Little has changed since the creation of Mademoiselle Magazine in the mid 1930’s. Even though society has developed into a consumer driven enterprise, the magazine has been and still is edited to attract women ages eighteen to thirty-four. In the September 1963 issue of Mademoiselle, the magazine’s focus lay primarily in fashion, beauty and careers as editors attempted to relate to the women of the decade. These women were dedicated to their beliefs in equality as they tried to prove themselves as a dominant sex.
As time progressed, columns did not change. Articles on topics such as career, fashion, beauty, and health now inundate the pages of new magazines, such as in Glamour (Mademoiselle has recently been taken out of circulation, but Glamour and Mademoiselle have merged as one), still hoping to manipulate the population and set the trends for the near future. What has changed however is the aesthetic composition of the magazine, less inhibited articles pertaining to the opposite sex, and the addition of numerous advertisements and pictures of celebrities to which recent culture has become obsessed.
The table of contents in the 1963 September issue of Mademoiselle and the 2002 October issue of Glamour magazine hold such apparent similarities it is almost impossible to determine which magazine is from the past. Starting with the cover headlines, each magazine features advice in both fashion and beauty and has many separate articles pertaining to each of these subjects. The interest in these subjects has stayed relatively the same over the past four decades. Still, fashionable styles are the means to which these articles are written and recent trends are what keep these magazines contemporary.
Since both of the magazines are autumn issues, as opposed to a fall issue and a spring one, they hold many of the same sub articles. For example, Mademoiselle 1963 featured an article entitled “It Takes Braggadocio…: Coats” and Glamour 2002 contains an article entitled “Your Next Coat.” Though the titles have become more straightforward in recent time, both magazines are clearly selling the trends of the day.
Similar to the parallel articles in fashion, articles relating to beauty needs and dieting prove to be important also. The women of the 1960’s fought for more freedom and choice. As a result of the feminist movement, which opposed the use of beauty product because of their demeaning properties, companies needed to advertise more products in the hope of replacing this new mindset. The amount of pages, which advertise new beauty products, makeup, and diets, has not changes over the years. In fact, Glamour contains more articles pertaining to beauty than Mademoiselle. One reason for this increasing interest of one’s physical appearance is the availability to different media.
Whether it is reading a magazine, watching the television or simply driving on the road, a person is continuously sent advertisements of different beauty products and diets. For example, Mademoiselle features an article on page 73 entitled, “Never a Dull Diet.” Similarly, Glamour magazine also has an article about dieting, “Take Charge of your Health.” These two items are both about health, but due to new studies and scientific knowledge, the article from Glamour focuses on staying healthy and not losing weight while Mademoiselle emphasizes the “Fad” diet.
Mademoiselle and Glamour have intelligently captured a female audience by writing about opportunities for education in addition to women’s beauty. They saw women as feminine yet still authoritative. Mademoiselle in 1963 must have helped to revolutionize the role of women in society because there is an entire section relating to College and Careers. This made a major impact in American culture since Glamour magazines’ article entitled “Top 10 College Women 2002,” a research fact states: “In 1959, only 35% of all college diplomas went to women. By 2001, that number had jumped to 57%.” (Glamour, 208)
Although similarities abound between these magazines, there are many differences in aesthetics and writing which make Mademoiselle 1963 and Glamour 2002 distinguishable. Firstly, the letters from the editors of the magazines are mirrors into their respective cultures and show a great change from the 1960’s to the 2000’ns. In Mademoiselle, the editor writes a full page letter describing and announcing upcoming events and articles that will appear in the next issue. Also, this letter even gives insight into famous moments in history as the editor writes:
“Mng. Ed. Is just back from a meeting at the White House called by the President to discuss his Civil Rights Bill with the heads of all the important women’s organizations in the country.” Opposite this long and detailed letter is the memo from the editor of Glamour. Here, the editor, Cindi Leive, writes a very short and casual paragraph “haphazardly” placed in the middle of a short section entitles “Dos, Don’ts, News and Views” and is surrounded by pictures of celebrities and advertisements. The importance of the letter from the editor has diminished because the need to make money from advertisers has increased.
Another difference between the magazines is the words used in articles relating to relationships and the opposite sex. In Mademoiselle 1963, the title of an article reads: “Sexual Morality and The Young.” Here, the basic principles of sex are described in scientific terms and polite diction. “…love-making by immature people may be motivated by much that is not love.” Contrary to this are the words used in an article entitled, “Men’s Startling Sex Wants,” from Glamour. The words are straightforward and explicit- “Surprise…he doesn’t want you to focus on his penis.” If one were to use this type of diction in a public magazine during the 1960’s, they would probably be talked about unfavorably.
Caught in the midst of a multitude of changes, Mademoiselle 1963 accomplished their task in attracting women to read their magazine. Still, women are preoccupied with fashion, beauty, and health. For this reason, Glamour has not changed drastically; it has simply modified itself to attract women of today’s society – working, highly motivated, intelligent and authoritative yet sometimes needing a break from life.