Friday, March 1, 2019
Semiotic Analysis of Teenage Magazine Front Covers
In this essay I concedeing apprehend to analyse the semiotic codes of the front wrap ups of immature pickups to demonstrate how the media constructs the emblem and behavioural ideology of the jejune misfire. I get out analyse issue 359 of much (December 27 th 2001 January 8th 2002) and comp be it with the January 2002 edition of 19. I put sensation across chosen these specific textbooks as they argon popular mainstream cartridge clips that atomic number 18 obtainable in some newsagents, and thereof arguably represent to the contributor what constitutes the ripe young girl.These are excessively the most recent issues available for outline and therefrom demonstrate an up-to-date representation of constructed femininity in our media and society. Jonathan Bignell (1997) argues that the mag is only a collection a signs (Bignell 1997 78). These signs may include paradigmatic and syntagmatic elements such as the title of the cartridge holder, the fonts emplo y, the layout, the colours, the texture of the paper, the language adopted, the kernel of the articles and so on, and each(prenominal) of these signs have been chosen to generate a importation.The magazine is indeed a complex collection of signs that faeces be extensively decoded and analysed by its lector womens magazines communicate their mythic meaning by doer of signs, thus their representations of the imaginary are dependent on the symbolic, the signs which do the communication (Bignell 1997 78). Signs heretofore, consisting (according to Saussure) of two elements, a signifier and a signified, only gain meaning when it has someone to mean to (Williamson 1978 40). The endorser is therefore very important and impart bring his/her bear interpretations to the texts by drawing on their own heathenish values and perceptual codes.As Daniel Chandler argues, decoding involves not simply basic credit rating and comprehension of what a text says but similarly the interpre tation and paygrade of its meaning with evokeence to applicable codes (Chandler, web source Semiotics for Beginners). As the relationship between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary and meaning is root in cultural values, we corporation argue that the potential interpretations of every given up magazine are therefore endless. As well as creation a collection of signs, the magazine is a sign in itself, which connects to astoundher the mythic meanings of femininity and pleasure (Bignell 1997 66). with see the pages a reader will gain an insight into the reality of the woman and will be taught what are the expectations made of them as women (they learn what it is to be a woman). McRobbie (1996) argues that magazines search to further consolidate and fix an otherwise much unstable mind of both self and gender (in Curran 1996 193), and so magazines awaitm to be rally to society as they create a culture, a culture of femininity where a common experience of girlhood is shared.Bignell argues that the function of magazines is to provide readers with a sense of community, comfort, and pride in this mythic feminine identity (Bignell 1997 61). As the magazine promotes a feminine culture and (defines) and (shapes) the womans world (McRobbie 2000 69), we can see that it reachs a familiar friend for the fe antheral it advises her, and provides entertainment, amusement and escapism for the reader and speaks to her in a language she understands the lingo of immaturers is used in 19 and more than , for example Top Totty.Bignell sees that magazines are glossy and colourful, connoting pleasure and laxation rather than seriousness the smell and feel of the glossy paper connotes high aliveness femininity and its pleasures of self-adornment (1997 66). The magazine therefore symbolises a lifestyle, a life of luxury and pleasure. The magazine claims to be simultaneously a luxury item and a familiar friend to its reader. It endeavours to convince us th at it is not a sour document, that it is a reliable reflection of reality, a window into the real world of the woman.It is argued that the average teen reader will be a straighta charge girl seeking a boyfriend (or seeking a way to gratify the needs of her boyfriend), enjoying shopping, fashion, and popular culture and needing plenty of advice on stir and love. These assumptions pervade the confine of mainstream teenage magazines, with features such as Position of the fortnight and Celebrity Hair Special frequently appearing deep down the pages. This is the reader to whom most teenage magazines cater they broadcast to a stereotypical battalion (which is arguably an artificial epresentation and does not reflect the identities and lives of all teenage girls). In order to analyse the image and behavioural ideology of the teenage girl offered within teenage magazines, I will attempt to investigate some semiotic codes within much and 19. The front redress is an important tant rum of the magazine as it initially puffs the reader and is a taster of what can be seen within the cloys of the magazine. It is an important advertisement and serves to label its possessor (McLoughlin 2000 5).This is surely a factor that influences the purchasing behaviours of young teenage girls who attempt to appear more mature and more sexually familiarityable by debauching a magazine aimed at girls 4 or 5 years their senior. The front cover will also promise that the contents of the magazine will fulfil the needs of the individual and her group and sells a future image of the reader as happier, more desirable (Bignell 1997 67). By merely olfactory perceptioning at the front cover of a magazine therefore, a potential reader will be able to finalize how far it will fulfil their needs.There are many sympathetic defining paradigmatic and syntagmatic elements on the covers of much and 19 that would allure a teenage girl to purchase the magazines. These demonstrate effecti vely the prevalent ideology of teenage femininity in the media. Firstly, the titles anchor the texts to the genre of teenage magazines. 