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Women magazines form an important communication media for the women’s population. The magazines inform and educate women by reaching them at a level that is specific to women communication. There are numerous women magazines in the United States and each of them reaches its audience in a unique manner. This paper makes a brief comparison of the Ms. Magazine feminist magazine and the Cosmopolitan women magazine. The two are popular women magazines that reach out to women, but in different styles and with different content. Focus in this analysis will be specifically directed towards the 2012 Spring/Summer issue of Ms. Magazine, which will be compared with the October issue of Cosmopolitan/Cosmo.
Firstly, Ms. Magazine stands out as a feminist magazine published with the sole aim of empowering women by educating them about their rights, finances, legal issues and the activism in feminism. This element also seems to determine the kind of pictures and images that feature on its covers. For example, the issue analyzed had the image of Sandra Kay Fluke. Sandra is a Georgetown Law School Alumni that features popularly as a women’s rights activist (Ms. Magazine, 2012). In essence, the magazine seems to present heroines that champion the cause of feminism. The magazine also features few advertisements and images on its cover page. The cover page is plain and simple with only the cover image and a few titles of articles within the magazine. On the other hand, Cosmo features big colorful writings about the content and a brightly colored cover page featuring a model - just like most other Cosmo issues do. The issue under highlight features Zooey Claire Deschanel - a model, actress, musician and song writer (Cosmopolitan, 2012). Unlike the image of Sandra that shows a modestly dressed woman, Zooey’s image shows a skimpily dressed woman with a short dress exposing much of her body. This greatly contrasts Ms. Magazine’s portrayal of women. This also expresses the interests of Cosmo as publication meant to promote women’s beauty, appearance, self improvement, health and sex. Notably, Cosmo features more advertisements than Ms. Magazine. Additionally, the advertisements differ in terms of what they advertise, Cosmo features more health and beauty related advertisements. However, Ms. Magazine features job advertisements as well as other products such as books and financial services.
In terms of content, Ms. Magazine greatly features topical issues about women such as politics, legal issues, feminism and respect for women’s rights as well as their empowerment. It is a tool that calls for the respect of women’s bodies and rights, which are commonly violated through violence, sexual abuse and commoditization in commercial ventures. On the other hand, Cosmo deals with issues that relate to women’s sexual life, beauty, health, female celebrities, fashion and self improvement. In essence the two magazines reach women at two different levels and with different content, which satisfies different needs of women.
The two magazines convey the same messages in two different ways. One empowers women and seeks to elevate their status through seeking equality, power and control through legal means, political fronts and activism. The other seeks to elevate and improve women by helping them improve their health, sexual life and beauty. However, Ms. Magazine is quite different because it asserts the place of the female gender. On the contrary, Cosmo seems to show a woman as an imperfect being that has to struggle to please the male gender and perfect many imperfections in her life on beauty, sex and many other aspects of their lives. Therefore, while one magazine conveys the message of strength and ability to women, the other conveys insufficiencies and shortcomings that need to be improved in terms of beauty, health and sexual lives. This is clearly evident in Cosmo, which greatly features articles on sex, health and beauty. The great difference in content can be grasped from the difference in article titles. Examples of article titles under Cosmo include “78 Sex Facts: They knock your panties off,” “4 Steps to a Sexy Ass” and “Discover your guy’s undercover erogenous zones” (Cosmopolitan, 2012). Examples article titles under Ms. include “Fighting the war on women,” “For the price of a pad,” “Game changer” and “Court-Martialing the Military” (Ms. Magazine, 2012). These titles clearly show the difference between the magazines.