Analyzing Magazines

  • Category: Psychology
  • Words: 1615
  • Grade: 80
Analyzing Magazines
Over the years, the way we talk about communication in romantic relationships has changed dramatically. In the past, what was talked about in a personal relationship remained in the privacy of that personal relationship. Couples rarely discussed or shared what went on in the relationship with other people. With this lack of information about communication in relationships, there was little said about them. Most relationships were assumed to be plain, ordinary, old-fashioned, and no problem relationships. Luckily, today couples talk about their communication in romantic relationships very openly; therefore, we have a pretty good understanding about what is talked about among them, and they are not so customary after all. All of these understandings have been published in numerous books, newspapers, and especially in magazines. Most of the magazines that contain the love and relationship articles are either male-oriented or female-oriented magazines. In order to further understand the communication in romantic relationships, we read a couple articles out of female-oriented magazines as well as several articles out of male-oriented magazines. After reading articles from Cosmopolitan, Glamour, GQ, Maxim, and Penthouse, we have come to the conclusion that there are vast differences between female-targeted magazines and male targeted magazines.
        Female and male oriented magazines possess contrasting views on their beliefs of the keys to a successful relationship. According to Glamour, a popular women's magazine, women feel that self-disclosure is a significant factor in maintaining a healthy relationship. "Sharing the things that have happened to you "“ things you felt, observed, hoped for or achieved"”is one of the most obvious ways to become (or remain) close to your partner" (Carlson 232). In opposition, according to male-targeted magazines, men are mostly concerned with the physical aspects of the relationship. Going out, participating in various physical activities, hanging out with friends and sex are most important while emotional activities and long personal discussions are less significant to men. Men believe a "good" relationship is based on pleasurable sex alone. Men love with their eyes and women love with their ears (Sacks 129).
        With the obvious differences men and women have on how to build and maintain the ideal relationship, tensions and conflicts are inevitable. These relational dialects must be controlled. "If you allow your little tiffs to turn into an evil match of put downs and accusations, it can seriously injure a relationship or even knock it out cold" (Carlson 232). "Do not let spats turn into a daily occurrence. Once they do, you are not resolving the issue, you are just caught up in a gripe cycle that goes nowhere" (White 130). Women believe that a lack of intimacy is the major sign of a relationship in trouble. They also believe a relationship is in danger if they have any suspicions of infidelity or believe that they can no longer trust their partner. Maxim magazine never mentions verbal communication or lack of honesty and trust as a sign of a relationship in trouble.
        According to female oriented magazines and male oriented magazines, the ways in which men and women communicate differs immensely. Maxim magazine states women speak largely by their actions. The magazine talks about how men pick up on the signals their partners give, such as attitude, lack of sex, the silent treatment, and the cold shoulder. Men believe that women communicate by trying to make them someone they are not.
But through the consistent application of a variety of hard and soft mental torture techniques, your woman took you from the shapeless, tasteless, lump of clay she met at the bar that night and molded you into the classy well-dressed productive member of society you are today (Sacks 129).
Maxim also states that after the woman has molded him into what she wants him to be, she is able to get through to him by nagging, arguing, lying, wheedling, and threatening to get her way. Men feel that women tie them down with manipulative tactics and bribe them with sex. However, women have a completely different take on the way they communicate in a relationship. According to Cosmopolitan, women do not believe their tactics are manipulative, but rather women use these tactics to convey to their partners how much they care about them. These tactics are also used as a source of security for women, used to test the trustworthiness as well as the amount of love their partner has for them.
        Despite the ways women supposedly communicate, the magazines also discuss ways in which women should communicate. First and foremost, "any man loves it when a woman pampers him" (White 142). This is implying that men love to be treated as if they have some type of superiority. This impression comes from past times when women were expected to do everything for their men. Men expected their wives to wait on them hand and foot and to cater to their every need. This type of behavior is not accepted in the American culture, yet men still crave this. Glamour says another way a female should communicate with her partner is by telling him how much she loves him. "When you feel love for your man, tell him. When something bothers you, share that too. Just do not do both in the same breath. Your compliments and concerns will be taken more seriously" (Carlson 231).
        According to the magazines appealing to males, men's communication skills differ greatly than those of women. While women are more open with their feelings, men do not use as much verbal communication. They communicate through affection, or lack thereof. When angry or upset with their partner, men tend to avoid confrontations; they dodge phone calls and visits. All types of communication are neglected. Maxim states that men frequently lie to their partners. These lies consist of stories one should tell his partner to cover up certain mishaps such as affairs, Internal Revenue Service problems, or previous romantic history. Despite the lies that some men occasionally tell, there are always a few exceptions. Men's magazines advise most men to create better communication in a relationship by simply talking to their lovers; even telling them about things or events that women do not even care to hear, just to make them believe that men communicate. Women-oriented magazines tell readers to reach beyond the realm of simple words and communicate by actions, automatically assuming that verbal communication is evident. Most women's magazines always revert back to sex when talking about communication, even about communication during sex. A few headlines in women's magazines tell women that by communicating in a certain way with their lover, they can have the type of sex they want; for example, "The Sex You Want, and How to Get It" (Marie Claire).
A few men's magazines, notably Men's Fitness, have started running sex advice stories. But most male magazine buyers seem to prefer looking at pictures of naked women to reading about how to drive them wild. Meanwhile, women seem to prefer reading sex tips to gazing at naked men. What does this say about gender differences? Does this say that men are more visual and women more verbal? Does this say that women care more about pleasing their partners than men do? Both? Neither?
        Aside from the differences between men and women based magazines, one similarity is the repetition and use of article information and headlines. In men's magazines, such as Maxim, articles consist of information and advice that can be helpful to pleasing a woman. Some of this information is copied, reprinted, and re-read to redeliver the same message in a different context. Magazines learn from other magazines and profit from the success of an opponent by printing the same successful article that has been edited for plagiarism. Glamour printed "Sexual Confidence: Bold Moves to Make Tonight," while Mademoiselle printed "What Men Really Want: 10 Ways to Drive Him Wild," and Mirabella printed "The Politically Incorrect Orgasm," and Brides printed "A Groom's Guide to Wedding-Night Sex." Even Ladies' Home Journal, which used to be a journal for ladies who wouldn't allow this kind of thing in their homes, has gotten into the act with stories like "The Best Sex of Your Life"”Starting Now." Do women really manage to discover hot new ways to do it every month? The obvious answer is no. There is a lot of repetition. The same hot tips are recycled continually. Readers learn quite a bit about the erotic power of scented candles, sexy lingerie, romantic music and midweek vacations at a local hotel, all by picking up a woman's magazine.
        There are many similarities as well as differences between men-based magazines and women-based magazines. Female and male-oriented magazines possess contrasting views on their beliefs of the keys to a successful relationship. Magazines indicate that men are mostly concerned with the physical aspects of the relationship, while women are more concerned with self-disclosure as a significant factor in maintaining a healthy relationship. Also shown is that the ways in which men and women communicate differs immensely, and that the "tactics" used by women are perceived differently by men and women. Communication is a huge part of a healthy relationship and the cultural values produced in popular magazines about communications in romantic relationships differ, but are mostly the same. The different methods and topics within the two different types of magazines vary greatly; however, they both generally enable readers to learn how to communicate better with their loved ones and to learn what makes their lovers happy.

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