19 seems to be directed at a person who is 19, or at least who thinks she is as mature as a 19year old. As the title stands boldly in the top unexpended-hand corner of the page, this is the image that the midpoint is initially drawn towards.If we are to adopt Kress and Leeuwens theory of layout, this will also give the magazine a sense of idealism, suggesting that the reader should place to attain the life and image referred to within the pages (in Bell 1997 193). The title more than also acquires this quality of idealism, but as the word stretches across the largeness of the page it could be suggested that the More reader is more sassy and large than life in comparison to the more mature or sophisticated reader of 19 (this is further substantiated by the exclamation mark -More and by the girlish pink colour of the 19 logo). The taglines rein force these ideas as they are placed directly underneath the titles in a contrasting blacken font. 19 states that the magazine is Bare sayingd Cheek which implies that all is bared in the magazine, the reader is given extensive coverage of the issues of sex, love and fashion. However this tagline could also be interpreted (perhaps to a non-teenager reader) as implying that the reader of 19 is nervy and impertinent.It is only the exclamation mark after the words and the positioning underneath the well-known and recognisable logo of 19 that anchor the preferred reading for the reader as the reader will presumably be familiar with the content of the magazine, the polysemic temperament of the tagline will not be apparent to them. This familiarity with content is also needed to fully appreciate the tagline on the cover of More Smart girls Get More .On the one hand, it is suggested that smart girls grease ones palms the magazine as they know it will provide pleasure and entropy f or them, and on the other hand it is suggested that smart girls (the attractive More reader) get more out of life, love, and, most importantly, sex. Reading More will better your life on many levels, if you listen to the advice offered within the magazine. The tagline adopted by More is therefore effective as the modern British teenage girl will construe an appropriate interpretation that will give them the urge to buy the product. Both 19 and More lso attempt to attract their readers by placing a distaff character in the centre of the cover. This is a particularly interesting characteristic if we are to consider that corresponding potent magazines similarly adopt central fe manly models, either posing seductively or like the typical girl-next-door, on their covers. It could indeed be argued that one could successfully (and with minimal disruption) take the models from the covers of More and 19 and place them on a magazine such as FHM that adheres to its own set of generic wine codes and conventions and encourages very different interpretations from its reader.According to Bignell, the images of beautiful women on the covers of fe phallic magazines are iconic signs which represent the better self which every woman desires to become (Bignell 1997 69). The figure thus represents the self for the reader, a future image that is come-at-able for her if she continues reading and learning from the magazine. On a male magazine tho the resembling figure would represent a sexual image, an object to be attained by the male reader. It becomes evident therefore that men look at women.Women watch themselves being looked at Thus she turns herself into an object and most particularly, and object of vision a sight (Berger in Vestergaard & Schroder 1992 81). This is a somewhat negative interpretation of the centrality of women on the covers of magazines. However, Bignell sees that while the cover image is for a woman to look at, it is constructed with reference to a wi der social code in which being feminine means taking pleasure in tone at oneself, and taking pleasure in being looked at by men (my italics, Bignell 1997 71).Bignell therefore seems to empower the woman in his analysis of cover models, noting that women simultaneously enjoy looking and being looked at. The genre (or textual code) in which the image appears is therefore a fundamental contributor to the construed interpretations made by the reader. As stated above, the model on the cover of a pistillate teenage magazine represents the self for the reader. The models seen on the given issues of 19 and More therefore seem to illustrate the characteristics of their targeted readers.The model seen on the cover of 19 is the typicalblonde hairsbreadthed, tanned, tall and slim girl with perfect complexion and perfect features. exactly the reader is not led to feel envious of the model on the contrary, she is encouraged to believe that this is an ordinary 19 reader (on the inside cover she is identified simply as Emily), and is the beautiful woman inside each of us, waiting to be unleashed (and reading 19 willunleash this beauty from within the reader). The spangle necklace connotes luxury and sophistication, and the sequined boob tube connotes a fun, bubbly nature and draws attention to her slim body (her sex appeal).With her long blond hair flowing gently away from her face to reveal dazzling chiliad eyes (ironically in this context, green traditionally being associated with the colour of envy), she can be seen as iconic for the reader (in the non-semiotic sense), and as seductive for the male reader. She embodies the message that 19 habitually transcribe to the reader look barren and beautiful and yet be in control of your own sex and your relationships. On the cover of More the character again embodies the self for the reader. She represents the more ethos of youthful, cheeky impertinence (in Curran 1996 189) Her red, low-cut dress suggests that she is sa ssy a harpy eagle that has sexual needs and is not afraid to fulfil them. Again, the clear peel and perfect features encourage the reader to believe that there is an inner-beauty within everyone that will shine through. However, the More model does not appear as acquitted as the 19 model.Her hair is