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Author Topic: 16 Vs. Maxim
Glenn Arnold
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This thread is about self image, and particularly about anorexia. As a middle school teacher, I hear a lot of girls complaining about being fat, when they have no business doing so. Some of them may be truly anorexic, although I have no business making such a diagnosis.

But I've noticed lately these two types of magazines at the newsstand. There's YM, 16, 17, or whatever, marketed to young girls. All the models are pencil thin, and unhealthy looking. On the other hand, there's Maxim, and a host of other gateway pornography magazines, aimed at teenage boys, and featuring extremely buxom women. These models are curvy and soft-featured.

The thing that gets me is that young girls are being sold an unhealthy thin image, while it's pretty obvious that boys prefer some meat on the bones. Seems like girls would be better off reading the boys magazines if they wanted to know how to be attractive, and over all, the image is healthier.

Comments?

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Synesthesia
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I just think men's magazines are more interesting.
They tend to talk about stuff I like more, like video games and rock and roll. Not like Women's magazines.
Also they are not pink. I hate pink.
Perhaps they would be useful for knowing what the average boy likes or something, I don't know. Gender based magazines tend to frustrate me.

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Tante Shvester
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
Seems like girls would be better off reading the boys magazines if they wanted to know how to be attractive, and over all, the image is healthier.

Yeah, that's great advice. [Roll Eyes]

"Now, girls, if you are interested in learning how to be seen as an object for men's pleasure, may I direct you to some pornography for your edification."

Glenn, you are usually on the ball, but in this, you are off the wall.

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Euripides
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That's an interesting observation. I don't read the magazines aimed at my age group because I'm not interested in cars (except Aston Martins) or sports; but I'm inclined to agree with you based on a quick mental snapshot of my local bookstore's magazine rack.

To be honest I never fully understood why girls' magazines had photos of women on their covers. Shouldn't there be 'coverboys'?

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breyerchic04
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Glen, I'm going to go get a copy of Maxim tommorow and try to compare.
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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Tante Shvester:

"Now, girls, if you are interested in learning how to be seen as an object for men's pleasure, may I direct you to some pornography for your edification."

Glenn, you are usually on the ball, but in this, you are off the wall.

I wouldn't exactly call Maxim pornography. Nor do I think it's a bad idea for girls to learn how to be seen as an object for men's pleasure. (They should also learn other things, like nuclear physics, racquetball, and playwriting.) I think in this case Glenn is indeed on the ball.
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quidscribis
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Do you think it's a good idea for boys to learn how to be seen as an object for women's pleasure?
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breyerchic04
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I do.
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Mucus
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Yes.
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monteverdi
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Glenn, Mike,


I feel sorry for you and your tired right hands (assuming you're right handed!)

One day, in some obscure future, if you meet a living woman, may you regret your foolish remarks!

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PSI Teleport
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Well, for starters there's a difference between a fashion magazine and a "men's interest" magazine. Fashion magazines in general have things that women like, and tend to be aimed at women, but the anorexically thin women are in there not necessarily because they are more attractive to anyone (certainly not me) but because they sell clothes/accessories/whatever. Their looks are attention-getting, etc. It's sad that girls pick women like that as their physical role models, and I don't think that fashion magazines have done anywhere near as much as they should to help girls know the difference between an "attractive female" and someone that is essentially a walking mannequin.

I wonder if part of the reason girls want to look like fashion models is not just because they think they are beautiful, but because being a model seems to be the most glamorous life that a young woman can lead. Similar to boys wanting to be basketball stars.

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breyerchic04
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quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:

I wonder if part of the reason girls want to look like fashion models is not just because they think they are beautiful, but because being a model seems to be the most glamorous life that a young woman can lead. Similar to boys wanting to be basketball stars.

Definitely
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Valentine014
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quote:
The thing that gets me is that young girls are being sold an unhealthy thin image, while it's pretty obvious that boys prefer some meat on the bones.
Is it obvious? Tell that to the millions of men who are downloading images of girls. Yes, thin ones who have hips like boys. You are jumping to conclusions. You may enjoy looking at curvy girls, but you can't speak for the majority of men.

For the record, I love Maxim. It is a good magazine with witty, creative writing. Sure, some articles don't appeal to me, but no more than other magazines. I would read Maxim over Cosmo any day.

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Rakeesh
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Heck, I'd say that Maxim has pornographic elements, but might not be pornography if that makes sense.

