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1 Background of study
Youth is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood
to adulthoods independence and awareness of our interdependence as members of a
community. (UNESCO, 2014). In Malaysia, youth range is between 15 years old until 40
years old. Youth plays an important role in improving and developing the nations education
and workforce globally. However, with fast paced technology and rapid development, it is
difficult to control youths way of thinking and behaviour as there are too many medium of
communication; media. One of the influences portrayed by the media is stereotyping and it is
a barrier for the nation in creating a healthy, creative and innovative youth generation in
Stereotyping is a major concern in influencing ones way of thinking of a certain ideas
or concept. According to Fiske (2010), stereotyping is an application of an individuals own
thought, beliefs and expectations onto other individuals without first obtaining factual
knowledge about the individual(s).This research paper will be focusing on one type of
stereotypical idea which is physical attractiveness stereotype.
Physical attractiveness stereotype or best known as beauty stereotype is best defined as the
assumption made on people who are physically attractive and possess other socially desirable
traits. Through this research, we are looking at the dissemination of beauty stereotyping on
youth through Malaysias magazine covers.
1.1 Statement of the problem
In this current setting of 21st century, media is seen as the major means of
communication where news, entertainment, education, knowledge, messages and so forth are
propagated to the public. The significant role of media in providing us valuable input is to be
acknowledged. However, media can also become a negative channel of communication that
can influence the publics perception on ideas or phenomenon. The media is able to propagate
various stereotyping ideas naturally without us realizing it.
The propagation of stereotypical ideas and beliefs are very much prevalent in both
publishing and electronic media globally and not to be missed, in Malaysia. There have been
many researches done on stereotype beliefs disseminated through printed media, which are
magazines, banners, posters, advertisements, brochures and so on. However, most of the
research papers focused on gender stereotype. Deeper analysis on beauty stereotype has not

been done thoroughly, especially in portraying youths stereotypical beliefs. Therefore, this
research paper is done to investigate on how media is portraying youth through beauty
stereotype disseminated by local magazine covers.
1.2 Research Objectives
In general, this research paper aims to examine the beauty stereotyping portrayed on
youth in Malaysias magazine covers. By using three different types of local magazine
covers, it is hoped that this research can discover the stereotypical beliefs in regards to
physical attractiveness propagated within the covers itself. Apart from examining the way the
magazine covers portrayed youth with the idea of beauty stereotypes, this research paper also
intent to find out how the media, especially magazine shapes the perception on beauty
standard among Malaysian youth.
1.3 Research Questions
There are two research questions expected to be answer by the end of this research.
The two research objective will be guided through these questions:
1. What are the elements of beauty stereotyping of youth potrayed by three local
magazine covers?
2. How do the magazine covers shape the perception on beauty standard among
Malaysian youth?
The first research question will look at the different elements contained on the
magazine covers that represent the ideas of beauty stereotypes on youth. By using semiotic
analysis framework where the master heading, main image, main cover story, cover stories
and overall layout will be analyse to answer the first question. Meanwhile, the second
question looks at the way these beauty stereotypes portrayed on youth by most local
magazine covers in Malaysia can influence youths perception. It is to analyse whether the
magazine covers will influence their perception positively or negatively.
1.4 Limitations of the Study
This research has its own limitations in terms of data generalization. It is noticeable
that the selection of participants was made only within the urban areas. All participants were
selected randomly from the area in Kuala Lumpur. There are no participants to represent

