Recently, we spoke out about Cosmopolitan Magazine featuring an article on their site titled, “The 15 Best Porn Sites For Women.” The article started off by saying: “As we all know (because we are women), women enjoy porn just as much as guys do.” And it ended by saying: “[We’ve] gotten especially picky and reviewed the best 15 sites for woman-friendly porn. Now let’s broaden our horizons, shall we?”
That pretty much sums up the type of content you can find from Cosmopolitan. The magazine released its first issue as a “women’s fashion magazine”in 1965 and has continued publishing into 2015 where it has become known almost exclusively for its racy cover models and ever racier headlines dealing with sex and porn. But the jig may be up for the previously unrestricted sexual content that has been available to minors at any local grocery or convenience store.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), a Washington D.C.-based organization with the mission to “lead the change in public policy and cultural trends that foster sexual exploitation,” recently announced that two massive retailers have agreed to put protective blinders on Cosmopolitan Magazines, “due to the magazine’s inappropriate content and covers.”
Rite Aid and Delhaize America — owner of Hannaford stores and Food Lion — agreed to place Cosmopolitan behind covers in their stores to shield minors from the magazine’s notoriously raunchy cover models and headlines. Rite Aid confirmed the news by saying: “We will continue to carry this publication. We are working to place future issues of this publication behind pocket shields.
One of the leaders of this breakthrough was Victoria Hearst, ironically part of the family that founded Cosmopolitan’s publishing company, Hearst Corp. Hearst created a campaign called “Cosmo Harms Minors” to seek change in the corporation that her family runs. After partnering with the National Center of Sexual Exploitation, Hearst and NCSE sought to make it common practice for Cosmo to only be sold to adults and have the cover wrapped “like all other porn magazines in retail shops.”
Hearst clarified her mission by stating: “We’re not trying to censor Cosmo. We’re not trying to put it out of business. All we’re saying is, you want to print pornography, I can’t stop you.”
The executive director of the NCSE, Dawn Hawkins, further defined the intent of the campaign by saying: “We are just bringing this to the attention of the retailers and helping them to see that their customers also want this magazine removed from the view of children. We hope that covering it sends the message to shoppers that Cosmo is not a women’s friendly magazine, but that it really is pushing women to accept the pornified and sexually violent culture around us.”
Hawkins explained that Cosmopolitan’s placement in stores, commonly featured at checkout stands for any and all to see, would be changed in all 4,600 Rite Aid stores and the 1,000-plus Food Lion and Hannaford stores across the country. When asked if she believed the magazine’s sales would decline, Hawkins cited a poll that out of 1,000 people surveyed, about 65% agreed that Cosmo covers were “inappropriate for viewers of all ages.”
Many people may be asking, why are they targeting Cosmopolitan specifically? Admittedly, there are several magazines like Cosmo that feature highly photoshopped, highly revealing cover models with overtly sexual headlines. But Hawkins believes that Cosmo stands in a league of its own, one of the reasons being its infamous placement in checkout lines.
“The content in Cosmopolitan Magazine is very different from the other women’s magazines in the checkout line,” Hawkins explained. “Many people think that it is just another magazine with beauty, fashion and health tips, but Cosmo is actually just another porn magazine glamorizing and legitimizing a dangerous lifestyle — pushing readers to try violent, group or anal sex. Articles often encourage readers to engage in one-night stands or random hookups with strangers. The magazine is pornographic and should be treated as such, meaning specifically that it should not be in plain view of children at the checkout line.”
Cosmopolitan answered back with a statement regarding the decision, saying: “Cosmopolitan is the most successful global media brand for young women, publishing 60 editions in 79 countries and 32 languages. Its award-winning content is produced for adults by leading female journalists. We are proud of all that the brand has achieved for women around the world in the areas of health, relationships, career, politics, equality and social issues.”
Well, with articles that are constantly degrading women as sex objects and promoting promiscuous/unhealthy sexual behavior, it seems that for the first time, people are seeing Cosmopolitan for what it really is. We recently received a tweet from a girl who summed up the message that magazines like Cosmopolitan are essentially sending to women in society:
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