Kind of like how Fight Club was not pornography, yet had undeniable pornographic elements. Have you read it? Some of the writing and most of the modeling in Maxim at least approaches soft-core.

-------------

It's obvious to me, anecdotally, that men prefer women whose ribs aren't visible to those whose are. In other words, the women most men I know (not just am friends with, but actually know) would not choose runway-thin fashion models over, say, someone gracing the pages of Maxim.

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Launchywiggin
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The thing about me is--I usually don't find any of the magazine girls attractive. I've seen too many of those clips showing the reality behind magazine covers, where they photoshop them like crazy.

I'm all about the girl-next-door who doesn't look glamorous or make-uped.

oh, and curves are good.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I wouldn't exactly call Maxim pornography.
A) Glenn didn't call it pornography. He called it a pornography gateway.
B) From what little I've seen of Maxim, I consider it pornography, along the lines of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (do they still do that?) or the Lingerie Bowl.

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Tante Shvester
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
Glenn didn't call it pornography. He called it a pornography gateway.

The Shvester called it pornography. Which maybe isn't fair. I haven't read it; I've just seen the covers on the newsstand, and assumed it was pornography.
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mr_porteiro_head
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So you did. Feel free to disregard point A).

Point B) still stands, though.

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Mike
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quote:
Do you think it's a good idea for boys to learn how to be seen as an object for women's pleasure?
Yup. It's a useful skill.

-----

montevardi, that was uncalled for.

-----

PSI, I agree completely. How then do we reverse this trend? These skinny models are indeed eye-catching, at least to the target audience, and the technique works well for the fashion industry. There is simply no incentive to advertise using models with more realistic body types. Campaigns like Dove's Real Beauty are probably always going to be in the minority.

-----

quote:
Is it obvious? Tell that to the millions of men who are downloading images of girls. Yes, thin ones who have hips like boys. You are jumping to conclusions. You may enjoy looking at curvy girls, but you can't speak for the majority of men.
Porn runs the gamut. I don't have access to any hard data, but from my experience (gasp!) "model-thin" porn stars are distinctly in the minority.
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breyerchic04
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Tante, in the same situation do you assume that Cosmopolitan is pornography?

edit for grammar

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mr_porteiro_head
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I would say that Cosmopolitan and Glamour are not pornography like Maxim is. It seems to me that the pictures in Maxim are meant to be sexually arousing or interesting to the magazine's core audience while the pictures in Cosmo and Glamour are not.
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Glenn Arnold
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Tante,

I'm not promoting Maxim. That's why I called it pornography. I think it's a marketing tool and no more.

I was just calling attention to the obvious discrepancy: in girls magazines, the projected image of girls is unhealthily thin, while in men's magazines girls are buxom and curvy. For the most part, these girls have a healthy weight (excepting certain other enhancements).

The difference is in the intended audience. Girls look at (female) models because they want to emulate the look. It is the girls who want to be an object of desire, but the girls magazines are sending an unhealthy message. The images of thin girls is intended to sell products, such as diet programs, or pills.

Boys magazines on the other hand, use pictures of girls to sell the magazine, which in turn has advertising to sell products.

The parallel to the girls' mags are magazines like "Mens' Health" (ironically) and body building magazines which project an image for men to emulate which is also generally unreachable without the aid of steroids. If these models aren't muscularly bulky, they are also unreasonably thin. It's either one extreme or the other. And not surprisingly, cases of anorexia in boys are becoming prevalent.

This is actually a pattern that's been going on for quite some time. Early attempts to sell deodorant to men failed. So did early attempts to sell hair coloring. But the advertising industry made these products household words by first preying on the insecurities of women, based on their self image. Once the products were established, it was easier to increase the market by targeting men.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
A) Glenn didn't call it pornography. He called it a pornography gateway.
I think it is pornography. It's just this side of a legal line that permits underage boys to buy it. I think its purpose is to introduce children to pornography so they'll buy it as soon as they are of age.

And Cosmo is also pornography.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:

And Cosmo is also pornography.

Eh? For whom?
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Valentine014
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I think too many of you are judging a book by it's cover. Look inside these magazines. Maxim and Cosmo are not porn. The pictures on the cover are very suggestive but most of the pictures in them are not like that. Those pictures are just meant to catch your eye.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Valentine014:
quote:
The thing that gets me is that young girls are being sold an unhealthy thin image, while it's pretty obvious that boys prefer some meat on the bones.
Is it obvious? Tell that to the millions of men who are downloading images of girls. Yes, thin ones who have hips like boys. You are jumping to conclusions. You may enjoy looking at curvy girls, but you can't speak for the majority of men.

