the theory of “the male gaze”. In this theory she describes the idea of Women being an object for Men to look at. I can link this to my research into the over sexualising of young and teenage girls. The images of the girls, dressed up with plenty of make-up, will encourage the teenage readers to think this is what boys like to see, and will want to see. Therefore reflecting the idea of them being an object for their male peers to look at.

Lastly, my third framework would be looking at the issues that are raised. I mainly want to look at the issues raised from public opinion, where I aim to either interview, produce questionnaires or conduct a focus group. A good theorist I think to look at to help me throughout my research, would be the work of Stuart Hall. His encoding and decoding theory would be good to look at as to what issues the over sexualising these magazines caused. When I conduct my audience research, either through the methods I mentioned above, as to how the readers and my respondents respond to what is happening in the magazines. Whether they take a dominant response, where they fully understand what it going on within the text, a negotiated reading, where they partly understand what is being told to them in the text, but sometimes reject it and an oppositional response, where the reader completely rejects what is being told to them in the reading.

I would also like to look at the work of Blumler and Katz during my research. Their Uses and Gratifications theory would be good to use, to look at why the teenage and young girls read the magazines. They discuss why people use certain media, such as watch television, read a magazine or listen to a radio show. They say they do this for four different reasons. Firstly, information, finding out about what is happening in the world, and about relevant events. Secondly, personal identity, finding re-enforcement for own values, identifying with others in similar positions, or gaining an insight into their self. Thirdly, social interaction, identifying with others, having a substitute for real life companionship or helping carry out social roles. Lastly, entertainment, escaping problems in real life, relaxing, emotional release or sexual arousal. I can use this, as an idea into why the young and teenage readers read the magazines such as ‘Shout’ and ‘Bliss’ to determine if they use any of Blumler and Katz’s audience theory.

Primary Sources/Primary Research Methods

The primary sources I will conduct a detailed textual analysis on will be the two magazines I have referred to above, and proposed to analyse. I have decided to use ‘Shout’ and ‘Bliss’ as they are your typical and consumer teenage magazines. A lot of the typical teenage girls magazines have been discontinued, such as ‘Sugar’ ‘Teen Vogue’ and ‘CosmoGirl , whereas these two have continued and are still producing issues today. I plan to look at these two magazines, and analyse various publications of them, with a number of pages inside them where I think that there is an issue of over sexualising teenage girls present. I shall perform a textual analysis, analysing the articles, pictures, news, games and adverts that are featured inside the magazines.

I also plan to either, firstly, conduct interviews with people who have seen these magazines before, or even just show them various pages of these magazines, to provoke opinions and see what their own views are about what issues the magazines are raising, by asking a number of typical interview questions. Secondly, I would like to conduct questionnaires, that highlight the issues that I will raise in my dissertation regarding the over sexualising of teenage girls in these magazines, and get people to respond and answer in order to gain a range of answers and views regarding the matter. Lastly, I most want to form one or two focus groups, of mixed genders, and then show them a few examples of the magazines that I will analyse, and then attempt to get a conversation or debate about these issues, and see what people say, and how their opinions differ to the ones I will have raised in my dissertation. I would rather conduct a focus group over interviews and questionnaires, because I think they are allow people to be more open and express their opinions, and debate between everyone. I can also be involved if the conversation and debate gets out of hand or off track to where I need it to be. I would want my focus groups to be mixed gender, so that I would gain a range of opinions, because it would be interesting to see what the males would think of the issue of over sexualising young and teenage girls in magazines.


Davies, Sian. (2002) Semiotic Analysis of Teenage Magazine Front Covers. Available: Last Accessed 19th March 2012.

Durrell, M (1987). Analysis of female models in teenage magazines with special reference to “Jackie”. The Open University Press

Garner, A. (1998) Narrative analysis of sexual etiquette in teenage magazines. Journal of Communication. 48 (4), 59-78.

Kehily, M.J (1999). More sugar? Teenage magazines, gender displays and sexual learning. European Journal of Cultural Studies. 2 (1), 65-89.

