Stereotypes About Men and Masculinity in Cosmopolitan Magazine: A Content Analysis of the “Ask Him Anything” Advice Column
This qualitative study explored the culture of male stereotypes in selected articles of Cosmopolitan magazine. A content analysis was conducted on the “Ask Him Anything: Love Advice From Our Guy Guru: Ky Henderson” column, which appears monthly in Cosmopolitan magazine, from January to December 2013. Twelve articles with seventy questions and answers were analyzed to find implicit and explicit statements about men and masculinity. Fifty-one statements were examined for themes, and four prominent themes emerged: (1) Men and their attitudes and behaviours towards women, (2) Sex – General attitudes and specific actions, (3) Jobs and finances, and (4) Comparisons between younger and older men. The theme of men and their attitudes and behaviors towards women held the most statements, suggesting that the readership of this magazine is expected to focus on men’s behaviours and attitudes towards them, which may put pressure on the readers to cater to these stereotyped attitudes and behaviours. Catering to presumed stereotypical attitudes and behaviours may create or reinforce unequal power structures and put strains on romantic relationships between men and women. Findings demonstrated that stereotyped statements about men and masculinity were contained within Cosmopolitan magazine. Furthermore, certain masculine traits were described as innate or biologically inherent, revealing a prevailing thought that these stereotypical traits are unchangeable in nature.
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