There's also stuff like this which would seem to back this thought up.
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Occasional
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Valentine, your concept of porn must be very different from mine. What is inside the magazines are pretty equal to what is outside on the covers. Yes, I have checked both of them out. For me porn means more than just naked. It means an attitude of permissiveness and arousal. Both Cosmo and more especially Maxim are filled with that.
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Glenn Arnold
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Pornography doesn't have to be pictures. "Sex tips that will drive him wild" are certainly pornographic in nature.

What little I've read of Cosmo also seems to glamorize extramarital affairs.

If it's purpose is to arouse sexual interest, it's pornography.

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stihl1
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I've seen naked women in Cosmo. I've never seen a naked woman in Maxim. Do with that what you will.

I think the underlying point here is the interesting differences between how women see themselves and how men see women. I know very few men who think the rail thin runway models are attractive. Mostly, they look like they need a good meal. This applies to all the skinny hollywood chicks that look starved as well. While these women think being super thin makes them attractive, most men I know would disagree.

I know there are a lot of eating problems and image problems with young teenage girls. This rail thin issue puzzles me. I think it is the ultimate end of that spectrum that pushes women to be so thin, and I think that it is women who have pushed it to that end of the spectrum.

As far as men go, I can only speak from experience. IMO there are two layers to attraction for men. While men have the women that they oogle at in pictures in magazines or whatever that they consider the ultimate in beauty, I find that men also have the second layer of attraction of women that they actually go for. And by second, I don't imply a lesser beauty. Men have a fantasy, a pedestal image of beauty, and then there is the image that they are attracted to in reality.

Most men know they will never have a chance at the fantasy beauty girl, and I believe most men don't want those women either. There are exceptions though, and those guys are usually incredibly shallow and spend a lot of time chasing the hot chicks around.

Meanwhile, when a guy finally starts to mature and go after his reality beauty girl, he is looking for the average girl. There is beauty and sexuality in just about every different kind of woman, and when dudes grow up they realize that.

The problem is, all young girls see when they are growing up is the immature fantasy beauty ideal, and think they have to strive for that. And the fact is, that image sells stuff to guys, so that's the image girls are going to see. It's too bad we can't make young girls somehow understand the differences in fantasy and reality beauty and use that to combat all the image issues young girls have growing up.

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Tante Shvester
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quote:
Originally posted by breyerchic04:
Tante, in the same situation do you assume that Cosmopolitan is pornography?

OK, I haven't read Maxim at all, so I'm really no judge. I was judging the book by its cover. As for Cosmopolitan, I have picked it up in the beauty parlor (or salon, or whatever we're calling it these days), intrigued by the outrageous cover stories. I'd say it is on the safe side of soft-core, by a hair.

That said, I am not all in a righteous bunch about porn. If you like it, go and enjoy! I just think we can find healthier role models for girls than are found in any of the popular magazines discussed here.

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jennabean
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As a super-crazy-workout-veteran (female) with a body I am very proud of...

it is so much easier to starve yourself than it is to get your butt to the gym everyday and be healthy about it. Especially for young people, whose bodies respond to those things quicker and more drastically... and who also have far more time to ponder their attractiveness to the opposite sex. I read Maxim whenever I can. I like it because it uses humor and because it provides motivation to work out! And because I am training to be Miss Object of Pleasure 2007.

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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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quote:
Originally posted by breyerchic04:
I do.

Definately.
[Evil Laugh]

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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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quote:
Originally posted by breyerchic04:
Glen, I'm going to go get a copy of Maxim tommorow and try to compare.

Won't that be an awkward situation with the cashier?
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Euripides
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quote:
Originally posted by quidscribis:

Do you think it's a good idea for boys to learn how to be seen as an object for women's pleasure?

Where do I learn?
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ElJay
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quote:
Originally posted by Altáriël of Dorthonion:
quote:
Originally posted by breyerchic04:
Glen, I'm going to go get a copy of Maxim tommorow and try to compare.

