Vogue Cover Featuring Emma Stone, July 2012

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Fig. 16, Fleming, O, (2012), Who needs Victoria’s Secret? Kate Upton lands profile in Vogue after snub from lingerie giant (and there’s not a bikini in sight) [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2166508/Kate-Upton-lands-profile-Vogue-snub-lingerie-giant-theres-bikini-sight.html [Accessed 23 March 15].

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue, between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

In figure 16 we see actress and comedienne Emma Stone on the cover of Vogue at a high point of her career. Heller wrote in her article ‘Emma Stone Makes Her Vogue Cover Debut in the July Issueabout how at the time of the cover, July 2012, the successful blockbuster The Amazing Spider-man was released that same month. Stone played the romantic lead in the 3D adaption of the Marvel comic movie that cost around $220 million to make and also appeared in movies such as The Help (2011), Superbad (2007) and Gangster Squad (2013) as well as doing comedy roles. As an A-lister in New York City, it is clear that Stone is successful in her chosen line of work. (Heller, 2012)

This is not an uncommon type of cover appearing on shop shelves in today’s world. The background is faded out. A beautiful woman is placed in the centre suggesting an alluring and provocative nature. Titles of articles and references to topics discussed in the issue are scattered over the cover image to either side of the centre figure, attempting to entice the reader into buying the magazine. On her cover of Vogue, we see Stone as a blonde instead of her usual head of red hair, a reference to her role as Gwen Stacy in the Spider-man sequel. We are given a glimpse of the lace and silk lingerie she is clad in, with a neutral beige jumper covering up some of her arms and legs. The cover in fig. 16 represents the new era of sexualising women which has not been seen in the same way in other magazine covers that I have examined in this thesis and shows a new direction taken by the producers of magazine covers in recent years. It is interesting that the image of the woman that comes across is one of a person who has succeeded in doing more than the majority of women could ever dream of, but when appearing on the cover of Vogue, Stone is sexualised, shown in a way that most people would never otherwise see her, rather than being celebrated for all the amazing achievements she has accomplished. On the other hand, perhaps Vogue is attempting to say that Emma Stone can do it all. She can obtain all the success of Hollywood, but she can also be seductively feminine. Perhaps the lingerie element of the photograph is a reference to her role in The Amazing Spider-man, but the habit of over-sexualising women has become ever more prevalent in recent years. It suggests that a woman’s achievements are secondary to whether she can look sexy or not in a photograph. (Heller, 2012)

The image of the seductive, sexualised image of the woman that appears frequently on the covers of fashion magazines including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar (example fig. 16) has been criticised over the last couple of decades. HealthyTimes blog posted an article titled ‘Are Magazine Covers Eating into Your Self-Esteem?’ which looks at the reactions women have towards these types of covers. According to this article, 75 women reported feeling terrible after going through a woman’s magazine. One woman said that this was due to “being faced with pictures, articles or advertisements that points out a woman’s inadequacies.” (HealthyTimes blog, 2011) This is not an uncommon reaction from women to the images that appear on magazine covers. A hospital in Boston reported in the article ‘How Do Magazines Affect Body Image’ that when teenage girls compare their bodies with the images that are produced on magazine covers, they often feel depressed about the way they look. (Hospital Boston, 2014) Perhaps the perfected images of women on the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar published in order to allow its audience to dream about a perfected life, similar to the covers in fig. 6 and fig. 10. However, even though there seems to be a negative reaction to the numerous provocative images of women on the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and other fashion magazines nowadays, it is not preventing women from buying the magazines since Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar are both still leaders of the fashion magazine industry. (HealthyTimes blog, 2011) (Hospital Boston, 2014)

HealthyTimes blog. (2011). Are Magazine Covers Eating Into Your Self-Esteem?. Available: http://www.healthytimesblog.com/2011/05/are-magazine-covers-eating-into-your-self-esteem/. Last accessed 21 April 2015.