ideas from any of the rural areas in Malaysia. Therefore, it is hard to generalize the whole
data analysis gathered from this research. Besides that, this research faces own time
limitation. Only 2 months were used to gather and analyse the data. Therefore, only 3 types of
magazine covers were looked into Thus, generalization in regard to beauty stereotype
portrayed on youth by the magazine in Malaysia is beyond reach.
2.0 Literature review
Magazine Readership amongst Youth
Abundant of researches regarding stereotypes in media covered the area of gender
stereotyping. However, this study tackles the area of beauty stereotyping because beauty
stereotyping, as gender stereotyping, has a large impact too on the readers, particularly youth
as they are the ones who read magazines and are more exposed to them compared to other
age groups. According to Rajesh Shukla who did a research entitled Indian Youth
Demographics and Readership, two out of every eight households of graduate and above
youth, one out of every eight households of higher secondary passed, and one out of every
15 households of primary passed have magazine subscription. This study shows that youth
does read magazines in spite of the advent of technology that makes them glued to the
Media and Perfect Body Image
Magazines propagate the image of beauty is good, unattractiveness is bad ideology
through the use of flawless looking models on their cover pages. Beauty is related to having
perfect body and flawless face structure due to the idea that is being slowly embedded
through the use of models. One related research is done by Benjie Achtenberg where he
discusses about how the mass media influences the adolescent mind. His particular focus was
on the concept of body image. He measures this using three methods; a survey which is given
to each student, a collaborative poster/collage project and presentation and a one page written
response about the unit. The finding was the data showed that the media is the single most
influential source in these students lives with respect to their perspectives of body image
(Achtenberg, 2015).
Beauty Stereotype Affects Youth

In a research done by Griffin and Langlois (2006), Stereotype Directionality and

Attractiveness Stereotyping: Is Beauty Good or is Ugly Bad?, they discussed about how
attractive looking people are associated with positive behaviours and unattractive looking
people are associated with negative behaviours. Two experiments were done on two age
groups; college students and school children in order to find out whether this belief is true. At
the end of the study, it was found that unattractiveness is a disadvantage, consistent with
negativity bias (Griffin and Langlois, 2006).
These are what motivated this research; how the media does beauty stereotype of
youth in order to influence other young minds to subscribe to the same belief.
3.0 Framework & Methodology
3.1 Theoretical framework
This research will adopt semiotic analysis framework and Norman Faircloughs three
dimensional framework of discourse analysis of communicative events. Semiotic analysis is
defined as a study of meaning-making, the philosophical theory of signs and symbols
(Wikipedia). Thus, the researchers feel it is appropriate to employ this analysis to study
Malaysian magazine covers to discover beauty stereotype of Malaysia youth.
Another framework adopted for this study is Norman Faircloughs three dimensional
framework. This framework aims to interpret the motivation behind the use of linguistic
elements in discourse and to explain the sociocultural background of the discourse. This
research is also trying to find out how the ideology of beauty is disseminated to youth which
in turn leads to the existence beauty stereotyping of youth in media, particularly, magazines.



Collect 3 types of
local magazines

Semiotic Analysis
(looking at
master heading,
main image,
main cover
stories, layout,



Structure Survey
(15 questions in

Fairclough's Three
Framework to
decipher responses
from the survey
(Find out sociocultural influence)

Use descriptive
charts and

Figure A: Research design

3.2 Methodology
3.2.1 Data collection
For this research, we are choosing cover pages of three different magazines and we
are collecting three issues covers for each magazine. The magazines we have chosen are
Remaja, Health Today and Majalah Keluarga. Remaja is chosen because it is amongst the
most popular, teen entertainment magazine, Health Today as it talks about health and lifestyle
and Majalah Keluarga because some of our respondents read that magazine. The covers are
taken from the month of January 2015 to March 2015.
We will also do an online survey to collect youths feelings and perceptions when they
about the magazine covers that they read. We will formulate 15 questions; 10 multiple choice
questions and 5 subjective questions. The survey questions will cover topics such as their
thoughts about the magazine covers and whether they will emulate the models on the cover in
real life.