Luff, G.M and Gray J.J. (2009). Complex messages regarding a thin ideal appearing in teenage girls’ magazines from 1956 to 2005. Body Image. 6 (2), 133-176

McRobbie, A (1997). Back to Reality? Social Experience and Cultural Studies. Manchester University Press. 190-210

Nice, L (2007). Tabloidization and the Teen Market. Journalism Studies. 8 (1), 117-136.

Pattee, A. (2009). When In Doubt Choose ‘B’. Feminist Media Studies. 9 (2), 193-207.

Peirce, K. (2004). Socialization of teenage girls through teen-magazine fiction: The making of a new woman or an old lady?. Sex Roles.29 (1), 59-68.

Schlenker, J.A. (2004). A Feminist Analysis of Seventeen Magazine: Content Analysis from 1945 to 1995. Sex Roles. 38 (1)135-149.

Ticknell, E. (2003). Begging for It: “New Femininities,” Social Agency, and Moral Discourse in Contemporary Teenage and Men’s Magazines. Feminist Media Studies. 3 (1), 47-63

Willemson, T.M. (1998). Widening the Gender Gap: Teenage Magazines for Girls and Boys. Sex Roles. 38 (9), 851-861.

Winship, Janice (1987) Inside Women’s Magazines. Pandora Publishing. 1-259.

Journalism In Context Assignment

This is my Second Year, first semester Theory Assignment for Journalism in Context. We had to choose a certain research method that we had been learning about, and then use in order to answer a question we had devised ourself. I focused on the representations of Women in Magazines. I used textual analysis and questionnaires to complete my research. 


The representation of women is a well debated topic throughout the media, whether it being in magazines, film, television or radio. With the attitudes towards women changing in society regularly since the 1940s, the media seems to have followed through with the changes. ‘The Feminine Mystique’ by Betty Friedan (1963), marked the reawakening awareness of Women in Britain under the pressure to conform to the traditional female role. Friedan’s theory was that magazines and other media most often depict women in traditional stereotyped roles such as homemakers or models of attractiveness, which doing so has given a narrow impression of women. Friedan supports her theories with evidence from movies, television, books and magazines.
In this report, I am going to look at the changing representations of Women in British Magazines, looking at various issues of Women’s Magazines, such as ‘Cosmopolitan’ ‘Glamour’ and ‘Vogue’, and how their representations of Women have changed over the years. I am also going to look at typical “Lad Mags” such as ‘Nuts’, to see how the Women featured in the Magazine are presented in there. Lastly, I am going to look at a new trend that seems to be taking over the Magazine world, looking at how they use Women to sell certain items, whether it is Make-Up for Women, or the new Gadgets for Men. I am going to conduct textual analysis of these various magazines to see how the representations of Women are shown in different genre of magazines. I will conduct a questionnaire to gain people’s opinions on the matter of representation of Women in magazines.

Stereotypical Views on Women

There are various stereotypes for Women, which have changed drastically over the last 40 years. Women used to be seen as the ‘stay at home’ types where they were designated to the kitchen and looking after the family and the home, rather than creating a career in the world of work for themselves. But throughout the last 40 years, Women have started to be seen as ‘objects of desire’ and something to look at for the males, as said by Laura Mulvey in her ‘Male Gaze’ theory in her well known essay ‘Visual Pleasures and Narrative Cinema’ in 1975. A particular device that is often used to refer to women is that of linguistic metaphors. Looking at pages of magazines these are very relevant, in the forms of food, animals, babies etc. Women’s magazines cause a lot of these representations and stereotypes, as they always feature beautiful, skinny and perfect women and highlight the apparent need of beauty products cause they will ‘change your life’. What we see and read in these magazines is not ‘reality’, and they don’t represent the ‘real woman’.

