Sex Roles

, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 647-655

First online:

Women and Weight: Gendered Messages on Magazine Covers

  • Amy R. Malkin
  • , Kimberlie Wornian
  • , Joan C. Chrisler

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In this content analysis, the covers of 21popular women's and men's magazines were examined forgendered messages related to bodily appearance. Magazinecovers were divided according to gender of readers and each cover was reviewed using a checklistdesigned to analyze visual images and text as well asthe placement of each on the covers. Analyses showedthat 78% of the covers of the women's magazinescontained a message regarding bodily appearance, whereasnone of the covers of the men's magazines did so.Twenty-five percent of the women's magazine coverscontained conflicting messages regarding weightloss and dietary habits.In addition, the positioning ofweight-related messages on the covers often implied thatlosing weight may lead to a better life. Men's magazinesfocus on providing entertainment and expanding knowledge, hobbies, and activities; women'smagazines continue to focus on improving one's life bychanging one's appearance.