The magazine cover that I'm analysing is the 'Easy Living' magazine from August 2008.
Q1: Explain 2 ways the extract fits the genre of lifestyle magazines. Use examples from the extract.
One way that this magazine fits the genre of lifestyle magazines is that it uses a direct mode of address. The word 'you' is used a lot in cover lines such as 'What your friends really think of you.' and 'the marriage crime you don't even know you're committing.'
Another way in which this magazine fits the lifestyle genre is that it uses a conventional mix of contents: celebrities, fashion, relationships, friendships, sex, food and beauty. The cover lines include: 'what your friends really think of you', 'loose, sexy hair', '23 pages of deliciously simple recipes and outdoor entertaining ideas' and Kylie Minogue 40 and Fabulous.'
Q2: Explain how each of the following is used in the extract to create effect:
Use examples from the extract
The layout of the magazine is asymmetrically balanced because the main image is slightly off to the left, and the cover lines on the left are a lot smaller than the one of the right. Another way in which this magazine is asymmetrical is because the cover lines on the right are completely black whilst the ones on the left are black and white. The magazine is also balanced by colour, because the colours on the cover lines are fairly dull and basic, as well as the main image being fairly dull in colour. However, our eyes are drawn to the vibrant colours of the masthead and the categories above the cover lines.
The typography on this magazine is mainly sans-serif with small amounts of serif fonts, examples of the serif fonts would be on the main coverlines (such as 'subtle, glowing make-up') and the category boxes. This implies that the magazine is fairly informal, but it's not totally informal, which means that the reader is more inclined to trust it. The use of italics is also significant because it makes the word 'really' stand out in the cover line that the italics are used ('what your friends really think of you'). This draws your attention to the word 'really' because it emphasises the 'truth' about your friends thoughts. The colours used on the text include black, white and pink. The white represents purity and cleanliness, the black represents mystery and elegance and the pink represents harmony and spirituality.
The colour in the magazine's main image include grey in the background and cream on the clothing. The grey represents conservativeness and formality whilst the cream implies calmness, elegance and purity. The colours of the boxes around the content categories are purple, green, blue and red. The purple represents mystery and elegance, the green connotes nature and new beginnings, the blue represents calmness and responsibility and the red represents passion and love. All of the colours represent their respective categories, for example: purple represents emotion and green represents food. All of the colours of the category boxes are bright and vivid so they stand out and the reader is more drawn to those colours.
The language in this magazine includes an exclamation. Although this often represents a commandment, in this case it's used in a joyful outburst in the cover line 'Summer's Here!' The language is also fairly informal, making the magazine seem like a 'friend' to the reader and the reader will trust the magazine more It also uses commas, generally before a second adjective, to make the cover lines seem more detailed and that there is thought put into the magazine, rather than it just being quickly thrown together. Another language technique used is brackets, which act as if the magazine is telling a secret to the audience, and that also draws the audience in.
Q3: Discuss how people and lifestyles are represented in the extract. Refer to stereotypes in your answer. Use examples from the extract.
This magazine would appear to be representing middle aged, middle-class women. The idea that it is for middle aged women is displayed by the cover lines: 'Kylie Minogue, 40 and fabulous.' and 'The marriage crime you don't even know you're committing.' The second cover line implies this because, stereotypically, a middle-aged person is more likely to be married than a young adult. This magazine is saying that, stereotypically, this type of person is going to be interested with food ('23 deliciously simple recipes and outdoor entertaining ideas'), focusing on emotions and friendships ('what your friends really think about you'), staying good-looking ('Subtle, glowing make-up') and having an easy life ('Chic clothes with the hard work taken out'). This magazine corresponds well with the stereotype of women being focused on food, relationship, fashion and beauty. However, there are issues surrounding this representation. It is saying that, now that these women are getting older, they should look good, but it's going to have to be easier for them because they're too old to be doing hard work. The title, 'Easy Living', also suggests this. The magazine is also implying that all women are worrying about what their friends actually think about them and also that all women want to make really good food. Inside the contents page, everything is very neat and organised, this is stereotyping that all women need things to be clean and tidy, which is a sexist generalisation of them. In the editor's letter, the stereotyping issues continue further with 'How to look good on holiday' as the first clause. It also shows a variety of swimwear and a woman's handbag. This could be extending the implication that women are focused with fashion or that middle-aged women should still try and look great. All 3 pages of the extract have used models of middle-aged women that all middle-aged women should aspire to be like. It has shown the idea of the 'ideal' middle-aged woman. This, along with being told about how they could improve the lifestyle, may make the reader feel insecure due to not being like the ideal model. This magazine shows the women how they should be instead of how they are, this may be why people buy them every month - because now they want the magazine's ideas to help them improve their lifestyle.