The visual presentation of beauty: A cross-cultural analysis of ads in cosmopolitan


International Journal of the Humanities, vol.9, no.12, pp.109-120, 2013 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Journal Name: International Journal of the Humanities
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.109-120
  • Keywords: Magazine Ads, Presentation of Beauty
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


What is beautiful? We can easily say that everyone has a description for beauty, but it changes from culture to culture. There is no universal definition for what beautiful is. Although some social scientists have proposed the existence of innate reactions to selected aspects of appearence (Berry and McArthur, 1985; Cunningham, 1981), the cultural relativity of beauty norms, as well as their fluidity over time, suggests that answers to the question "What is beautiful?" are culturally constituted as a result of common socialization experiences (Banner, 1983). In today's advertised world, every kind of product tries to persuade the consumers by saying, "You can be beautiful, if you buy this brand!" Advertisements offer us a unique opportunity to study the construction of beauty in a culture because advertisers are notorious for promoting a "beauty ideal" (Greer, 1999). Cosmopolitan which is an important lifestyle magazine both in Turkey and the world, has a big circulation within women's magazines. It strives to transmit to its readers an ideal beauty definition. Although Cosmopolitan has a global message for beauty, ads in it vary from country to country. There are generally national ads in it, so we can understand the beauty norms of countries by their ads. Based on the eight beauty types identified by Englis, Solomon and Ashmore(1994), advertisements from Cosmopolitan in Turkey, Spain, Italy and United Kingdom will be content-analyzed and compared according to the visual presentation of beauty in magazine ads. © Common Ground, Gülcan Şener, All Rights Reserved.