In The Past

A great example of the change of representations of Women in Magazines would be ‘Cosmopolitan’. It was first published in 1886 where it was seen as a family magazine, it eventually became a Women’s magazine in the 1960’s. Its content nowadays includes articles on relationships, sex, health, careers, self-improvement, celebrities, fashion and beauty.
In old issues of the magazine, the themes seemed to follow ‘being the perfect housewife’, following stereotypes at staying at home, looking after the house and her family, and mainly looking up to her husband. These themes were following the outlook of life that was around before the 1940’s. Articles hardly ever featured anything about Women having their own careers, and earning their own money. If articles in Women’s magazines did feature anything about Women working and having careers, it would deem them as being a ‘bad’ wife, as they were not concentrating on looking after her husband, children and the family home. As said in ‘Feminism, Femininity and Popular Culture’ by Joanne Hollows, “Women no longer had a sense of their own identity because they were encouraged to see themselves only as someone’s wife or mother” The articles that were featured in the old issues of the magazine followed the on-going conventions that were presented in society in the past.  In research taken from ‘Women’s Magazines and the Cult of Femininity’ by Marjorie Ferguson, in 1949 alone, 17 articles appeared in Women’s magazine ‘Woman’ about achieving the perfect family and 11 articles on keeping your man happy.


‘Cosmopolitan’ has since created a popular image of the magazine meant for women. They believe, their typical reader is the “fun, fearless female”, a “Cosmo-Girl”. She is seen as powerful and very independent. As said ‘Women’s Magazines and the Cult of Femininity’ by Marjorie Ferguson, “Cosmopolitan is every girl’s sophisticated older sister… Cosmopolitan says you can get anything if you really try, if you don’t just sit on your backside and gaze in on life with your nose pressed to the glass”. But when flicking through the pages of current issues of the widely popular magazine, I don’t see this representation, when they are reading articles like “Questions not to ask your man” and “Just change one small thing, and create a beautiful new you”. If they were fun and fearless, why would they be worrying about asking their boyfriends or husbands questions? Or why would they be following instructions on how to be beautiful?
‘Cosmopolitan’ and it’s ideas of the fun and fearless woman, are not always what their readership actually portray. Female’s will often read Women’s weekly and monthly magazines, like ‘Cosmopolitan’ in order to gain a escapism from the real world, and feel an emotional release, which is mentioned in Blumler and Katz (1974) Uses and Gratifications Theory.

Women’s Magazines

Women’s Magazines such as ‘Vogue’ and ‘Glamour’ are Women’s monthly lifestyle magazines featuring articles of fashion, relationships, sex, careers, beauty, health and celebrities. They are all very popular magazines with a huge female readership.
‘Vogue’ is more aimed at the high fashionable female, advertising very expensive items of clothing and beauty. When you look through the pages, you see what’s shown on the fashion catwalks. The models featured in the articles of the magazine, mirror what you see in fashion shows; tall, incredibly skinny, perfect features. The Women used in the magazine are not a true representation of Women. As said in ‘How Does Vogue Negotiate Age?: Fashion, the Body, and the Older Woman’ by Julia Twigg “Vogue is notable for an almost perfect match between editorial and advertising, with the high production values of its fashion spreads reflected in the adverts for major perfume and garment houses. Its high advertising revenue means it is one of the most profitable women’s magazines”
‘Glamour’ magazine is aims itself more at the everyday female. Compared to ‘Vogue’  it features more admirable females, it features the odd few real life stories, and features admirable females, such as January 2012’s cover star Tulisa Contostavlos. But the magazine still has a lot of self-improvement articles, and portrays Women as weak, who always need the help of others. As said in ‘Branding and Discourse: The Case of Cosmopolitan’ by David Machin and Joanna Thornborrow, “Women’s magazines have been seen as damaging to women’s self-image as they offer women a distorted view of themselves and the world.”
Although, you can still find negative portrayals in Women’s Magazines in the 21st century, compared to the articles and ideals you would find in the magazines many years ago. You now often see inspiring females appear throughout the magazines and also a lot of articles talking about Women having successful careers, where as many years before you would never find these articles appearing. But they still offer articles on self-improvement and then giving the reader a lack of self-confidence, like it says in “The Portrayal of Beauty in Women’s Fashion Magazines” by Brian Moeran, “The fact that the magazine reader’s face and body are carefully dissected and fragmented into dozens of different parts enables magazines and their advertisers to conjure up numerous beauty dilemmas that appear designed to keep women in a permanent and continuous state of concern and lack of self-confidence.”

