The Visual Presentation of Beauty: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Ads in Cosmopolitan

By Gülcan Şener.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

What is beautiful? We can easily say that everyone has a description for beauty, but it changes from culture to culture. There is no universal definition for what beautiful is. Although some social scientists have proposed the existence of innate reactions to selected aspects of appearence (Berry and McArthur, 1985; Cunningham, 1981), the cultural relativity of beauty norms, as well as their fluidity over time, suggests that answers to the question “What is beautiful?” are culturally constituted as a result of common socialization experiences (Banner, 1983).
In today’s advertised world, every kind of product tries to persuade the consumers by saying, “You can be beautiful, if you buy this brand!” Advertisements offer us a unique opportunity to study the construction of beauty in a culture because advertisers are notorious for promoting a “beauty ideal” (Greer, 1999).
Cosmopolitan which is an important lifestyle magazine both in Turkey and the world, has a big circulation within women’s magazines. It strives to transmit to its readers an ideal beauty definition. Although Cosmopolitan has a global message for beauty, ads in it vary from country to country. There are generally national ads in it, so we can understand the beauty norms of countries by their ads. Based on the eight beauty types identified by Englis, Solomon and Ashmore(1994), advertisements from Cosmopolitan in Turkey, Spain, Italy and United Kingdom will be content-analyzed and compared according to the visual presentation of beauty in magazine ads.

Keywords: Magazine Ads, Presentation of Beauty

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 12, pp.115-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 980.690KB).

Gülcan Şener

Research Assistant, Faculty of Communication Sciences, Anadolu University, Eskişehir, Turkey

Gülcan Şener, was born in Bilecik-Turkey on 26.03.1981. She graduated from high school (Hoca Ahmed Yesevi High School) in 1999 and attended Anadolu University, Faculty of Communication Sciences, Department of Advertising and Public Relations. After she graduated from Communication Sciences Faculty in 2003, she joined the Anadolu University Graduate School of Social Sciences. She continues in the PhD program in the Advertising and Public Relations Department. She has been working in the Communication Sciences Faculty as a research assistant since 2008.


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