To what extent does this cover play on audience anxieties?

  • Making comparison with the cover star who is “ripped at 49” and their own bodies.
  • The imperative “Build” makes readers assume that their arms should look like this.
  • The dominant ideology is that you should be physically fit with obvious muscle tone. In addition you should also be stylish and rich.
  • The average male reader can easily feel anxious about their looks, aspects of their body, their health, what he eats, his sexuality, his job etc. Magazines often prey on these anxieties by telling their readers that they have the secret to make them feel good about themselves – make them feel much sexier, healthier and more alive. Conveniently, there are a lot of advertisers with products that say they can help with all of those things.

To what extent does Men’s Health, and other similar magazines, actually create these audience anxieties?

Discuss with reference to Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding process.