The target participants are 20 males and 20 females from a public university in Kuala
Lumpur. The target age of the sample is from between 20 to 25 years old. The sampling is
3.2.2 Data Analysis
For the magazine covers, we will use the Semiotic Analysis framework for data analysis
purpose. Elements on the cover such as the font, the colours, the model, the layout and etc
will be analyzed and labelled accordingly.
As for the survey, we will disseminate the survey through online using Google Docs.
The answers will be analyzed using Faircloughs Three Dimensional Framework. The
answers will be presented in a separate spreadsheet on Google Docs and we will present the
findings in pie chart form for the multiple choice questions and the subjective answers will be
discussed in the discussion section of the paper.
4.0 Results and Discussion
This chapter focuses on addresses the two research questions introduced earlier:
1. What are the elements of beauty stereotyping of youth potrayed by three local magazine
covers? (Section 4.1)
2. How do the magazine covers shape the perception on beauty standard among Malaysian
youth? (Section 4.2)
4.1 Semiotic Analysis
4.1.1 Remaja Magazine
Three magazines covers published in Malaysia were selected for semiotic analysis
discussion; Remaja Magazine, Health Today Magazine and Keluarga Magazine. Only
January issues until March issues of 2015 were selected to study the elements of beauty
stereotyping of youth portrayed by these local magazine covers. The elements studied from
these magazine covers are the master heading (masthead), main image, main cover story,
cover stories and the overall layout of the magazine covers.
In January issue as seen in the image 1.1 of appendix, the masthead is in bigger font,
bold and black in colour as to attract the readers attention from far when it is on sale.

Besides, the masthead is using the malay word remaja as to represent youth in Malaysia as
their target audience. For the main image of Remajas January issue, the magazine is using 3
main images of well-known young actor and actresses that are famous for their acting in local
television dramas and also film.
They are Juliana Evans, Aedy Ashraff and Izara Aishah. The stance of these cover
models are to represent the energetic, cheerful and fresh vibe of youth in celebrating New
Year of 2015. They are providing relaxed pose and confident gaze as to interact with the
readers that they are confident with 2015 as a great new year. The choice of clothing for the
models is bright and vibrant to bring out the cheerfulness of the actresses and masculinity for
the actor. It is seen that the models faces are vibrant. This is to show that attractiveness is the
main selling point for magazines. Flawless make up and perfect body shape are the main
elements to attract youths to read buy and read the magazine.
The main cover story is highlighted with bigger font and bright coloured on number
2015. The phrase Fabulous starts now! is located right below of 2015 as to accentuate the
idea that 2015 will be a fabulous year. Moreover, fabulous is always relatable to beauty and
glamorous. So, the focus story in January issue of Remaja magazine is on being beautiful.
Only selected cover stories are displayed on the cover. Small font size is used to set apart
from the main cover story and most of the cover stories are about beauty content contained in
this issue. The overall layout of Remajas magazine January issue creates inviting and
fantastic aura for readers by reading the magazine. The colours used are very elegant yet
cheerful in providing readers to expect exciting stories included stories included in January
For Remaja magazine of Februarys issue, the font Remaja is in bigger font and
white in colour as to represent pure idea of love. Since February is known for Valentines day,
thus the font is in white and it has the youthful element of their target readers. The masthead
is partly set behind the model. This shows that Remaja is a well-known and iconic magazine
for youth. So, covering part of the title is nothing much. As shown in image 1.2, Februarys
issue of Remaja magazine used Emma Maembong as its main cover model. The model is
looking directly at the reader as to draw attention of this issues highlight. Besides, her
confident gaze portrays high confidence level of her own look; which is in line with the
highlighted cover story of Februarys issue.

