How Healthy are Health Magazines? A Comparative Content Analysis of Cover Captions and Images of Women ’ s and Men ’ s Health Magazine

Abstract The current study investigated how “health” messages are marketed to men and women on the newsstand covers of two magazines published under the same brand name and by the same company in the United States (Rodale, Incorporated). Fifty-four covers of Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazine, published between 2006 and 2011, were content analyzed. All captions were coded for message theme, and prominent captions (the caption that covered the greatest amount of surface area on the page) were categorized for type of frame used. The number of objectifying phrases (phrases emphasizing the human body as an object for observation rather than a body with capabilities) used within prominent captions on covers was quantified. Cover portrait images were also assessed for whether models were partially or fully clothed. Findings demonstrated that Men’s and Women’s Health were equally likely to display objectifying statements on their covers, but Women’s Health covers promoted more feminine beauty/thin-ideal messages than Men’s Health covers; whereas Men’s Health covers promoted muscularity more than Women’s Health covers. None of the prominent captions were categorized as reflecting health-related frames for either magazine type. Overall, cover captions fit traditional gender-role stereotypes. Implications are discussed.
Source: Sex Roles - Category: Global & Universal Source Type: research

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