Heller, N. (2012). Emma Stone Makes Her Vogue Cover Debut in the July Issue. Available: http://www.vogue.com/865338/emma-stone-comic-relief/. Last accessed 23 March 2015

Hospital Boston. (2014). How Do Magazines Affect Body Image. Available: http://www.education.com/reference/article/how-magazines-affect-body-image/. Last accessed 21 April 2015.

Vogue July 1970

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Fig 12. (1970), ‘Top 10 Vogue Covers of All Time; 9. Helmut Berger and Marisa Berenson, July 1970’, 2014, http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/top-10-vogue-covers-of-all-time/2/ [accessed 29 March 2015]

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue, between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

Figure 12 features a relatively normal looking magazine cover by today’s standards but it too was a ground breaking cover. Allison Cooper wrote about the cover in her article titled ‘Top Ten Vogue Covers of All Time’. Published in July of 1970, the lady is attired in the styles of the 1970’s. The man is dressed in a suit. Other than their clothes, there are no hints in the background or elsewhere to suggest anything other than that we should be focusing on these two people. David Bailey photographed the cover. Photography had become a regular medium for imagery in Vogue magazine in the last thirty years. Up until this issue, however, the magazine had essentially had a female target market for the majority of its lifespan, excluding its early years in the late 19th century. This particular cover is momentous because it is the first ever Vogue magazine to publish a photograph of a man on its cover. The actors Helmut Berger and Marisa Berenson are photographed alongside each other, both staring straight out at the viewer as if to ask the question; well, what do you think of this than? This opened the door for many other men to be featured on the cover of Vogue such as Elton John and, controversially, Kanye West. (Cooper, 2014)

It is interesting that as the woman is getting more rights and freedom in her personal life in the 1960s and 1970s, and it is now that she is portrayed with a man along her side. Without previous knowledge of how the image of the woman has been shown on Vogue covers, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that the magazine cover is suggesting that a woman needs a man. However, when looking at the bigger picture involving American society at the time, as well as the history of the image of the woman on magazine covers, the image in fig. 12 has transcended the fear of showing the woman as dependent. The only reason for the man being next to the woman is because she wants him there.

Cooper, A. (2014). Top 10 Vogue Covers of All Time; 9. Helmut Berger and Marisa Berenson, July 1970. Available: http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/top-10-vogue-covers-of-all-time/2/. Last accessed 20 Nov 2014.

Harper’s Bazaar, May 1961

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Fig 11. (1961) ‘The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue’, 2014, http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/vogue-magazine-list-10-most-groundbreaking-covers-in-the-history-of-vogue/?_r=0 [accessed 29 March 2015]

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue, between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

According to Oloizia we see a different style of magazine cover in figure 11. (Oloizia, 2014) Released in May 1961, parts of Sophia Loren’s face is scattered over the cover, suggesting that the public would be able to recognize her by her lips and eyes alone. This cover is similar to fig. 10 in its abstract, modernist influence. This is another major Vogue cover as it features one of the first ever celebrities to grace the cover of Vogue. This is a major milestone as it paves the way for magazines as we know them today. Furthermore it is an evolution of the Vogue cover in fig. 6 where Toto Koopman appears as the first ever cover girl. The image of the woman here stays far away from floral motifs and expensive clothing, where women spend their days following leisurely pursuits. This cover is bold and adventurous, and we assume that the woman, Sophia Loren, also embodies these personality traits since all we have to do is look at her lips or eyes separately in order to be able to identify this famous celebrity. Again, Vogue is appealing to the fact that most people yearn for more than what they have in their lives. The cover in fig. 11 shows the bold and adventurous life of a celebrity, not the common public who purchase the Vogue magazine. Their readers are still given the opportunity to dream about a different life; the fun and crazy, adventurous life of a celebrity where an individual can be recognised by her eyes and lips alone. (Oloizia, 2014)

Oloizia, J. (2014). The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue. Available: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/voguemagazine-list-10-most-groundbreaking-covers-in-the-history-of-vogue/?_r=0. Last accessed 10 Nov 2014.

