Research on beauty ideals in lifestylemedia: from sex object to art object

Research shows that there is a globalised media culture exists, but that the image of beauty ideals in lifestyle magazines, however, is different. On one cover we see happy smiling women, while another cover, just a model with a cool look or look sexy and fun.

Cosmopolitan, Vogue & Dragonfly © –

Charlie Magazine interviewed professor of cultural sociology Giselinde Kuipers on imaging in lifestylemedia. At the University of Amsterdam leads professor Kuipers is a large-scale European research project in which they beauty ideals of the past thirty years studies.

The female beauty that is portrayed by lifestylemagazines in different countries on the one hand is very similar: a gift of white skin, slim, shiny hair. On the other hand, is the way in which the female models pose very different for the lifestyle magazines that Giselinde Kuipers and her phd student Elise van der Laan studied. They examined and analyzed more than 13,000 photos of models in Italian, British and Dutch lifestylemagazines.

Cold, warm & cheerful

On the covers of luxebladen such as Vogue , we see never smiling models. As a reader, we feel no bond with these models, and their beauty is also a less accessible nature. What is not in the interview discussed is the link with the luxemode industry, where models are generally as a mannequin to be seen. They are, therefore, claim to be casting agents, also skinnier on average than women: the purpose of these models is the luxurious clothes to show off, not to call attention to themselves. On the fashion weeks walking the models with a tight look about the catwalk, any hint of amusement or personality is filtered out. Magazines such as Vogue associate themselves with this side of fashion, and choose consequently for the same type of models on their cover.

The Cosmpopolitans of this world choose then again covermodellen who is very, very sexy posing: naked look, open mouth, sexy look. In magazines such as Libelle and Flair to portray models who are prettier than the average woman, but still accessible seem and always cheerful smile. The one ideal is not the other. The way the models are represented varies from object (Vogue) to subject (Dragonfly).

When the models in luxebladen in a little veiled clothes are suggested, they are still not geseksualiseerd, but rather in an aesthetic way, objectified.


In the past thirty years, both male and female models increasingly, as the object shown. In the past this was previously reserved for women, but there is a tendency for men to objectify.

The researchers also note that in the 21st century, objectification is not necessarily equivalent to subordination. An example is that you have less and less female models see their head scheefhouden. Objectification can therefore coexist with a social statusverhoging.

Read the full article on Why do women in Vogue never laugh and Cosmopolitan always


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