"A gender code is a culturally constructed belief system that dictates the appropriate roles and behavior for men and women in society. Though often justified on the basis of appeals to the 'natural' differences between the two sexes, gender codes usually reflect cultural values rather than natural facts." (Sonia Maas ik, Jack Solomon) By adapting to the behavior, roles, attitudes, and values of men in present society, Popular Science has largely become accepted as a magazine best suited for the male gender. A customer walks into a local magazine vender and sees a magazine titled, Popular Science, with its cover headings: "5, 000 MPH, Inside The Project That Aims To Make A Mach 8 Airplane Fly,"Hydrogen + By-Wire Now: The Driveable Version of GM's 'Skateboard' Car," and, "Lean Machine, Segway-Style Concept For A Wild Power Trike." Caught by these headings, the customer takes a copy from the shelf and begins to dive into its pages of fascinating details covering today's technological innovations. The customer is most likely a male. Advertisements and headliners, for example, are a mainstay media device for attracting certain individuals. By understanding the gender interests and values of the sexes, products are sold and trends are followed.
Page eleven of the November 2002 Hanesana 2 issue of Popular Science features an advertisement. The background displays a snow-covered home decorated with Christmas lights. The foreground shows an illuminated glass bottle of Crown Royal Liquor. Large footprints embed the snow on the ground near the bottle leading towards the front door of the home. The slogan says, "Here's to outdoing the neighbors." The image portrayed describes the male gender role that it is a man's job to put up the Christmas lights while the women stay inside their warm homes and tend to the children and other family matters. Page 106 of the same Popular Science issue provides a special section regarding the interior decoration and upgrade of a common household garage.
Instructions inform readers how to store tools ranging from lightweight and heavyweight, to gas and electric varieties. Supporting the adaptation to male gender behaviors, the magazine assumes that a man's haven is his garage. It is the place where he goes to relax and to think, without the constant jabber of the wife and kids. The garage is a man's sanctuary and the magazine suggests ways of which such a refuge can be cleverly enhanced for the hard working guy. Many sections of this magazine elaborate on advanced technology being adopted by the military and implemented in its aircrafts. The feature of stealth jets and bombers and high-speed aircraft suggests the male gender's venturous nature, such as the aggressive desires to blow objects up undetected and rise victorious from the battlefield.
Military jets also may depict men as the natural protectors, protecting themselves, their families, and their homes. The special article about a jet reaching speeds of Mach 8 Hanesana 3 exhibits the male passion of breaking barriers and expanding the limits and laws of physics and nature. When it comes to gadgets, cars, and high maintenance machinery, the male gender often seems to be quite knowledgeable in these areas. These aspects are what attract them, other than members of the opposite sex.
Popular Science does well in instigating these male interests, harnessing the concept of gender coding, thus ultimately made it into a predominantly male-read publication.