The model is wearing hijab with full covered clothing. So, she is providing the idea
that Muslim women can stay confidence with their own fashion style and also in life. The
moderate make-up of the model yet a flawless look connotes the simplicity in her looks and
her high self-esteem. Despite that, the appeal shown by the model is very charming and
engaging to the reader. The main cover story is located at the right bottom of the cover. The
font is bigger with love symbol and the font highlighted the idea of love as the main cover
story of Februarys issue. The font is in black and pink colour to accentuate the love of your
own look and your own love life. Thus, the cover highlighted the phrase Love your look!.
On Remaja magazine cover of March issue, the masthead is in bigger font and blue in
colour as to synchronize with the main images clothing style. In image 1.3, Marchs issue of
Remaja magazine used the actress, Ayda Jebat as its main cover model. Her direct gaze,
friendly pose and cheerful aura on this cover suggests that she is very friendly and welcoming
for the readers to find out more about her.
Other than that, the selected clothing style for March issue implies that she is the girl
next door and easily approachable. Besides, the models less excessive make up shows the
simplicity and moderate life of a normal girl in line with the main cover story of campus
students lifestyle. The main cover story is located at the left bottom of the cover and the font
is bigger with yellow in colour. The concise font highlighted the focus story on campuss
lifestyle which is in this Marchs issue.
From the analysis done on 3 issues of Remaja magazine, the elements shown on the
covers are referring to the ideas of beauty stereotyping. Using young cover models with a
flawless face structure and perfect body shape is one of the main selling points for Remaja
magazine in targeting their readers which are the youth in Malaysia. The usage of vibrant
make-up is another pointer of beauty stereotype portrayed by magazine cover. This must have
been the only stereotypical belief in regard to beauty that only beautiful cover models will be
able to attract readers to buy and read this magazine.
4.1.2 Health Today Magazine
On Health Today Magazines cover for January issue, the masthead is bigger and
purple in colour. The bold and modern font implies the importance of healthy lifestyle and
eventually connects with the targeted readers. In addition to that, the masthead is partly set
behind the model. This also shows that Health Today is a well-known and iconic magazine

for healthy and lifestyle. So, covering part of the title is nothing much. As for the main image
of January issue as shown in image 2.1 at the appendix section, the main image model is
Kristen Bell. Her pose is very confidence and attractive as she is looking directly to the
The pose provided by her simply connotes that she is proud with her body and makes
her looks as someone who is always active at all-time despite her busy schedule as a
Hollywood actress. The full shot of the main image gives a better impact for the readers to
fell for the models attraction in providing her lifestyles information. The simple make-up
but flawless look highlighted the idea that she has a simple values in her life and she is
confident with her own look and body. The models name and her cover story are written
bigger where the word Big is much bigger than the others as to emphasize her great
personality despite having a small body.
Most of the selected stories included in this issue are about health and womens
fitness. Different colours and different font sizes are used to emphasize the varieties of cover
stories included in this issue. The overall layout of this issue is a bit packed with various
cover stories. However, it is arranged in an organized manner as to differentiate which is the
main cover story and other cover stories. Other than that, the stance of the big main image is
very inviting and allows readers to feel the need in buying this issue. The purple background
provides the idea of high imagination and spirituality. This goes well with the models true
character that will be told as the main cover story of Januarys issue.
For February issue of Health Today Magazine as shown in image 2.2, the masthead of
Health Today is located at the top centre of the cover. The font is large and it is a soft hue of
salmon pink colour. The bold and modern font implies the importance of healthy lifestyle and
eventually connects with the targeted readers. The masthead is partly set behind the model.
The actress, Emma Stone was featured as the main image of Februarys issue. It is a
close up shot of the model allowing readers to be able to see this magazine from far and
drawn them closer to read this issue. The models stance is showing elegance and great poise
own by the model. The idea of using this model is to provide the idea that she has elegant
lifestyle on a par with her own name, Stone; which is associated with high quality gemstone.
Besides that, the simple make-up on her implies the idea of flawless and perfectly natural
look for an actress. Looking elegant and glamourous is the main focus highlighted through
the model.

