One of the most widely read periodicals, after beauty and lifestyle publications are car and bike magazines. One such periodical is the “Motor Trend” automobile magazine which showcases some of the latest, best and sometimes worst of automobiles, from cars and trucks to bikes and vehicles of every type. The magazine’s typical readers are male, car enthusiasts. Age is generally not a factor when it comes to automobiles and hence this magazine seeks to acquire readership in all age groups ranging from preteens to middle-aged men. However, since the target of the magazine is to boost sales of the cars advertised, it attempts to gain the attention of working professionals in the ages between 20 and 50. The magazine appeals primarily to those interested in the latest events in the world of motor vehicles, people looking to buy or sell automobiles, automobile dealers, car expos organizers, and those working in the fields of car technology and innovation, among others. The target demographic was easy to determine based on the contents of the magazine, including articles, graphics and advertisements. The glossy, bright finish of the pictures, the bold fonts and text and the language employed reveal that the magazine is designed to appeal to the typical male. There are reviews of just released, old and upcoming cars, road tests and specifications of a myriad of automobiles and ads featuring cars, car dealers and car part suppliers, all focusing their attention on capturing the male market of car enthusiasts.
The internet has allowed people to gain access to information simply through the click of a button. It provides users with a source of entertainment and information, two of the major purposes served by magazines. Although it would seem that the internet would slowly replace magazines and the latter’s readership would decline steadily (as statistics would suggest), the truth remains that magazines still maintain the highest penetration rate and are still the most widely read source for infotainment. Perhaps it is owing to the satisfaction of holding something tangible or the fact that greater credibility is assigned to print rather than online articles, magazines continue to hold their place in the market. Many magazines such as “Motor Trend”, in order to retain their readers and to capture even the ardent internet buffs are venturing into the online space and have magazine websites along with the print version. The increased ability to interact and greater navigability ease allows these to be more popular with the younger crowds, but at the same time also drives users to buy the print magazine. Nevertheless, to survive and expand in the age of the internet, magazines must continually innovate and ideate new ways to keep the readers interested.
In a bid to increase advertising revenues and get more brands to sign up for promoting their products with them, many magazine websites present unrealistic portrayals of women. The impact is immense, particularly on the way young teenage girls perceive the concept of beauty and themselves. Online teen magazines are some of the most highly visited websites by teenage girls with impressionable minds, compelling them to credulously believe the contents of these sites. Teenage girls are more likely to follow the advice and consider the issues put forth by these online magazines, over and above the words of their parents and peers. Hence, these websites have an enormous responsibility to promote healthy physical, social and emotional development of a woman. The images of skinny models in branded clothing, carrying the most expensive handbags and donning high-priced shoes leaves the impression on a young readers’ mind that that is what they should be like. Instead, these websites should concentrate on allowing the girls to discover their source of happiness and success in life. The content should be such that girls associate success with personal wholesome achievements, rather than outward and superficial looks. Instead of focusing on important details of how a woman should present herself, and the importance of growing up to be an empowered woman, teen magazine websites seem to endorse the attitude that “beauty” is an essential commodity and the usage of cosmetic products is absolutely necessary for a girl to be “beautiful”. While this concept will have an unfortunate influence on any girl’s mentality, the most disastrous effects will be on those who cannot afford these products. Not only will this damage them psychologically, leaving them with low self-esteem and a perpetual feeling of disappointment, and in many cases severe depression, it will also affect their social skills and their ability to interact with the world. Owing to the immense influence of the internet on today’s youth, anything that appears on the internet becomes more influential than if the same words appeared in print. Therefore, magazine websites have a higher responsibility and must take further care to ensure that what they are writing and presenting provides a more realistic and well-rounded view of young womanhood.