Maxim is a monthly men’s magazine founded in 1995 that features articles about men’s health, fashion, sports, consumer goods, and other male activities and men’s culture. It is most readily identified with the rise of self-indulged, fashion-conscious metrosexuals. The magazine is also well known for its non-nude photography of female celebrities, models, musicians, and actresses, which can overshadow the magazine’s features and articles that discuss the male beauty industry. Maxim competes for readers with other magazines like Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ), Esquire, and Men’s Health, also focused on the male beauty industry but not distinguished by non-nude photography of women.
Maxim was first published in the United Kingdom in 1995 before being published in the United States and other countries. Unlike the American version, the British version features topless photography of women. The magazine is published by Dennis Publishing and is promoted alongside its sister magazines like music focused Blender. Maxim is an industry leader in the United States, with a reported circulation of over 2 million readers. The magazine targets 18-to-30-year-old men and provides entertainment and advice on a variety of issues men face, including male beauty and health concerns. The male beauty industry is heavily advertised and marketed in Maxim and issues typically feature interviews with male celebrities and models. Interviewees also include actors, musicians, and politicians, and discussions often revolve around the celebrity and fashion industries, fitness and health regimes, and opinions on careers. There are also articles and reviews of new consumer goods like electronics and cars, and field reporting and columns on city life, subcultures, and films and television. Issues have also explored the nightlife of certain cities and included hot spots and places of interest for traveling men. Calendar-based articles are also featured, with information on elections and seasonal activities included when pertinent and relevant to men’s culture.
The success of the magazine has led to its introduction in other markets outside the United Kingdom and the United States. Maxim is published in over 25 other countries, including countries in Europe, South America, and Asia. An official Web site was launched in 1999 and features pictures and content not available in the print issues. The Web site also includes collections of photographs from a majority of the women it has featured and exclusive videos and interviews. A satellite radio channel was launched with Sirius Satellite in 2005. The magazine has also expanded its brand name into other projects and products, with special products derived from the magazine’s prominent features. The magazine routinely undertakes searches to find women to mark as the most attractive in a certain geographic area or profession.
The interviews and discussions contributed by women photographed for Maxim are also overshadowed by the near nudity of the photographs. Articles and interviews with women photographed concern their approaches to their careers, opinions on their appearance, and how they are portrayed in the media. The quotations chosen from interviews to accompany images of these women can also detract from the information about their chosen health and fitness regimes.
The near nudity of the women featured in Maxim has given the magazine its most notable feature, since the women photographed are as close to nudity as allowed. Some retailers, including chain Walmart, have deemed the magazine pornography and do not carry it in stores. Written content and advertisements have also caused retailers to stop carrying the magazine. The photography and some advertisements featured in the magazine have also led to allegations of sexist depictions of women from some groups. The success of the magazine due to its near-nude photography has spread to its sister magazines, with similar criticisms laid at Blender for featuring more sex-based photographs than information on music and music culture.