Semiotic Analysis of Teenage Magazine Front Covers Essay

Words: 3410
Pages: 14

Siân Davies

In this essay I will hope to analyse the semiotic codes of the front covers of teenage magazines to demonstrate how the media constructs the image and behavioural ideology of the teenage girl. I will analyse issue 359 of More! (December 27 th 2001 - January 8th 2002) and compare it with the January 2002 edition of 19. I have chosen these specific texts as they are popular mainstream magazines that are available in most newsagents, and therefore arguably represent to the reader what constitutes the modern teenage girl. These are also the most recent issues available for analysis and therefore demonstrate an up-to-date representation of constructed femininity in our media and society.

Jonathan Bignell (1997) argues that the
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and 19 that would attract a teenage girl to purchase the magazines. These demonstrate effectively the dominant ideology of teenage femininity in the media.

Firstly, the titles anchor the texts to the genre of teenage magazines. 19 seems to be directed at a person who is 19, or at least who thinks she is as mature as a 19year old. As the title stands boldly in the top left-hand corner of the page, this is the image that the eye is initially drawn towards. If we are to adopt Kress and Leeuwen's theory of layout, this will also give the magazine a sense of idealism, suggesting that the reader should aspire to attain the life and image referred to within the pages (in Bell 1997: 193). The title More! also acquires this quality of idealism, but as the word stretches across the width of the page it could be suggested that the More! reader is more sassy and larger than life in comparison to the more mature or sophisticated reader of 19 (this is further substantiated by the exclamation mark -More! - and by the girlish pink colour of the 19 logo).

The taglines reinforce these ideas as they are placed directly underneath the titles in a contrasting black font. 19 states that the magazine is "Barefaced Cheek!" which implies that all is bared in the magazine, the reader is given extensive coverage of the issues of sex, love and fashion. However this tagline could also be interpreted (perhaps to a non-teenager reader) as implying that the