The Women of Cosmo

This essay analyzes the significance and purpose of the images displayed on the covers of magazines. The advertisers of Cosmopolitan wanted women of varying ages to see what was believed to be a beautiful, and desirable woman of that time period. After analyzing the iconic image of Farrah Fawcett in 1976, from Chadwick Roberts’ article, “The Politics of Farrah’s Body: The Female Icon as Cultural Embodiment,” I was intrigued to discover how body image has become a more dominant factor throughout the 20th century of America’s culture. I thoroughly examine images from different decades of the 20th century, specifically a time before iconic women were in the public eye (1938), a time of Farrah Fawcett in order to compare women’s representation (1976), and a year after Farrah Fawcett to see the evolution of women (1986). After seeing a drastic change in magazine covers and content primarily from 1938 to 1976, I realized that the use of the body as a sexual portrayal first began to emerge around the early 1950s, with Marilyn Monroe as the cover model. By examining the differences among the covers, I can evaluate how American culture has evolved overtime. [193]


4 thoughts on “The Women of Cosmo”

  1. I think this is such an interesting topic. Did you consider looking at modern covers?

    Also, side note, I met Joanna Coles, the editor-in-chief, outside the White House a few weeks ago! I was so starstruck.

  2. I’m glad that you indeed found a specific point where the magazine, and America’s culture, made that change. I’m interested in reading your final paper. Finally, you say at the end that “By examining the differences among the covers, I can evaluate how American culture has evolved overtime.” What exactly is that American culture, or more, what aspects of the American culture, changed? Just to be specific.

  3. I would like to read your argument as to how body image became a more dominant factor throughout the 20th century because I feel as if the increasing importance of body image may be because of the larger accessibility of movies, tv shows, magazines, and other popular culture items in the 20th century making it easier to promote one body image or another rather than people caring more about body images as time goes on.

  4. I think you have a really interesting topic that ties right into the idea of feminism in society. However, how are you going to prove and argue that the perception of body image has changed/impacted American culture in any way?

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