"Appearance potent"? A content analysis of UK gay and straight men's magazines

Glen Jankowski, Helen Fawkner, Amy Slater, Marika Tiggemann

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)


    With little actual appraisal, a more 'appearance potent' (i.e., a reverence for appearance ideals) subculture has been used to explain gay men's greater body dissatisfaction in comparison to straight men's. This study sought to assess the respective appearance potency of each subculture by a content analysis of 32 issues of the most read gay (Attitude, Gay Times) and straight men's magazines (Men's Health, FHM) in the UK. Images of men and women were coded for their physical characteristics, objectification and nudity, as were the number of appearance adverts and articles. The gay men's magazines featured more images of men that were appearance ideal, nude and sexualized than the straight men's magazines. The converse was true for the images of women and appearance adverts. Although more research is needed to understand the effect of this content on the viewer, the findings are consistent with a more appearance potent gay male subculture.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)474-481
    Number of pages8
    JournalBody Image
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014


    • Body dissatisfaction
    • Body image
    • Gay men
    • Magazines
    • Media


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