In March issue of Health Today magazine, the masthead is located at the top centre of
the cover as seen in image 2.3. The font is large and it is white in colour. Again, the bold and
modern font implies the importance of healthy lifestyle and eventually connects with the
targeted readers. This magazine had featured the actress, Blake Lively for its March issue.
The main image is placed at the centre of the cover with her mid shot as the highlight. This
allows her to be the main focus point of this issue and attract readers to see it from far. Her
pose connotes the fabulous and glamorous idea of her lifestyle. Her beautiful yet simple
make-up highlight that she is flawless and has great body shape for readers to look forward to
when reading this issue.
The main cover story of March issue is located at the bottom right of the cover. The
models name and her cover story are written bigger using script decorative font to illustrate
the glamourous character of the model. Meanwhile, the phrase Aint just a bombshell under
the models name emphasize that she is not just living her life glamorously but she is more
than that.
Various colours, font type and sizes are used to provide the varieties of other
highlighted stories included in Marchs issue. Besides, it is also to point out the main cover
story of the issue. Playing around with colours also help this magazines March issue to look
interesting and attractive to the reader. The overall layout of this cover is very well organized.
Both main image and main cover story is very well highlighted on the cover. In addition to
that, the important story is located at the above and allows reader to look from top to bottom
in finding out more about this issue. This choice of colour for its background allows the
model to look calm and provide the sense of loyalty in her lifestyle.
4.1.3 Keluarga Magazine
The third selection of magazine covers is Keluarga Magazine. In January issue as
shown in image 3.1, the masthead of Keluarga is bigger and pink in colour. The colour pink
of the masthead implies the idea of unconditional love, nurturing and girlish which is in line
with the main image of parents and their baby girl. Ally Iskandar and his family are featured
in Januarys issue. Besides, the direct gaze of the family is engaging the reader to buy and
read this issue as to know more about this family. Since Ally is a well-known emcee and
host, the loving pose between him, his wife and their daughter shows great affection between

them and attract new and regular targeted readers. The simple make-up on the wife implies
that she is a flawless and beautiful mother of one. This is very effective in making readers to
know more about her beauty and lifestyle secret and encourage them to buy this issue.
The main cover story of Keluarga magazines January issue is located at the top left of
the cover. The simple grey and white border beside the title helps to highlight which is the
main cover story of Januarys issue. The title used bigger font and capital letters with
contrasting colours of grey and pink. The selected stories are distributed at the left side of the
cover and some at the top right below the masthead. Most of the highlighted stories are on
family issues and lifestyle. The usage of white, grey and pink colour is to feature the varieties
of stories contained in the issue.
For February issue of Keluarga magazine as shown in image 3.2, the masthead of
Keluarga is bigger and blue in colour. It is located at the top of the cover as to allow readers
to recognize the label from far and catch their attention when it is on sale. The blue colour of
the masthead gives the impression of trust and peace which is the focus point of this family
magazine. This is also to relate with the idea of an ideal family for their targeted readers.
The main cover story is located at the top left of the cover. The bright yellow colour
enables readers to know the main issues contained in Februarys issue. The phrase Ibu
Hujung Minggu is in bigger font, emphasizing the focus on mothers activity during the
weekend in line with the full shot of family cyclings activity in a park. Pink, blue and white
colours are used to feature other important stories. Different colours are used for different
highlighted topics because it can attract the specific targeted readers that are interested with
certain topics contained in this issue.
The overall layout of Februarys issue provides exciting and calming aura of an ideal
family for the readers to catch attention when it is on sale. The full family shot at a park gives
the impression of balance and growing affection within this family. Besides, it will naturally
attract readers to know more about this family and lead them to buy this February issue of
Keluarga magazine.
Lastly, the March issue of Keluarga magazine as shown in image 3.3, the masthead of
Keluarga is bigger and red in colour. The red colour of the masthead connotes the idea of
energy and passion of a family. This will definitely relate to the targeted readers on their
Marchs issue. Actress Fasha Sandha and her family are featured in Marchs issue. The full

