Glamour…At It’s Finest?

When I see the word “glamour” I know that there is a certain enchanting quality, an untouchable magic, that I should take notice of.  I know that whatever or whoever is crowned with this word is something special, something I should be fascinated by.  I want to surround myself by “glamour.”  I want to somehow attain it for myself.  If my response to the word “glamour” is typical, then the publishers at Glamour magazine have done their job well.

I looked at my newly purchased magazine with mixed feelings. From the title of the magazine I thought I’d like it.  I was going to learn about glamour.  Later, after a cursory glance through this issue, I wanted to know who thought I wanted stories like:  “The Ultimate Acne Smack-Down” and “Save $$$ and Still Go Shopping”.  I found myself wondering, “Is this what glamour is about?”

Later on, I looked at Glamour’s website.  It is filled with “important” bits of information and advice about how every woman should look and act.  Looking at all of this information something struck me.  I could find countless articles and advice on “how to get my man in bed” or “makeup that matches my bubbly personality,” yet I could barely find anything about the makers of the magazine itself.  I could scroll down to the very bottom of the page and find out that the magazine is a Condé Nast creation, but I couldn’t find a media kit, leaving me to wonder who the publishers of Glamour magazine are trying to reach.

Upon doing a bit more research outside of Glamour’s site, I found that Glamour was founded in 1939 and that the people who own the company Condé Nast is the Newhouse family.  I also found out that Condé Nast International owns 126 magazines such as GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue and The New Yorker, along with 104 websites that mass market these publications and more and that Condé Nast is a subdivision of Advance Publications Inc.

The majority of Condé Nast’s publications are directed towards the female sex, advertising make-up, fashion, and ways in which you can “please your man.”  The magazine, Glamour, fits perfectly into Condé Nast’s demographic target. Condé Nast focuses on the publication of Lifestyle magazines.  These are magazines that influence a particular class or interest, a demassified readership.

Upon looking at the cover of the April 2012 issue of Glamour I saw Jennifer Lawrence, leading heroin in the new movie the Hunger Games.  In the movie Lawrence is the very epitome of a hero, however, on the cover of this issue of Glamour she is decked out in a gold sequined top and tight, white jeans.  Lawrence is in a pose that emphasizes her breasts and cleavage with her mouth partly open as if whispering some secret.  Her hair is blown out and her face is flawless in pink makeup.  To the right of Lawrence are titles such as “Sexy Hair Ideas,” “101 Cute Spring Outfits” and “More Fun In Bed- The Old School Sex Trick You Should Try Again.”

Due to this cover I suspected that the majority of the readership, Glamour’s main goal audience, is essentially female women who are in their twenties to early forties.  When looking at Glamour’s media kit (yes, I finally found it,) I discovered that my suspicions were correct.  Glamour’s ideal readership is 18-49 years old, 78% female and 52% are single.  80% of its readership attended a college and 81% are employed making about $80,013 annually.

I flipped through the magazine and found that I had to look through the first 21 advertisement filled pages of Glamour in order to find the table of contents on page 22.  The list of articles ranged from advice about beauty to advice about sex.  The advertising that filled the first 21 pages and the rest of Glamour were advertisements selling clothes, make- up, and skincare regimens.  This led me to believe that the readership of this magazine is very focused on appearances and, ultimately, how men view them.  I could surmise from it’s articles that Glamour’s readers want a monogamous relationship with an attractive male and they worry the only way they’ll get that is being attractive themselves, hence the ads for make-up, clothes and creams for younger looking skin.

Glamour’s main message to its readers is that a woman must be an effortless beauty queen in order to be loved.  Glamour’s main purpose is to make women look and feel beautiful.  Yet the women who appear in the magazine are of very limited ethnicities and body shapes.  This could have a negative effect on women who are not 6 feet tall and weigh less than 150 pounds.  Glamour is stuck in an interesting double standard.  On one hand they are saying be strong like the heroine in the Hunger Games and yet, on the other hand, Glamour is also proposing the idea that women must ensnare men with superficial appearance and behavior.

While doing research I found out that Glamour was originally called “Glamour of Hollywood.”  The magazine promised a “Hollywood way to fashion, beauty and charm” [Article world].  Now Glamour promises “luxury consumer[s] with inspirational and accessible style and shopping ideas.” Summarizing the content, the magazine contains coverage of current events related to beauty, fashion, health and relationships, yet never mentions women’s issues, work, money and law. Glamour reaches 1,411,061 readers in the United States alone and, with newsstand distribution a little over 986,447, Glamour is reaching over 2,300,000 women.  With this many readers Glamour is obviously doing something right.  Yet it is doing something very wrong too.  Glamour is showing women what we should aspire to be like.  Glamour says through it’s cover girls and articles that we, as Glamour’s target audience, should want to be flawless every second of the day.

In this day and age magazines and other print media a floundering.  Today’s newspapers are even becoming less frequent, less hard-hitting and overall, less popular.  However scary this may be for some print media, I believe Glamour has nothing to fear.  Glamour is entering the digital world, as the expression goes, guns loaded.  Glamour already has a very efficient website where onlookers can digitally flip through pages to find out the newest in “glamorous” news.  Onlooker’s can use the websites search engine or look at one of the articles shown in bold or even scroll through articles sorted by main topics such as, weddings, fashion and sex/love.  The website features links to shop, subscribe and to publicize the site and magazine via various other digital websites.  Glamour.com is certainly keeping up with the digital times, by showing ways in which a person can link stories or pictures from the Glamour website to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Foursquare.  An example of how effective Glamour’s digital tactics are is shown proudly on the sidebar of the website: 726,517 “likes” on Facebook.

We should want to wake up with perfect makeup on our faces, waking next to the boyfriend of our dreams.  We should want the modern fairy tale story, beginning, middle and end.  We should want this because Glamour, with all its prestige, tells us that we not only want this, we need this.  Why, because that is the only way to be truly glamorous.

 

 

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