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Introduction: Men and Women. Searching for the Points of Contact
People have always been dependent on the opinion of the most authoritative sources. Instead of shaping their own vision of the world, they tend to listen to the pieces of advice given by the gurus of the spheres they are interested in. Thus, although the modern world is highly concerned with the impact of the mass media on people’s ideas, the magazine articles impose the ideas that are most profitable for the owners of the magazines, which results in creating another trend in fashion.
Considering two articles taken from two separate magazines, one can realize whether magazines impose the necessary vision of the world on the people reading the articles and whether this influences the opinion of the public to a considerable degree.
It would be a good idea to consider the opinion concerning one of the most important issues of the modern world – the aspect of physical health and physical attractiveness, as known as fitness. There is no secret that once set the trend for a trimmed and fit figure, magazines offered a number of articles that worshipped the ideal figure and suggested a number of means to improve what does not fit the “standard”. In the recent issues of Men’s Health and Women’s Health, the aspect of fitness was raised once again in the articles entitled Get Fit Tricks and Muscle: The Next Level.
Shape My Mind Frame: The Magazine World vs. Reality
According to the most recent data obtained from the research in the sphere of mass media, the impact of the latter is truly incredible. It offers the most insistent viewpoint without being hindered at all. Why so, would the audience ask; the answer is rather simple. Guarded by the law of the States, the press is free to express their opinion openly: “In the United States of America media is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution” (Siegmund 2008, 3), which explains a lot.
Guarded by the law, the mass media is practically invincible to any outside influence, which means that the opinion expressed in the articles is fully imposed by the magazines in which they are printed. It must be mentioned that the situation is becoming even more complicated as various means of imposing the magazine opinion on the population are utilized – according to Hancock (2001), the varieties of ways include language, style, images, headlines, and especially editorial comments (25).
A Sociable Superman Is Looking for a Charming Superwoman
Considering the articles mentioned more closely, one can notice that the opinions presented in the magazines actually dub each other. This means that the articles suggested in both magazines offer the viewpoint that is most profitable for the magazines at the moment. Tracking the elements of the plurality of opinions in the articles, one is doomed to a failure – the ideas offered by the magazines are a one-way movement road to the bliss of the publisher and sponsor.
What can be traced in both articles is longing for the standard of beauty imposed by a range of other magazines and other mass media long before. A quick glance at the articles in Women’s Health is enough to trace the evidence for that: “You want to drop a few pounds”, “Each session improves your posture and creates more confidence, which breeds self-improvement” – all these lines presuppose that the person reading the article agrees with the magazine’s opinion that the fitness sessions are intertwined with the essence of beauty and spirituality.
Comparing these statements with the ones found in the article in Men’s Health, one can trace the same tendency to create an impression of the connection between the advice given by the magazine and the key to a happy life and personal development: “where there is weakness, there is a great opportunity – to build muscle”. Bright and encouraging, these articles reflect the ideas of the magazine, not the reality.
Conclusion: Opening Your Eyes
Is there a way of getting rid of the influence that magazines have on people with their articles? To answer this question, it is required to measure the impact that media has on the public. However, despite the obvious existence of the influence, it is completely impossible to define the extent of its impact. According to what Janda (2008) says,
Americans overwhelmingly believe that the media exert a strong influence on their political institutions, and almost nine out of ten Americans believe that the media strongly influence public opinion. However, measuring the extent of media influence on public opinion is difficult. (113)
Thus, the ways to define the extent of the mass media impact on people’s lives is impossible. However, since there is no doubt that the effect is constant and often harmful, ways to decrease it must be found. With help of reasonable restrictions imposed on magazines, the impact of the magazine articles on people will be diminished, which will positively result in their life.
Hancock, J., Green, T., & Turton, P. (2001) Advanced General Studies for OCR. London, UK: Heinemann.
Janda, K., et al (2008). The Challenge of Democracy: American Government in a Global World, Brief Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Cengage Learning.
Siegmund, S. (2008) How Far, If at All, Do the Media and the Public Opinion Influence US Foreign and Defence Policy? Berlin, DE: GRIN Verlag.