Thursday, 16 May 2013
Exemplar Answer for Section A: Textual Analysis (Print)
Section A: Men’s Health December 2010
1. Explain two ways in which the extract fits the genre of lifestyle magazines.
1) The magazines ‘Men’s Health’ fits the lifestyle genre because it has the conventional mix of contents; celebrity, health, fashion, sex, advice, and (specific to men’s mags) gadgets. This mix of contents is clear from the front cover; ‘Sex Tricks’, ‘Weight Loss’, ‘and ‘Man Flu Defeated’. Also from the two pages of contents; ‘Style’, The Joy of Decks’, ‘Shocking Fillers’, ‘What are you Eating?’ and ‘Your Winning Game Plan’. The best example is on the Editor’s Page, ‘The faster way to a better life’ which tells you how to navigate the magazine using ‘quick navigation icons’.
2) The magazine also fits the ‘lifestyle’ genre because it assumes the position of advisor. It uses direct address to ‘speak’ to the reader as though it holds all the answers for ‘your’ life to be a success. The coverlines clearly indicate this position, ‘LOSE YOUR GUT!’ and ‘Crush Your Hangover, Build Muscle’ are two examples here.
2. Give one example of each of the following and explain how it is used in the extract to create effect:
Layout: The front cover uses a symmetrical layout to give the page balance. It is as though the page is following the ‘rule of thirds’ where the page has three distinct columns and a line can be drawn down the centre to show a mirror image. The mirror image is not exact because the coverlines are different but a balance of colours on both sides is used to achieve the overall effect. This is effective because it is pleasing to the eye and the target audience can quickly scan the page from left to right, to get information on the contents.
The magazine uses the two font families (serif and sans serif) throughout perhaps to connote that the magazine is for a sophisticated but modern male. The majority of article titles and coverlines are sans serif and bold but the magazine title itself is serif. I think this is a key indicator of the target audience for the magazine because it does connote intelligence and sophistication in comparison to say the title for Loaded or Nuts.
Use of Language
The magazine uses a variety of language techniques to excite the reader and fit everything on the front cover. One example is the use of exclamatives and imperatives. For example there is ‘Lose your Gut! Which is an imperative because it gives the reader and order and ‘Secrets of Lean Muscle!’ which is an exclamative because it expresses surprise as though they hold a special recipe for success. STACKED LIKE STACKHOUSE! is another exclamative and it also uses alliteration to grab the attention of the audience.
Use of colour
The most significant point about colour in this magazine is what is missing. There is not a pink or pastel shade in sight. Black, red and blue are central to the colour design of the magazine and this is evident throughout. The colour red has connotations of danger and urgency in this context and of course blue connotes a sense of calm. Bold black text connotes a sense of importance and seriousness. Together they would be considered a very ‘masculine’ grouping of colours. Therefore, there is no room for doubt here, this is a ‘man’s’ magazine.
3. Discuss the ways in which men and/or masculinity are represented in this extract.
If I look at the magazine as though it is telling a story about who men are and how they live their lives, I would conclude that men are obsessed with their muscles, working out and their diet, heterosexual and like to look at women wearing only a bra and pants, owning gadgets that make their life simple and having the right clothes to look good. If I didn’t know better I might argue that this is ideally suited to what men want and need in life.
However, I do know better and I would say that this magazine presents society with an issue. In the same way that women have always been represented as being obsessed with diets, the perfect dress size, clothes, beauty and sex – men are now being represented as having similar obsessions. A criticism of this type of lifestyle magazine is that it sets up a vision of the ‘ ideal’ man and then makes audiences insecure about not being able to obtain this apparently better version of themselves. The magazine uses a photograph of a handsome slim celebrity with muscles and veins and holds this up as what men should aspire to look like. It then seems to point a finger at the reader who is no doubt already comparing his arms to the arms in the photo and demands; ‘LOSE YOUR GUT!’ in bold capitals. In the contents under ALPHA MALE it asks, ‘isn’t it time you started upping your game?’ so it sets out a problem and offers a solution. It also suggests that the reader needs to learn sex tricks and make ‘simple purchases that will drive her wild.’
The magazine has many more solutions to offer the reader for a range of problems he might have. To be honest, you might start reading the magazine thinking you were OK but by the time you’ve finished you’d have so many insecurities about how you looked you wouldn’t be feeling so confident. Maybe this is why people buy it every month? They’re now convinced they’re useless and need all the advice the magazine can throw at them!
Discuss how people and lifestyles are REPRESENTED in the extract. Use examples from the extract. Refer to stereotypes in your answer
· Who is represented? Discuss model pose, facial expression, clothing. Link to target audience
· Stereotypes: which group is represented? How do you know this? Discuss model, aspirational lifestyle options from coverlines (what are the stereotypical wants/needs of this group?) Discuss issues with these stereotypes
· Issues in representation:
o The ethnically uniform representation (majority white models, darker skin tones often lightened in editing or with lighting choices)
o The equation of attractiveness with youth, light skin and the lack of visible disabilities
o Heterosexuality and marriage are the norm
o The extract celebrates glamour, style, celebrity and partying (and sometimes domesticity as well)
REFER TO THE EXTRACT FOR EACH POINT WITHIN YOUR ANSWER
SEE THIS FOR HELP...
Explain how EACH of the following is used in the extract to create effect:
symmetrical or asymmetrical, balance, house style, busy/cluttered or use of white space, left third, columns, text wrapping, colour blocking
Orderly layout = sophistication. Aspirational for readers to have the same within their lifestyle OR Busy/Cluttered layout = fun. Aspirational for readers to show their fun/wild side OR hybrid of both to show mix of fun and sophistication
serif, sans-serif, script, variety of fonts (discuss where different fonts are used … coverlines, sub-headings, editor’s letter)
serif = traditional, sophisticated, elegant. Sans-serif = modern, fun. Script = handwriting = personal touch, “speaking” to reader, like a friend. Creates an image of a lifestyle that the reader will aspire to.
Imperitive (command) or Exclamative (exclamation !) or direct mode of address (pronouns; you/your)
Reader feels the magazine can be trusted to give advice on the idealized lifestyle portrayed and how readers can better themselves. Language is encouraging and readers feel as if they can rely on the magazine for help as if they are a friend. The language of the magazine is not over-glamourised so the reader feels they can achieve this aspirational lifestyle.
Connotations of colour, brights/pastels, masculine/feminine, target audience, use of white space
suitability to target audience, link to familiarity/branding of magazine, connotations of colour linked to lifestyle aspirations of reader.
HAVE 2 EXAMPLES FOR EACH WITH EVIDENCE
IF YOU NEED HELP LOOK AT THIS...
IF YOU NEED HELP LOOK AT THIS...
Explain TWO ways the extract fits the genre of lifestyle magazines. Use examples from the extract.
· Direct mode of address: coverlines use pronouns “You” or “Your” giving advice to the reader as if they are a friend. Model/celebrity is looking directly at camera/reader, engaging the reader.
· Hybrid contents: mix of contents in the magazine, such as fashion, beauty, health, relationships, celebrities. The mix of coverlines shows an aspirational tone so the reader aspires for their lifestyle to be like the one represented in the magazine by the coverlines and model/celebrity. The mix of contents shows that this magazine belongs to (teen, middle class, upmarket) segment of the market (Also mention who the target audience would be)
Use EXAMPLES from the magazine that us given to you in the exam.
THAT IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW! SERIOUSLY!