When I was younger I read Cosmo because it made me feel older. I saw working women on the underground with their tailored suits reading it, & that’s what I wanted to be. The headlines captured me, usually something about getting/keeping a man, how to be sexy, what men find sexy, orgasms, sexy famous women & how they got sexy, how to have good sex, bad sex stories – you catch my drift. A few years on & I don’t buy it anymore for the following reasons:
- It’s £3.20+ (this was the driving force at the time I stopped buying)
- I rarely see women of colour on the covers
- It tries to empower women & fails.
I understand sexual liberation and how important it is for women. I understand that it is vital that the image of women being shy and coy about sex is one that does not reflect the truth and needs to be demolished. I understand that it is important to let the masses know that there is nothing wrong with a woman who enjoys sex; she is not a whore/hoe/prostitute (unless she herself claims to be). However, Cosmo doesn’t portray these ideals. Instead it feeds women one image of sexy (she’s not a woman of colour – unless she’s Eva Longoria/Beyoncé/J-Lo/Halle Berry*, & she’s rarely plus size – Adele featured once & surprise, surprise, she’s slimed down) and also paints a picture that although women can, maybe, possibly do other things the most important thing she needs to worry about is sex. In earlier issues it was about how women can achieve orgasms or make sex for them more pleasurable, in more recent years it’s about men’s confessions or how they can make their men enjoy sex better.
Side: Men deserve good sex too but we have more than enough material on that.
Recently I subscribed to Huffington Post Women, a division of The Huffington Post news outlet that deals specifically with women’s issues/news, as the title suggests. I subscribed because I hoped to read interesting news on a variety of topics that affected women, I was hoping to avoid the overindulging sexual nature of Cosmo and get something more edifying.
Unfortunately, I looked in the wrong place.
Almost every single e-mail I’ve received has been about improving one’s sex life [insert array of methods here], how to attract the opposite sex, a number of “rules” about having different kinds of sex, etc, etc. It’s disappointing. While the women’s blogs that are promoted in the e-mails provide interesting topics, the actual news articles themselves are dull and mind numbing. I’m not saying don’t write about sex, not at all, but I feel like I’m being bombarded from most angles about it & it’s suffocating. I mean, I would’ve expected to receive an e-mail about the Rhonda Lee * situation, alas they’ve said nothing.
I used to put the Huffington Post in the VIP section, their news stories were quality (I thought) but after the article on the Jenny Johnson vs Chris Brown debacle & this, they’ve been moved to standard seating (along with The Guardian). Disappointing.
- * There are other WOCs that Cosmo have used, see how many you can count from this gallery of ’10 Years of Sizzling Covers’, it won’t be more than 30. It won’t be near 30.
- *Although this was mainly considered a race issue, and rightly so, it was also a woman’s issue because the viewer’s idea of what a woman should look like was founded in patriarchy and misogyny and one that should be challenged more often.
An extra lil something: here’s a recent article about employment for women of ethnic minorities. Shocking?