I have grown to hate despise magazines such as Cosmo. The first 20 pages or so are usually dedicated to ads for makeup, clothing, and perfume. The following pages consist of stupid relationship surveys, boring interviews with stars, and inaccurate horoscopes. What I have always noticed about these magazines that frustrates me the most is the homologous demographic of the audience. Articles and images reference the attractive, young, slim, middle class (at minimum) heterosexual female. And I just made another frustrating observation- the magazine speaks ONLY to heterosexual females. The image above displays this perfectly. “Little things that get HIM hot,” “10 things HE never wants to hear you say,” “Idea’s HE’LL he into.” Why is it assumed that the main goal in a young woman’s life is to please the man? What if a female doesn’t have a man in her life? What if she is interested in pleasing a woman? Are there even magazines for such questions?
Years and years ago our society only knew of heterosexuals, thus public mediums satisfied and spoke to the needs of heterosexual relationships. Today, our society is a bit different. Homosexuality is emerging in many ways; it is breaking the former taboo it used to be hidden beneath. Magazines such as Comso are almost sending the message that we must ensure the heterosexual relationship remains in tact. This carries with it more issues than just that of ignoring homosexuals.
Magazine headlines such as those listed above are sending bad messages to young woman. They imply so many things, such as that women need a man to be happy. Once a man is found they must work hard (through reading and quizzes) to satisfy the man. Once that is accomplished they must learn how to keep the man (i.e. by not saying and doing things he doesn’t want to hear). Such implications limit the young woman’s freedom in her quest for a relationship. This also makes the effort in a relationship seem one sided. Women should not be the only ones interested in making a relationship work. Such magazines are essentially taking women’s independence away from them. They most definitely do not need a man to make them happy and they shouldn’t spend so much time and money trying to figure out how to make a man happy. Magazines are BS- they serve to concrete purpose. They are a waste of money, embody too much materialism, and reinforce gender stereotypes that our society should instead be working to break.
This is a very good question. Why him? Well first off, i have to say that i think this magazine is a hysterical publication. They market themselves as a magazine for women, and sure guys dont really have make-up ads in our magazines, but i think cosmo is really for men. Having read a few issues, they preach all this stuff about how they polled like 8 thousand dudes and this what they think about sex. Thats all i see from this magazine, sex, sex, sex! And its never about how to please yourself, like katie said, its all about how to please your man. This magazine assumes that women are the ones who have a problem in bed. that they dont know how to do it right. But frankly, most of the time its the guys leaving the women unsatisfied. So i think this magazine should really start either targeting men as their audience, or actually put stuff in there that would be useful for a woman. As a guy who has read some cosmo, i just laugh when i open it. the articles about how to please your man never sound that pleasing. Maybe its just me, but some of the stuff they put in there is really dumb and definitely would not help at all in the bedroom.
So why can’t Cosmo do its intended job? I know little to nothing about the management and higher-ups for Cosmo but it wouldnt surprise me if a great number of them are men. To me Cosmo doesnt seem like its marketed the right way or to the right audience. And its also making it seem like women are the ones with a problem when most of the time its probably the dudes…
So…my mother recently subscribed me to Cosmo. ME of all people. While I have yet to receive my first issue…I do kind of anxiously await it in my mailbox so I can have something new to make fun of…although I suspect it will just end up pissing me off. I’ve read quite a few Cosmos in my day (oh hey, high school) and until I became a feminist paraphernalia-toting Women’s Studies major, I had never really thought twice about the magazine’s content, which I suspect is the case with many other women.
I am actually quite surprised that with the growing popularity of girl-on-girl culture in the mainstream that there has really been no presence of lesbians (or even bicurious) women in Cosmo. They published an article back in January ’09 entitled “What It’s Like to Love a Girl,” using Angelina Jolie and Lindsay Lohan as legitimizing examples…but that’sssssss about it.
I also find it interesting that the magazine’s tagline is “Fun, Fearless, Female” – the makings of potential empowerment, but alas…we look at the cover only to discover that female sexuality is being defined in terms of the male and being able to achieve and sustain his pleasure both sexually and in relationships. I went to Cosmopolitan.com and searched “masturbation” in their search bar (I love creating awkward library situations) and probably about half of the articles that come up are regarding a male and his masturbatory habits…or of course the age-old debate *cough*sarcasm*cough* of whether or not to masturbate in front of your boyfriend to turn him on. Hmm…..wait WHAT?
