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An investigation into the difference between male and female orientated magazine articles.

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Introduction

English Language Investigation An investigation into the difference between male and female orientated magazine articles. For my investigation I decided to take stories sent in by readers to the magazines FHM and Cosmopolitan. FHM is aimed at men aged around 16 to 30, while Cosmopolitan is aimed at women of the same age. I thought it would be interesting to look at the differences between the two formats because I read FHM quite a lot, and some female friends of mine read Cosmopolitan, and I have often wondered what and how many differences and indeed similarities there are between the two magazines. I was also interested in the different ways similar topics were portrayed for the two different sexes. It helps me understand some of the language and gender issues I dealt with last year in English Language, and that is why I chose a stories page, it tells me more about the people who actually read the magazines than the people who write them. The stories I hoped would reflect the people who wrote them, and therefore the people who bought and read the magazines. It is also interesting for me because I want to become a magazine journalist when I leave university. Doing this investigation allows me to take a more in-depth look at what kind of people enjoy these kinds of magazines, and also it gives me a chance to look at the way these types of articles are presented in magazines, looking at things such as layout. I aim to find differences between the subject matter of the letters, the lexis used by the writers, the differences in grammar, the layout of the letters pages in the magazines and the general tenor of the stories. I also aim to reach a conclusion as to what kind of people read the different magazines. I expect to find variances in the tenor of the articles, with the male orientated ones out of FHM maybe being more humorous than the female orientated ones from Cosmopolitan. ...read more.

Middle

It uses two whole sentences containing a number of phrases and subordinate clauses. The language here is more simple, with the title being: "How Love Survived Disaster". With "Love Survived" in a different colour to make it stand out more. This is simple and effective, telling you what the story is about - love surviving a disaster - and also encouraging you to keep on reading to find out what it is about. The sub-title goes into a little more depth, and after giving you personal details it gives you a little taster of the story: "...a near-fatal climbing accident changed everything but their [the man and woman involved's] feelings for each other". The sentence is simple but effective enough at telling you what the story is about. It is easy to read, and purposefully so - the words are short and obvious unlike the longer more complex and obsolete words used in FHM - "Lothario" and "Gaseous Escape", which is more subtle than "womanizer" and "fart". This is because it is meant to be funny, and "Gaseous Escape Captured" is much funnier than "Fart Captured". Both articles use a lot of personal pronouns to tell the story to the reader - they are all written in first person, describing events that happened to the reader. This is not uncommon, as stories about the author are generally always written in first person. All the stories here are about the author and something which has happened to them, not someone else. The stories are also structured chronologically - and especially in the Cosmopolitan story the woman almost always gives a time adverbial at the beginning of a paragraph, such as: "Three days after", "That night", "The next morning", and "During the day". These are used to set the time period for each scene, and also helps you read it - you never wonder when something is happening in relation to something else. ...read more.

Conclusion

An example of this is: ""You do realise that 98 per cent of relationships fail under these circumstances", a social worker told me". She quotes the exact words spoken, or at least as close as she remembers them. This use of direct speech enhances the story by making it seem as if the reader is reading about someone's experiences in a more intimate way, as if it had been recorded word by word. This is typical of the aims of the Cosmopolitan story, it attempts to draw the reader in to its world and let them experience events in the story in their imagination almost first-hand. The articles also both have very differing levels of formality. The FHM article is very informal, while the Cosmopolitan article is much more formal. This is due to the tone of the two different stories - a formal style of writing would be inappropriate for the FHM article whereas an informal style would likewise not sound right in the serious Cosmopolitan article. The language definitely reflects this. This is related to the basic tenor of the articles. As I stated in my hypothesis I expected this. The FHM article therefore uses phrases like: "The thermal display from my fart", and "freezing my arse off". These slangy informal descriptions are very suitable for the FHM stories but hardly sensible for the Cosmopolitan story. Overall the articles conform closely with my hypothesis. The variances in the tenor were often and obvious. The male stories also conformed to my hypothesis in that they were competing as an incentive to win a prize, whereas the woman was not. The subject matters also matched my hypothesis. The male stories use mostly a different style of writing to the female articles, and indeed these contribute to them having very different effects on the reader. I think that my investigation has been a success. I have proved many of my hypotheses and my aim has been met. There is a large difference in male and female orientated magazine articles, in both style and substance. 3123 words Antony Lockett 6 J30 Antony Lockett 1 J30 ...read more.

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