Toto Koopman on Vogue, September 1933

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Fig 6. (1933), The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue, (2014) Available at: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/vogue-magazine-list-10-most-groundbreaking-covers-in-the-history-of-vogue/?_r=0 [accessed 11 Nov 2014]

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue, between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

When thinking of Vogue today, we might think of the shiny gloss covers showing perfected images of celebrities. It was in September 1933 that Vogue had its first known cover girl on the front of its magazine, which can be seen in figure 6. The model named Toto Koopman was bisexual and biracial. Her sexuality, however, was not known at the time of publication and so had no impact on society at the time of the covers release and doesn’t say anything about the image of the woman. Nowadays, the placing of models and celebrities on the front covers of magazines is routine for the magazine industry. Koopman is wonderfully posed with the red and black colour motif creating a romantic atmosphere. The 1930s has become known as the golden age for Hollywood images of desirability and sexual attractiveness. The cover in figure 6 is influenced by this trend which, according to Fogg (2013), occurred in America during the Depression when people wanted ways to escape their dreary lives through cinematography. Fashion photographs in Vogue and other fashion magazine began to look like film stills, with fantasy props and complex lighting. The magazine industry opened up the Hollywood look to a wide audience. The US ready-made clothes industry started producing mass amounts of the clothing’s shown. (Fogg, 2013)

This lady appears to lead a comfortable life, which is a recurring image of the woman on the covers examined. She is very well dressed in expensive clothing. In the image Koopman appears glamorous and proud. Women sought to read Vogue as a way to escape the hard times that American society was going through in the 1930’s with the Depression. The image of this woman on the front cover would lead the ordinary woman to day-dream about an alternative lifestyle, which is what Vogue wanted its readers to do. On this cover we are given a misleading impression of women at this time. People in America were having a tough time and needed liberation from the reality of their lives through magazines such as the one in figure 6.  (Oloizia, 2014)

Fogg, M (2013). Fashion: The Whole Story. London: Thames and Hudson. 111.

Oloizia, J. (2014). The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue. Available: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/vogue-magazine-list-10-most-groundbreaking-covers-in-the-history-of-vogue/?_r=0. Last accessed 10 Nov 2014.

Vogue Cover July 1932

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Fig. 5 (1932) The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue, Available at: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/vogue-magazine-list-10-most-groundbreaking-covers-in-the-history-of-vogue/ [accessed 10 Nov 2014]

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue, between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

According to Seven in ‘The First Covers of Vogue’, American Vogue used their first colour photograph on its cover in 1932 which can be seen in figure 5. It shows a lady in a bathing suit and hat, her arms above her head with a beach ball. The colours are bright and eye-catching. It was an innovative move to include coloured photography in a magazine at the time. Prior to this time, Vogue had used illustrations in their magazine exclusively. The editors of Vogue don’t seem to have grasped the potential creative prospects of photography yet for the future as the magazine continue to mainly use illustrations on their covers up until the 1940s. (Seven, 2009)

The woman in the photograph appears to be enjoying herself. Published in July, this was a magazine issue with a summer theme. Perhaps the lady is on vacation. The sky is clear blue and the colours in the photograph make the weather seem warm. We are given the idea that the women of this age are enjoying themselves. She is able to wear hardly anything on the front cover of one of the most popular magazines. She spends her time vacationing. There is no hint that this lady is under the stresses of a household, husband or children, which may suggest that the woman is enjoying her new found freedom away from the home. (Seven, 2009)

Seven, A. (2009). The first covers of “Vogue”. Available: http://obviousmag.org/en/archives/2008/04/the_first_covers_of_vogue.html. Last accessed 10 Nov 2014.