‘Lads Mags

A men’s magazine, or ‘Lad Mag’ as they are now generally called, is aimed at young, usually single men, whose main interests are sex, drinking, sport and humour. It portrays the media construction of a new type of ‘red-blooded’ male, who is highly sexed and emotions masculinity, also known now as ‘lad culture’. The magazines seem to also portray the males’ uncontrollable desires. As said in “The Dark World of Lads Mags” by Kira Cochrane, “Any young woman who felt that there might be something a bit offensive about blokes talking loudly about ogling women's "tits", who might have wondered why the men around her - often middle-class men - were acting out some sort of tired cartoon of male dominance, was simply derided as po-faced. Lad culture was, as one journalist put it, a "blokelash", a reaction to the gains of feminism which, although it was based on the idea of having big cojones, didn't even have the balls to be open and honest about what it was doing. This was the old-style sexism dressed up as the new-style irony.”
The women you see in your typical ‘Lad Mags’ are completely different to the women that appear in your typical magazines aimed at the female audience. Flicking through the pages of lad magazines such as ‘Nuts’ magazine, they all seem to follow the same strategy, sexualising Women. Like I referred to earlier, the theory of Laura Mulvey, describes what the magazines do perfectly. Mulvey’s ‘Male Gaze’ theory was based around the sexualising of Women, through the Television and Film industry, but I feel that it can be used in a similar way, when looking at the way Women are represented in these ‘Lad Mags’. She says that “They present ‘woman as an image’ (or ‘spectacle’) and man as ‘bearer of the look’. Men do the looking; women are there to be looked at.”
When looking through the pages of popular ‘Lad Mag’ ‘Nuts’, the only views you get from the magazine, about women, are sexual views. The pages are full with various semi-naked women, with the odd few articles on cars and beer. It is a concern in society when these magazines are that the content of these magazines are ‘normalising’ the idea of women as sex objects. The magazines are giving the idea that sexism is accepted and normal, when in reality it should be rejected.
There are not many studies when looking at the representation of women in so called ‘Lad Mags’, but I feel the ideas represented in studies about the way women are portrayed in the porn industry work well along what I am talking about. As said in ‘Imagining Women’ by Frances Bonner, “It is certainly true that the commercial sex industry is currently run by and for men: the women who in it have no control over production. There is also no doubt that much of the sexually explicit material produced by it is degrading to women.”
All the samples of magazines I have looked at, all follow the same kind of structure. They all feature scantily clad women dominating the front covers and pages of the magazines, although no full frontal nudity is included. Looking at ‘Nuts’ magazine, they seem to feature more ‘real’ girls, maybe to make them feel more accessible to the reader.

Using Women to Advertise

When I was looking through the various magazine shelves, for my research, I noticed something on the front of a few magazine covers. One in particular, ‘Stuff’ caught my eye. ‘Stuff’ counts itself as a gadget magazine, featuring electronics and cars. But when looking at the front cover, it didn’t really convey a typical gadget magazine cover. In my opinion, it looked more like as I mentioned in the last section, a ‘Lad Mag’. The front cover featured, yet again, a scantily dressed woman, holding a new digital camera.
To gain the males attention, using half naked women to sell these items to men who are interested in gadgets, and to sell the magazine, to those men with ‘laddish’ qualities, with the half-naked women featured on the cover and throughout the pages of the ‘top selling gadget magazine’.
On the other hand, Women’s magazines do the same thing, just in a different format. To sell products advertised in their magazines, or to sell the magazines. For example on the front of ‘Glamour’ Britain’s number one selling women’s magazine, it features Tulisa, looking stunning and flawless, enticing the female general public to buy the magazine in hopes of finding out how to look like her inside the pages.
When you look through the pages of ‘Glamour’ magazine, it also follows similar. Fashion and beauty articles all have photographs of young, beautiful and ‘perfect’ women wearing them.

NME Beth Ditto Cover

In 2007, a very controversial cover appeared on favourite music magazine ‘NME’. ‘The Gossips’ lead singer Beth Ditto, appeared on the front cover of the magazine, completely naked. It caused a hell of a lot of controversy when it hit the shops. Not because Ditto was naked, but for the fact that she herself was not your stereotypical “ideal woman”. She herself weighed 15 stone, only 5ft tall and covered in tattoos.
It split the nation in half, some shocked and disgusted by what she was doing. But most praised her efforts and fight for feminism. She was showing the nation that you don’t have to be beautiful, skinny and tall to be the ideal woman. She put all the typical stereotypes and portrayals of women in magazines to shame. Ditto also gave a lot of confidence to Women in society, if she could be brave and stand up for what she believes in and be confident in herself, flaws and all, then every other Woman in society could, and the definition of the perfect woman, would not be the skinny, beautiful, perfect tall woman we see splashed over Women’s magazines, but the everyday Woman you see in reality walking down the street, at the supermarket or at the office.

