Commentary: Cosmopolitan vs. L’Officiel Hommes Nov. 2013

Big Bang TOP - L’Officiel Hommes Magazine November Issue ‘13
TOP randomly in bed?...
I find the differences in magazine spreads interesting. Many of these differences depend on the targeted audiences of the magazines (women and men). Let's take a look at November's magazine spreads in order to examine if there are differences between femme and homme magazines, and how those differences matter.

Part I: Cosmopolitan Pictures
Clockwise, starting at top left: Lee Hyori, Lee Hyori, SNSD's Tiffany, SNSD's Yuri
Cosmopolitan's marketing strategy is obvious: "Sex Sells". But that does not mean that they are completely unreasonable. In fact, to me it seems Korean Cosmo is a lot more wholesome than American Cosmo. The girls are even dressed for the season; all of them sport long sleeves and tights,with the exception of Yuri, because we can't see what she's wearing. Tiffany barely looks sexualized at all; she's even, gasp, actually sitting on the chair. Obviously, Lee Hyori's undergarment-special is not an everyday look, but it fits her image as a thirty-something in the Korean entertainment industry, and I have a feeling she did not oppose to the image. I could be wrong, but Lee Hyori seems like the type of woman who sticks up for herself.  Having said all that, I don't understand the bed in Image Two, but I guess magazines in general have weird props. 

Overall, I think it is clear that Cosmo likes to sexualize women, but it is not to the extreme that I feel uncomfortable looking at the images. I think all the girls look hot, and maybe it's a little post-feminist, but the girls look in control of their sexual prowess. I will say Yuri's image is a little too voyueristic for my taste, but the magazine does not seem as degrading as I expected it to be.

Part II: L’Officiel Hommes Pictures & How They Relate to Cosmo
All pictures feature Big Bang's TOP.
TOP is a sex object in a different way than the girls are in Cosmo. Instead of the reader scophophiliatically viewing him (like they do to the girls within the Cosmo images), TOP represents a fetishization of the classy, upper-class, man. Instead of looking at his body as the source of pleasure, we look at his clothes and demeanor. The neutral tones and masculine props (e.g. the leather chair, and faux-cigar flower) add to his image as a capable, idealized man. I'm not complaining. Call me a misandrist, but I like looking at TOP looking hot. His jawbones and suits entice me. I only wish he didn't look quite so condescending or supercilious in his poses; the arched eyebrows in Image One, the 'smoking' Image Two, the casual pose in Image Three, and the too-cool-for-school glasses in Image Four all add to a Mr. Darcy-esque mien.

I think for both magazines, the images represent a goal for the readers. The more women-focused Cosmopolitan, and the more men-focused, L'Offifiel Hommes, both have their targeted gender as the models. I think then that the poses and styles of the spreads are dictated by the gender's view of its worth: for women, it's in their body and sex appeal, for men it's in how they carry themselves. Both magazines show attractiveness, just through different ways. So it's not expected for a femme magazine and a homme magazine to have the same spreads.

 What are your thoughts (on the pictures or my comments)? Want more articles like this?
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Im cr.,
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