Won't that be an awkward situation with the cashier?
Why would it be?
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Tante Shvester
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Well, I guess if she tries to get the cashier to pose like a Maxim girl, you know, for comparison's sake...
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El JT de Spang
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quote:
I think it is pornography. It's just this side of a legal line that permits underage boys to buy it. I think its purpose is to introduce children to pornography so they'll buy it as soon as they are of age.
I have about a dozen friends who read and/or subscribe to Maxim, who are of legal age, and who do not read Playboy or any other magazine of that nature. So I disagree with your assessment of Maxim's purpose.
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Rakeesh
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Well, do they...ummm...patronize other outlets of pornography? I'm not saying that if they did, it would prove the idea...but that they don't get other pornographic magazines doesn't disprove it, either.
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ElJay
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I'm curious if the company who owns Maxim also owns any clearly pornographic title. If they don't, what would be their motivation to act as a gateway?
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
I have about a dozen friends who read and/or subscribe to Maxim, who are of legal age, and who do not read Playboy or any other magazine of that nature.
Just because they don't buy [other] pornographic magazines doesn't mean he's necessarily wrong.

Do these friends of yours watch or view porn at all?

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by ElJay:
I'm curious if the company who owns Maxim also owns any clearly pornographic title. If they don't, what would be their motivation to act as a gateway?

Misguided altruism?

I've heard people have said that what we need is more porn and less puritianism in America.

Note that I haven't argued myself that Maxim is a gateway to porn. I personally think it is pornographic, and the motivation for that is to sell more copies of itself.

[ January 07, 2007, 12:38 PM: Message edited by: mr_porteiro_head ]

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ElJay
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I frankly doubt that the publishers of Maxim and other such magazines put them out due to a crusade of some sort to change American culture. I, like you, think they're in it for profit. Which means selling more copies of their own magazine, not trying to get kids accustomed to porn while they're underage so they'll start buying the "real" stuff when they turn 18.
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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
quote:
I have about a dozen friends who read and/or subscribe to Maxim, who are of legal age, and who do not read Playboy or any other magazine of that nature.
Just because they don't buy [other] pornographic magazines doesn't mean he's necessarily wrong.

Do these friends of yours watch or view porn at all?

I'm sure some or most of them do. But, unless I'm misreading what Glenn claims (i.e. that Maxim and the like are gateway magazines to stem the tide until it's legal to purchase truly pornographic magazines) that's immaterial.

It's a tenuous claim even when it's only applied to magazines, IMO. I can't imagine trying to prove the broader claim that reading Maxim is a gateway to consumption of pornography in other mediums as well.

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breyerchic04
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I see nothing awkward about buying Maxim, though I might if this discussion were about playboy or other actual porn geared for men.
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Amanecer
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I used to work at a bookstore that carried playboys. People were so funny about it. Some people would be incredibly stiff and uncomfortable and talk in hushed tones when buying it. Others were loud and uncomfortable and would make jokes. A small handful acted like it was no big deal. [Razz]
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blacwolve
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I'm really wondering if any of the people that call Cosmo porn have actually seen any real porn. I've only seen one episode of Playboy, so I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I see a huge gaping chasm between what is in Playboy and what is in Cosmo.

As a woman I find Playboy much more disturbing.

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Rakeesh
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I've read a few Cosmos (obligatory male remark about the dearth of material in waiting rooms and bathrooms), and it seems to me that while Playboy can be said to objectify and demean women, much of the 'articles' in Cosmo do the same, focusing on all sorts of stupid ways to know what your man is thinking, how to please him, or how to look sexier with little attention at all paid to, you know, being a better person.
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Megan
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I worked in a store that sold DVDs, some of which were pornographic. And nearly every person who bought one said they were buying it for a friend.

Edit: While I do not think Cosmo is porn, I do agree that it tends to be hard on a woman's self-image. My husband hated it when I buy Cosmo because, in his words, "You always go through this self-hatred thing immediately afterward." I realized he was right...and I actually haven't bought Cosmo since.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
Pornography doesn't have to be pictures. "Sex tips that will drive him wild" are certainly pornographic in nature.

What little I've read of Cosmo also seems to glamorize extramarital affairs.

If it's purpose is to arouse sexual interest, it's pornography.

I know that we have a mutable and fairly obscure definition of what constitutes pornography, but you may be stretching the applicability of the word too far! I generally keep it down to those works that have little or no artistic, literary, or technical merit beyond stimulating sexual desire.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
But, unless I'm misreading what Glenn claims (i.e. that Maxim and the like are gateway magazines to stem the tide until it's legal to purchase truly pornographic magazines) that's immaterial.
More to sell to a market niche that exists between the legally taboo and the non-pornographic. It doesn't matter whether Maxim buyers later read harder stuff, only that teenagers aren't legally allowed to buy magazines that contain certain content, so Maxim was created to sell a product to that market.
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