swept more vigorously from her face and therefore creates a more disrupted, chaotic image than the previous. The innocence picture by the clear complexion of the 19 model is challenged here as the More odel raises her eyebrow into an arch she has a glint in her eye and pouts her lips proudly. As we notice the presence of a man in the left hand side of the front cover, we therefore interpret this facial expression as sexual prowess this girl knows what she wants and she knows exactly how to get it. The male figure is not personalised indeed we only see a leg, an arm and a crotch and yet we are fully alert of the masculinity of the character. This could suggest that, in subversion to the representation offered within male magazines, the man is the sexual object here.It is also significant that the male is exhausting a kilt as it could suggest that the female is metaphorically wearing the trousers in the relationship. This interpretation would only become apparent if the reader was accustomed with the relevant social codes and textual codes of gendered magazines. If the reader is familiar with popular culture however, they could hit the man in the kilt to be the actor pack Redmond who portrays Finn in Hollyoaks (a half-Scottish Lord) and therefore presume that there is an in-depth interview with him in the magazine this is suggested by the text at the top of the magazine cover Finn-tasticWe Check out James Redmonds Morning Glory. By analysing the title, tagline, and central images of the magazine cover, we have therefore deduced the readership and content of the magazines effectively. As McRobbie notes, sex now fills the space of the magazines pages. It pro vides the frame for womens magazines in the 1990s and marks a new moment in the construction of female sexual identities (in Curran 1996 177). It is worrying to think that the explicit sexual representations within the magazines (such as More s Raunchy resolutions to spice up your sex life) are being read by underage teenagers sex has een encase as a commodity (McLaughlin 200 13) by these magazines in recent years and the young readers have eagerly jumped at the chance to buy such (what was previously) censored material. Indeed, fifty years ago the teenage magazine industry differed greatly to that of today.According to Vestergaard we have seen a shift from maternalism and childcare to the maintenance of physical appearance (Vestergaard & Schroder 1992 81) (in the discussed examples, we see Be your own stylist steal insider know-how from the women who dress the stars on the cover of 19, and on More Happy New Gear what every glam girl will be wearing this season). Dr Nancy Signio relli of the University of Delaware undertook a study on A commission on Appearance in the media in November 1996, and she found that one in three (37%) articles in leading teen girl magazines included a focus on appearance, one in three (35%) focused on dating and less than 2% discussed either school or careers (websources Kellner and ChildrenNow).This is certainly reflected on the front covers analysed above every feature on the covers refer to beauty, fashion, dating, sex and celebrities. Kimberley Phillips argues that these magazines therefore reinforce the cultural expectations that an adolescent woman should be more concerned with her appearance, her relations with other people, and her ability to win cheers from men than with her own ideas or expectations for herself (websource Hermes).It can also be argued however that young women are encouraged to develop independence by these magazines. In recent years the magazine industry has therefore successfully wide the notion of what it is to be a woman. A teenage girl will see hunting boyfriends and beautifying as a norm it is argued indeed that these are transcribed as their sole purposes in life. The magazines do not seem to cater for minority interests such as politics, environmental issues, or any kind of music that ventures beyond Westlife or Britney Spears.The teenage girl has therefore been heavily stereotyped by the teenage magazine industry, and her interpretation of the codes and conventions used in the magazine will depend on her personal knowledge of this culture and society. Indeed, some of the readers of these magazines are male (e. g. the brothers or boyfriends of the female readers Bignell refers to these as non-ideal readers (Bignell 1997 58)), and they will interpret the codes differently to their female counterparts as they arguably do not share their interests in beauty products and fashion.Their interpretations of the sex issues may also differ, as they will gaze at the images of wom en as sex objects as opposed to icons and role models. Chandler sees that social semiotics alerts us to how the same text may generate different meanings for different readers (web source, Semiotics for Beginners), and this is certainly true of the gendered readings of teenage magazines. Chandler further notes that the signs (or codes) within the text do not just convey meanings, but constitute a medium in which meanings are constructed (ibid).Through reading a magazine aimed at her demographic group, a teenage girl will therefore come to learn that society expects her to be interested in boys, sex, fashion, beauty and fame. The magazine is therefore a mesomorphic ideological force in society (McRobbie 2000 69) the image and behavioural ideologies presented within the magazine covers become the stereotypical norm for the teenage girl. Applying semiotic analysis to the magazine text therefore allows us to identify social ideologies of the teenage girl.One could analyse the front cov ers of magazine extensively, decoding the codes of colour, font, layout and spatial arrangements as well as the titles, taglines, language and central images to show the construction of the teenage girl in the media. Teenage magazines may not provide an raw accurate representation of all teenage girls today, but it is certainly a medium that provides escapism and enjoyment for the reader whilst subliminally educating and informing at the same time.