10 Reasons Why I Hate Cosmopolitan Magazine

cosmopolitan message


Cosmopolitan Magazine has been irking feminists for some time. For, it must be admitted, more than 10 reasons.

‘Cosmopolitan’ is…

  1. Made up of diverse peoples. Composed of or containing people from different countries and cultures
  2. A cocktail consisting of vodka, orange-flavoured liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice.
  3. A women’s magazine with a monthly offering of dating tips, celeb gossip and style advice.

Well, Cosmopolitan sure ain’t number one on the list. There are more than ten reasons to dislike or boycott Cosmopolitan and other such magazines, depending on the individual. Without wishing to dictate, I’ve listed my ten biggest concerns:

10. If Cosmopolitan was a country, its name would be the only diverse thing about it.

In Cosmo world everyone works in an office (one where it’s appropriate and necessary to wear a teeny hot pink blazer and shorts if that’s what a celebrity is wearing this week).

In Cosmo world everyone isn’t necessarily the same race, but that’s no excuse not to have your hair in beach tendrils and try lilac blusher.

In Cosmo world every woman is straight as a ruler and wants sex, sex, sex all the time… with men who all look pretty much the same.

In the real world I’m stuck reading this magazine’s website (not wanting to waste my money on a hard copy) wondering what exactly is wrong with me for not having this ‘perfect’ life… and for not wanting it.

9. Men and women aren’t all that different. We certainly don’t need to ‘decode’ each other.

In my teenage years I would religiously read all the helpful tips, trying to work out if a boy was lying about liking my best friend by how much of his pupil was visible…

Needless to say, I was later turning to my Cosmo looking for the best way to deal with a heartbroken friend.

Curiosity and a fair confidence in my relationship led me to try their handy little ‘man text decoder’ which promised to reveal to me the mysteries of his mind, as communicated by his thumbs. Apparently he isn’t that interested in me and doesn’t know how to tell me. I guess I should warn him of that…

8. “You’ve seen the celebrity wear it: and now you have to have it!” Uh… really?

Maybe that’s the case in Cosmo world, where women have nothing to do outside their working hours but shop and pose on beaches and in their bedrooms. But what do I want with a print playsuit? Am I supposed to wear that in the glorious British rainstorms, cycling around in the mud and then running around painting a bedroom whilst being attacked by the occupant’s toy robot dog? Maybe I just want a hint of what I can wear in my life that might look a bit nice… no?

And why are we always ‘throwing on’ accessories? Can’t we just put our shoes on and have done with it? Let’s face it, if someone sees you dressed like this week’s hot celebrity, they’ll know you didn’t just ‘throw on’ that outfit you’ve just spent a month’s wages on.

7. Women without makeup is an alien concept.

Alright, they redeem themselves slightly by ‘championing’ the women ‘brave’ enough to go out without their war paint instead of just slating them as ‘tired-looking’ and making up vicious excuses such as the breakdown of a relationship. Give them a month; once Cosmopolitan have done this token equality bit they’ll be all over the ravages of celeb life.

And not only is a fresh-faced little darling virtually unheard of, but we’re supposed to be chameleons as well. Colours change monthly, with constant urging to re-vamp your old style and ‘become the new you’. What was wrong with the old flipping me, the one that spent twenty quid on an orange lipstick and is now told that big purple eyes are the thing?

Wait, maybe I should be taking notes here…

6. Everything is an excuse for sex. And the worst sex tips in the world.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee? Girls, it’s time to play with the Crown Jewels in the bedroom.

And the Oh oh oh oh oh-lympics? Have you gone for gold in the bedroom?

What do you mean you don’t have a boyfriend? Well… you can look at the pretty pictures, I suppose.

You have a girlfriend? No, I’m not sure what to do with that.

You have a boyfriend, and he’s not very good in bed? Heavens child, just give the man a blow job and slip on something saucy.

You’re just not trying hard enough! You don’t want it? Are you sure? Go on, have it anyway.

5. If you haven’t got the hot thin body of the model in the diet section, you should do.

But don’t expect serious health advice here. Instead you can find out about social jetlag, why keeping a secret is bad for you and what celebs love about coconut milk. You say that none of those things will give you the body you ought to want? What is WRONG with you, girl?

4. “It’s time for a pay day splurge!”

Just buying the magazine is enough of a splurge for a lot of women in our current economic climate. But still we have pages bursting with advertisements, experts telling us what we ought to wear, and nothing about the practicality of an item, or what it can be used for in real life.