Questionnaire Results

As I mentioned earlier, I completed a questionnaire asking various students and colleagues on their opinions on the issues I raise in my essay. A copy of the questions I used in my questionnaire, and all the answers from respondents are available in my appendices, but here, I am going to give a summary of my findings from the Questionnaire.
I firstly asked ‘What are the first three representations of Women you think of?’ The most popular answers were being a mother, loving shopping and enjoying cooking.
I secondly asked ‘How true do you think the old representations of women having to stay at home, to look after her family and husband and not have a career? Do you think these representations were right?’ Everyone agreed that they are very old opinions and does not reflect the state of society today, and anyone who wants a career is allowed one.
I thirdly asked ‘How do you think Women are represented in your typical ‘Lad Mags’ such as Nuts, FHM, Front, Zoo etc.’ Everyone agreed that it objectifies the women, and makes them just look like objects, and makes it seem that men are only interested in how they look.
I fourthly asked ‘How do you think Women are represented in Women’s magazines now? Such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Glamour etc.’ Most people said that they seem to concentrate on making themselves look good, and wanting to be similar to the celebrities and models portrayed in the magazines.
Fifthly, I asked ‘What do you think of scantily dressed Women advertising gadgets and cars in Gadget magazines?’ They agreed again that is very similar to how they are presented in Lads Mags, being seen as just objects. But then again, sex sells.
Lastly, I asked ‘Did you see the 2007 NME magazine cover with Beth Ditto appearing naked? What do you think that did for the representation of women?’ Not many of my respondents had seen it, but the ones who had said it probably gave women a lot more confidence, and gave the public the idea that not all cover girls portray the real woman. But then it’s not changed a lot, as the cover girls of magazines are still the same.


Overall, I think that Women’s magazines in the 21st century have improved compared to when they were first published, with the ideals of Women having to stay at home and look after their husband and family. But still nowadays magazines are trying to ‘make’ the perfect woman, by following their articles in how to look one of their models or to celebrities. Some of the magazines make the Women seem self-obsessed and just interested in the way they look.
As for how Women are portrayed in ‘Lads Mags’ and Gadget magazines, I think the portrayals are very damaging, making Women just seem like objects to the males of society, who are just interesting in looking at these ‘perfect’ bodies. It is very demeaning and offensive to the female population.


Questionnaire Questions:
1) What are the first three representations of women you think of?
2) How true do you think the old representations of women having to stay at home, to look after her family and husband and not have a career? Do you think these representations were right?
3) How do you think Women are represented in your typical ‘Lad Mags’ such as Nuts, FHM, Front, Zoo etc.
4) How do you think Women are represented in Women’s magazines now? Such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Glamour etc.
5) What do you think of scantily dressed Women advertising gadgets and cars in Gadget magazines?
6) Did you see the 2007 NME magazine cover with Beth Ditto appearing naked? What do you think that did for the representation of women?

Respondents Answers:
1) Shopping, cooking, cleaning.
2) I think that I'd be quite happy doing that! Although I think any woman who wants a career and a life on her own is perfectly entitled to do so.
3) As objects not people.
4) Sometimes the same way as the lad's mags, particularly in magazines like vogue; the women are like clothes horses not real people, if they're not the right shape they're out.
5) Sex sells!
6) No I didn't, but I can imagine it to be quite a liberating image!