Vogue Cover March 1912

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Fig. 3 (1912) US Vogue Cover Archive. [online] Available at http://forums.thefashionspot.com/f78/us-vogue-cover-archive-56486.htmlhttp://forums.thefashionspot.com/f78/us-vogue-cover-archive-56486.html [accessed 11 Nov 2014]

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue,between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

The image in figure 3 is typical of a Vogue cover of the 1910’s – 1920’s. At this time the magazines were exclusively illustrated rather than photographed, with covers differing in illustration styles. The woman in fig. 3 is draped in an elegant outer cloak with rich colours and fur. Flowers accompanying a woman are common imagery on magazine covers around this time and can be seen in fig. 3. Women and flowers were often juxtaposed to each other due to the thinking of the time that women were supposed to be like flowers; delicate and pretty. The furnishings around the woman appear expensive. The lady is seated on a coach leisurely reading an issue of Vogue. Overall we get the impression of a woman who enjoys the finer things in life; fur, beautiful clothing, expensive furnishing and, of course, Vogue. Vogue is giving an impression of their consumers. Women who read Vogue live privileged lives of luxury. Even the many who were unable to afford this type of lifestyle of luxury can, through this image, fantasize about this dream lifestyle. They may not be able to afford the beautiful furnishings and clothing adorned on the cover, but they can afford Vogue!

Vogue. (2014). From the Archives: Vogue Looks Back at 120 Years of Covers. Available: http://www.vogue.com/869450/from-the-archives-vogue-looks-back-at-120-years-of-covers/. Last accessed 20 Nov 2014.

Vogue. (2014). Vogue Archive. Available: http://www.vogue.com/archive. Last accessed 20 Nov 2014.

First Cover of Vogue, 1892

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Fig. 2 (1892) The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue [ONLINE] Available at: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/vogue-magazine-list-10-most-groundbreaking-covers-in-the-history-of-vogue/?_r=0 [accessed 10 Nov 2014]

Extract from a thesis written by Sofia Arvanius for her final year studying for a BA in Visual Communication titled How has the image of women changed over time in the fashion magazine industry in America, looking specifically at the covers of the US magazine, Vogue, between the years of its first publication in 1892 until the present day?

Jeff Oloizia, in ‘The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue’, explains the changes that have taken place on the covers of Vogue over the more than 120 years that the magazine has been in publication in America. It features an image of the first cover from 1892, which can be seen in figure 2 (Oloizia, 2014). Like figure 1, the cover is far from what we would expect of a magazine cover nowadays. There are no air brushed models on the front cover. There are no bright colours, no eye-catching type or no glossy finish to the cover. The woman in the center is dressed in a long dress covering her arms, but quite low over the chest region. She seems to be picking flowers in a garden. She is posed in such a way that she is looking out towards the viewer with a closed mouth smile. The two women towards the top of the cover on either side of the title are leisurely relaxing; one is looking at herself in a mirror and the other reading what looks like a newspaper. The imagery is very classical in the poses.

The image of the woman that appears from this cover suggests that women were quite happy to spend their days relaxing in an idealized world of flowers and beauty which is similar to the image that is portrayed in the first image, in fig. 1, of the first cover of Harper’s Bazaar. These women appear idealized. The woman in the center is fashionably dressed for the time, but the other two look like they are from a classical muse. According to Appell in her article ‘The Influence of Society’s Ideals on Victorian Relationships’, women at this time were expected to stay at home taking care of their husbands and children. They were rarely educated and it was unusual for a woman to seek employment unless they were forced to do so by poverty. The publisher Arthur Baldwin Turnure says that the aim of the cover was to attract ‘the sage as well as the debutante, men of affairs as well as the belle’. (Appell, 2006) This is different to the aim of women as a target market, which Vogue is now known for. The image of the woman here is a man’s classicised impression of how a woman of that period spends her time. This idealized world of the woman would be an unusual lifestyle at that time but was a common feature on the covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar at this time.  (Appell, 2006) (Oloizia, 2014)

Appell, F. Victorian Ideals: The Influence of Society’s Ideals on Victorian Relationships. (2006) Available: http://www.mckendree.edu/academics/scholars/issue18/appell.htm. Last accessed 10 Nov 2014.

Oloizia, J. (2014). The 10 Most Groundbreaking Covers in the History of Vogue. Available: http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/vogue-magazine-list-10-most-groundbreaking-covers-in-the-history-of-vogue/?_r=0. Last accessed 10 Nov 2014.