I think many people who don’t share my perspective view Cosmo as a pretty liberal publication…speaking so openly about sex and all. I argue, though, that it has quite conservative undertones that only serve to reinforce heteronormative and patriarchal societal conditions by, again, constructing female sexuality as being nearly inseperable from that of the male.
I totally agree with Katie’s response. I sometimes wonder how Cosmo Magazine is legitimately published every month. They have the same exact subject matter, ads, advice/tips, surveys, etc. every single month! I mean how many times can you read “the secret places to dab perfume to entice men” and “the hottest thing to say in bed”? Sometimes I pick up a Cosmo magazine to get in a good laugh. I really feel as though the writers struggle to come up with new material every month because of the extraordinarily narrow scope of their focus. Due to this, I feel like the tips, stories, etc. have become more and more absurd over time. The last time I read Cosmo, there was advice about turning on “your man” by stroking his body with makeup brushes and “gently tying” a strand of pearls around his genitalia. I am not joking. I read that and burst out laughing–like honestly, WTF. First of all, if I did own a strand of pearls, the last place I’d want to put them is on a penis. Second of all, why the hell is this women’s magazine so male-centric that it suggests new ways to tantalize male erogenous zones in almost every article? And lastly–the constant reference to things to do to/with “your man” is really annoying to me. What about all the people who are single? All the people who don’t have a man to call their own? (or don’t want one? fancy that blasphemous idea, Cosmo…) Cosmo really sets up the idea of “owning” a man as the ultimate goal for females, and if you don’t have a man of your own, follow these tips to find one. It sounds like a perverse version of my grandma, constantly reminding me that she was married at my age and inquiring whether or not I have a boyfriend every time I see her. Cosmo and grandma have a lot in common? Who would have thought.
Cosmo and other magazines like it are targeted to women in their 20’s. Issue after issue discusses the same topics and articles about relationships and sex. Nothing really ever changes with this magazine and it’s sad that so much of the magazine seems to be dedicated to “pleasing your man” or “how to get a man”. The reason this magazine sells is because of these particular articles because women feel that if they read as much of them as they can, then they will snag a man and know exactly what to do. But these magazines are not reality.
It makes me wonder how many teen girls pick up this magazine as opposed to seventeen or another younger magazine. I know that when I was in high school I never purchased cosmopolitan magazine because I thought it was too risky and that if anyone saw me reading it that I would look trashy. That is also due to the fact that I really did not know a lot about the stuff in cosmo magazine.
I love magazines! They’re colorful, more vivid and typically covering more than just the information that is usually found within the political spectrum. If you ask me, it is definitely a great alternative to the newspaper. However, the next matter to be address is the choice of magazine. As an avid lover of entertainment particularly celebrity gossip, I wouldn’t say no to a tabloid magazine. Granted most of the info given is not necessarily true, at least there is an established goal of targeting ALL audiences. Cosmopolitan may have initially started out with that objective in mind, but it is more than evident that this is not the case.
With its first issue making its debut in 1886, the now famed, highly sexualized, international publication transitioned from a family to then a literary and finally a women’s magazine. Funny it’s a “women’s magazine” and yet all almost every time an issue comes out the cover is filled with little tidbits of how to cater to their men, aside from the glamorous woman that usually graces the cover in some or very little clothing. So does this mean that the male equivalent magazines out there are totting tips that our men can use with us as well as a little eye candy for the ladies. Ummmmmm……no. It is the general consensus that the male equivalent of Cosmopolitan is Maxim, also a world renowned medium. The UK based FHM (For Him Magazine) comes in second. As far as the tips go, ALL FOR THE MEN. These two too opt to have attractive women on their covers. After all what man wants to see another man right?
This is truly unfortunate, but a norm that has been around for a couple of centuries.
Cosmopolitan is at the forefront of the numerous magazines with women supposedly as their targeted audiences. Yet they are not taking the initiative to revamp how they choose to cover a subject in the magazine. It really does seem as if it is condoning one-sided relationships where the women basically have to do all the work in order to maintain the relationship. So what, participation from the guy is not important? Yea….ok.
So I guess because we are desperate creatures in desperate need of companionship, there is no need for said participation. Hey let’s just do all the work. Forget about pleasing us.
We like to be catered to too. But I guess Cosmo missed out on the memo when they were giving out countless tips on how to be please him, which includes my favorite, “Little Things That Get Him Hot.”