1) Mothers/carers, cooking at home, loves shopping
2) Very true in the olden days. I disagree with that and believe that women should be given equal opportunity to pursue a career they want and the responsibility of taking care of the family, financially and physically should be shared between the parents
3) It objectifies women, makes it seems like men only care the outward/physical appearance of women
4) They focus more on making themselves look good, not necessarily to be attractive to men (it is in some cases) but generally, to boost self-esteem. It promotes fashion, hence the loves shopping. Less explicit sexual contents, although I think some still contains sex tips etc., but more about improving sex life rather than for sexual fantasies.
5) Almost equivalent to lad’s magazine but just that they aren't fully exposed. Gadget magazines use them because it can be a bit 'dry' to promote a gadget magazine just on its own and the presence of women makes it more appealing
6) No

1) Independent, being a mum and shopping
2) I think people didn't know any better at the time and it was difficult to change but I think it was wrong as women are just as capable as men and cooking/cleaning/children duties should be shared equally.
3) Just there to be looked at for their body and not for their intelligence or personality.
4) To only be interested in celebs and too concerned about the way they look.
5) I think it is a cheap way to get sales from men.
6) No I didn't see it but as I know who she is I would imagine it boosted a lot of women’s' confidence and made a point about women being allowed to be natural.

1. Feminism, being passive, and loving shopping!
2. It's a bit difficult to say if they were right or not because people didn't really know any better back then, but they're definitely not right now.
3. Just as sex objects really, or something to look at. It's not very positive but you could say that no-one forces these women to be models!
4. I don't know, but I'm guessing that it might be as more fashionable and powerful.
5. It's a better representation in a way, because they’re not supposed to be the main thing you're looking at in those types of magazines, I think it's just to add some 'sexiness' to the product.
6. I didn't, but I Googled it now you mentioned it and I was quite surprised! I don't think it's done much, cover girls are still seen as slim and attractive.

1) -Sexual/body
2) I think that these representations were probably true of women back then but they do not represent the women of today. More women are head strong and career driven and stand independently.
3) In magazines such as mentioned women are represent as solely to be looked at, they are there for the male audience's attention and pleasure, there is nothing more to them they are just a body.
4) Women are representing as caring about their image, being image conscious but also taking back the 'sexual' image and making it their own. Women can be fashionable and sexy without giving the same connotations as glamour and page 3 images.
5) I think again as in NUTs etc. it degrades women, they are just something on the side to give more appeal to the gadgets. It is selling an ideal to men that women are there for them to look at and by having such material objects they can attract women with them.
6) I think it opened up people's eyes to what women really are. We are not all perfect, with massive boobs, but real people and we are all different. It created a representation that allowed audience's to think about women and what 'sexy' is. How she was posed is still in a similar manner to other generic 'glamour' girls, but because she is of a bigger body size it adds a difference and directs people to appreciate women differently.


Blumler, Jay and Katz, Elihu (1974) Uses and Gratifications.
Bonner, Frances (1992) Imagining Women. Cultural Representations and Gender. The Open University Press.
Cochrane, Kira (2007) New Statesman. The Dark World of Lad’s Mags. 136 (4858), 24.
Cosmopolitan Magazine (2012) ‘Issue 01’ Cosmopolitan. January, pp1-202
Ferguson, Marjorie (1983) Forever Feminine. Women’s Magazines and the Cult of Femininity. Heinemann Publications.
Friedan, Betty (1963) The Feminine Mystique. W.W Norton and Company Publishing.
Glamour Magazine (2012) ‘Issue 01’ Glamour. January, pp1-244.
Hollows, Joanne (2000) Feminism, Femininity and Popular Culture. Manchester University Printing Press
Machin, David – Thornborrow, Joanna (2003). Discourse and Society. Branding and Discourse: The Case of Cosmopolitan. 14 (4), 453.
Moeran, Brian. (2010). Fashion Theory. The Portrayal of Beauty in Women’s Fashion Magazines. 14 (4), 491
Mulvey, Laura. (1973) Visual Pleasures and Narrative Cinema. Brown University Press.
NME Magazine (2007) ‘Issue 22’ NME. 23rd May pp1.
Stuff Magazine (2012) ‘Issue 1’ Stuff. January pp1-100.
Twigg, Julia (2010). Fashion Theory. How Does Vogue Negotiate Age?: Fashion, the Body, and the Older Woman. 14 (4), 471.
Vogue Magazine (2012) ‘Issue 01’ Vogue. January pp1-
Zoo Magazine (2012) ‘Issue 1’ Zoo. January pp1-90.