“The higher the better where shoes are concerned… just what we need to stand out from the crowd in Ibiza!” And just what I need to fall down in front of a crowd in Britain.

Everything assures us that we will stand out, be individual, we’re special because we have this item… just like the rest of Cosmo’s massive readership. So when you’ve not paid your gas bill and have the same shoes as three women on your street you just might re-think that pay day splurge… until next month.

3. The world’s best agony aunt has some questionable advice to give.

“Never complain to your husband” about the problems you have with his family. Yes, she also has some crackers: “your virginity is nobody’s business but your own“. But her helpful description of the effort women put into going on the pull for men and the pain we endure (like men didn’t realise that heels, thongs and waxing all hurt) is setting off alarm bells in my head.

Telling a man who wants to know why women don’t make the first move that her looking nice is the first move could backfire horribly if all she really wants is a drink with her mates without being harassed (or worse).

2. What do strangers know about my relationships, and what do I want to know about theirs?

I don’t know how my high school mates’ relationships are going, never mind all their intimate business. Why would I want to know the same about a bunch of celebrities I’ve never even met and don’t even recognise? A celebrity doesn’t need her ‘break up style’ analysed for thousands of readers. And do we really need the same old train-wrecks paraded around every time there’s a new spat to add to ‘top ten celeb break ups’?

1. What’s with the constant judging?

Rate this celeb outfit. Drool over this topless man and vote for him. Look at this pretty girl we found on the street. Pick the best look for this woman.

What gives Cosmo and its readers the right to pass judgement on total strangers? And why would you want to do it anyway? Imagine yourself in the start of ‘The Social Network’, being rated by your friends, or if people waved score cards at you every time you stepped out of your door.

Why are women’s magazines half full of advertisements for things we ought to buy and half encouragement to poke your nose where it really doesn’t belong?

So, there you have it. The top ten reasons why this one woman hates Cosmopolitan Magazine. Of course, if you disagree that’s entirely up to you. If there’s one thing this experience has taught me, it’s that women aren’t the same. There are some redeeming features; I’ve picked a few out for you. But overall, there’s got to be a lot better things they could be yabbering on about.

And what do I like about Cosmo?

1. They are campaigning for equal pay for women. They might not be the most feminist friendly magazine, nor the most open-minded, but please take a look at their petition and join in. Let’s face it, some women want to wear pretty clothes and know where to buy them. Cosmo will always have its place in the publishing world and we might as well just all work together.

Additional response from the editor:

Emmi’s article is the definitive one for me, but I couldn’t help leaving my personal response because Cosmo magazine is one of the things that really does make me quite angry. Obviously I mainly boycott Cosmo because of how hypocritical, stereotypical, gender prejudiced, homophobic and slut shaming it generally is, but it’s no fun to sum a rant up in one sentence, is it?

I accept the advertising but I loathe the inappropriate placement of it. I don’t want to get all body standard in your face by claiming naturally skinny models are bad, but let’s get a range of bodies in. And all glossy mags in general and Cosmopolitan in particular could take more care with ad placement. Guess what, guys? People notice when you stick a Kate “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” Moss ad next to a placatingly right-on ‘booty’ section in praise of bottoms of all sizes, as Cosmo SA did in 2010.

The blinkered approach to gender identity feels more than a little lost. The sex tips are also to be derided. Using a shoelace to floss your man’s stamen (that’s a euphemism)? How is that a good sex tip, Cosmo? Or the tip suggesting you mash an avocado or banana, stick it up your vagina and encourage your man to stick his stamen (that’s a euphemism) in and swoosh it around. Go on, give that a go and see how startled he gets. In fact… don’t. Sticking a lot of anything up your vagina that doesn’t easily come out again is not a clever idea. Another ridiculous sex tip Cosmo bestowed on a bewildered world was to stick a strawberry up yourself when you go to sleep so that if your man wakes you up with oral you get a nice surprise. As well as being farcical, the sex tips are insiduously damaging. Do not stick fruit up yourself for long periods of time. It is in no way necessary.

Cosmopolitan’s agenda is plain for all to see – they don’t exactly hide it. It’s to pummel a narrow-minded range of looks, fashions and attitudes into our minds and clone us into a standard female template that’s far easier for advertisers to market to. As a mooky forum member put it, remember the scene in “The Life of Brian” where everybody shouts back “Yes, we’re all individual”? That’s their target market. Promoting conformity is far more profitable, and that’s the bottom line after all.