Posted by Abby Wolner
GQ’s November cover raises questions of audience for magazine publishers. The cover and photo spread feature stars of the high school melodrama, Glee. Critics of the cover and spread think the photos are inappropriate for the show’s young audience. The Parents Television Council is cited in The New York Times as saying the cover “borders on pedophilia.” A blogger for the Guardian says the photos “betray the spirit of the show,” calling them “amazingly sexist.”
Let’s take a step back, however. GQ is magazine for adults. The average reader is 33 years old, not a sixteen-year-old high school student. Isn’t it ok, then, for the magazine to publish photos targeted toward adults? I would say “yes.” I think magazines should focus first on the desires of their subscribers.
The June issue of Vogue featured photos of a scantily clad Blake Lively. The actor is an idol to many teen fans of Gossip Girl. I couldn’t find any criticism of these photos, however, even though they are equally sexual. The average age of Vogue reader’s is almost identical–34–yet there appears to be a different standard.
To me, there should be no difference. Both magazines published photos that were appropriate for their audience and indicative of the magazine’s style. If the photos were published in Seventeen, the critiques might be valid, but they are adult-appropriate photos for an adult audience.