shot of this family as the main image of this issue is showing the growing affection between
each other along with their 2 children. The direct gaze and confident pose of this family is
able to draw the readers attention and convince them that they are a loving and happy family.
The familys elegant and stylish clothing represents their prosperity and wealth. Both
parents are very successful in their respective field. Readers will be intrigued to know more
about them by reading this issue. The flawless make-up on actress Fasha connotes the idea
that she is perfect as mother and a woman.
The main cover story is located at the right bottom corner of the cover. Green and
white colour highlighted the important topic covered in Marchs issue. The phrase Belanja
ikut keperluan bukan ikut kehendak is written in larger and slanted to emphasize its
important factor in taking care of a family. Some cover stories are written in white and green
colours as to support the main cover story of this issue. Only one topic is written in red colour
as to highlight another important story for Marchs issue and attract other specific targeted
reader to read on that particular story. The overall layout of Marchs issue is very organized.
The highlights of its main cover story and other stories provide exciting and passionate
stories for readers to look forward from this issue. The stair background has successfully
highlighted the presence of this growing and loving family.
These selected issues from Keluarga magazine shows that their model should be
representing the perfect and ideal family that most readers are dreaming on having one. Most
of their cover models are shown as one perfect family with no flaws and problems in their
life. Besides, the ways the cover models are living their life are shown through their clothing
style. However, the cover models makeup is looking too flawless as to connote that they are
perfectly beautiful and looking perfect as parents.
4.2 Survey Analysis
For Figure 1, most of the respondents read magazines. For Figure 2, the most popular
types of magazines read by the respondents are entertainment, home and living and sports.
For Figure 3, the respondents see woman most in the covers of the magazines that they read.
For Figure 4, the respondents associate the concept of beauty with flawless face structure and
perfect body, For Figure 5, the respondents notice the magazine layout and topics first when
they see a magazine. For Figure 6, most of the respondents feel that there is an element of
beauty stereotyping in the magazine covers. For Figure 7, most of the readers understand the

concept of beauty stereotyping. For Figure 8, most of the respondents feel that the magazines
are using the beauty stereotyping as their selling point. For Figure 9, most of the respondents
feel that the models on the cover do not represent the fair definition of beauty.
The answers for multiple choice questions in the survey expose the idea that the
respondents are well aware of the existence of beauty stereotyping and some of them are
influenced by it judging from their answer for Figure 4. Woman are mostly associated with
concept of beauty because they are the ones who are most presented on the cover pages of the
magazines. The respondents understand the concept of beauty stereotyping and they agree
that whatever presented on the cover page does not represent the fair definition of beauty.
For Figure 10 to Figure 10.4, the respondents are given statements in which they have
to rate according to Likert Scale; 5 for strongly agree and 1 for strongly disagree. It can be
inferred that most of them do not feel inferior with the models beauty on cover page and do
not wish to emulate the appearance of the models. For most of the questions, neutral answer
is their choice which shows that they are not influenced by the elements on the cover page
although they do admit to see beauty stereotyping on the magazine covers.
All in all, it can be concluded from the findings of the survey that Malaysian youths
are aware of the concept of beauty stereotyping of youth and many of them feel it is not
important to follow the youth models on the cover page. Although some of them associate
flawless face and perfect body structure with the concept of beauty, it has been revealed that
only the concept enters their minds but not the desire to be like the youth models.
5.0 Concluding Remarks
It is safe to say that beauty stereotyping of youth is prevalent in Malaysia through the
analysis of the survey and semiotic analysis of the magazinescover pages. It is important to
note that Malaysian youth are not influenced by the beauty stereotyping elements exposed in
the magazine covers. It has also been revealed that they feel comfortable being in their own
skin. Beauty stereotyping of youth can be damaging to youths mind and perception of it
continues to be presented to them persistently. This is because they associate the ideas of
having prefect body and flawless face structure to the concept of beauty. Youths need to be
properly educated about this subject matter as to not become a damaging factor in the future.
6.0 Benefits of the Study

First and foremost, we found out that there is, indeed, the element of beauty
stereotyping of youth presented in media, particularly magazines. We have also managed to
identify the selling point of the magazines in Malaysia, which is the element of beauty
stereotyping of youth. We would do this research again in the future to see whether we will
get the same result or different results and examine the degree of change that has occurred
ever since the last research.