So basically not only does it emphasize the needs of the man which are seemingly in dire need of being addressed but also implies that a woman needs a man to be happy, where the concept of the RIGHT man loving you for who you are is out of the question. So basically once you find him, here’s a slew of ways to keep him happy, not ways he could do the same for you.
It takes to tango Cosmo.
What I did not realize until reading these blogs is that, as Becky said, Cosmo is targeted to women in their 20’s. I would NEVER have guessed. The age groups I see reading this magazine are 14-16 year old girls. I worked at a summer camp this past summer and these girls are OBSESSED with these magazines and they laugh at them. I hope that their laughter is a good sign – that they don’t take anything in this magazine seriously. And how could they? It’s all a bunch of bulls**t. It’s entertainment. Those embarrassing stories…I read this magazine when I was their age, (at camp too – we had to sneak them in because they weren’t allowed) and those stories were soooo funny to us because they were so ridiculous. And at that age when they are obsessed with boys – because they no nothing about them and want to – these magazines cater to their needs by exposing every little secret about men possible.
Looking back on it, while writing this post, I am noticing how messed up it is that a 14 year old girl is reading about how to have sex and people’s promiscuous behavior that led them into embarrassing situations. But because I never took it seriously I don’t believe it affected me in terms of my own behavior in the years following. Am I being naive? do these things impress upon us more than we realize or more than we are willing to admit?
Okay I am all about women empowerment. I believe in women equality and take charge of my life with or without a man. Never allowing anyone, men or women, to deny me from my natural right or get away with degrading me because I am a woman. I am not sure if I am considered a feminist. I consider myself a feminist because I disagree with a man dominace. I believe in women and men equality.
I am an occasional, when I can afford it I buy it, cosmopolitan magazine reader. I love the magazine it gives me, a woman, a lot of advice on what to do with my hair, outfits, boyfriend and more. Yes these things may sound fake and/or shallow but I enjoy reading it. The same way some guys may enjoy reading a horrible comic or another woman may enjoy reading the retched art of cooking.
Now, Cosmopolitan is an advice magazine for fashion, sex and dating tip that targets women. First thing first, this magazine is not meant for every woman, only the one that have an interest in these topics. So why does a women magazine talk about men so much because that is what women usually talks about, DUH. This magazine gives women advice about what to do with HER man, HER hair, HER body and HER clothes. I do not see how someone can think this magazine is not for women. It is telling women about males, things women who are reading this magazine are interested in. If women want to know more about another topic, in which she has an interest in, find that kind of magazine. If you are a woman interested in home and decoration, than the Martha Stewart Living might be the magazine for her. However, there will always be someone who says how come this magazine that is meant for women talks so much about furniture?
Call me shallow but I like Cosmopolitan magazine because it holds my interest but if it does not for someone else maybe a different magazine is better. Just because Cosmopolitan target women do not mean it is for all women. Just because the shoe fit do not mean the buyer likes it.
This picture makes me want to say . . . AMEN! (ahhmen?) Cosmo has never once given me a single good bit of advice. I too get a good laugh at many of the sexual suggestions, and recognize that they are tired and in need of some new content. And why do I always have to be studying up on how to please my man? What happened to the old fashioned “you wont know until you try!” It never even crossed my mind to worry about my “skills” until I was told by society I was supposed to! A slightly embarrassing tidbit:
I remember being incredibly nervous about my first kiss. I was dating a boy in seventh grade and couldn’t wait to kiss him for the first time, but I had no idea how to do it right, or how to do it well. I couldn’t fall asleep at night for days because of my anticipation and anxiety over my first kiss, and whether or not I would be good enough for my seventh grade sweetheart. Adorable, right? Maybe, but it scares me to think that as a 12 year old I was already SO troubled with pleasing men. Cosmo magazine encourages women to alter and refine themselves to an ideal that will suit men, not to find men that are ideal to their strong, individually developed selves. Cosmo wants women to become clones of one another so as to attract one “ideal” man. The tan, buff, beautiful man. My seventh grade relationship only lasted two weeks. Not because I was bad at kissing, (I hope) but because I was too damn young and embarrassed to keep it up any longer. To this day, however, I still struggle with inadequacy. I think there are few women who do not. But at least I can open a Cosmo and laugh at the ridiculousness of the tips and sadness of the message behind them. Cosmo says, in much sexier, pinker script, “If you don’t do it our way you’ll end up old and alone.” Well, Cosmo, I’d rather be old and alone than endlessly striving for an impossible ideal to make him like me more. Awoman.
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