I’d forgotten that, when travelling, it’s wise to pack reading material. A lot of it. So when one is a voracious reader and finds themselves without printed matter, it can be likened to being dry of mouth and willing to plunge a dagger in you’re own thigh for a bottle of water. So it was this any-port-in-a-storm attitude that I picked up a copy of Cosmopolitan that was left by the suite’s occupant and paged through it with some trepidation.
My litany of problems with Cosmo is long-standing. Everything from the weird sex articles (no, I will no use a donut as a cock ring and eat it off my lover’s dick) to the painful beauty regimes with the products recommended that strangely require a great volume of the advertisers wares. The flimsy diet advice, the thinly-veiled empowerment articles followed by Slim-fast ads… it has been a source of my ire and while it’s NOT my cup of tea, I chose to withhold my money and not purchase their publication. But any port in a storm they say…
So, I’m pleased to report there were three really excellent thought-provoking articles: The Rise Of The Dieting Dude by Annie Daly, which exposes the orthorexia eating habits of 70% of contemporary men, Meredith Clark’s piece on Why So Summer Movies Suck For Women that points out Alison Bechdel’s proposed three rules for how female-friendly a movie is, and Fighting Back about teenage rape and social media victims speaking out and fighting back against the slut shaming, brought to us by Abigal Pesta. There were still the ‘hot looks now’ fluff pieces and the mascara ads that were CLEARLY fake eyelash strips on the models, but I digress. It was a pleasant surprise. But then I realized Cosmo was actually ninja-level clever.
This magazine is a Venus Flytrap. On the cover is a female celebrity with airbrushed legs and cleavage, true. The articles advertised on the cover were as follows:
Summer Sex Tricks
Get A Raise: Exactly What To Say To Your Boss
Turn Up The Heat! – Sexy Outfits – Prettiest Skin And Hair – Your Best Bikini Bod
Kelly Osborne – ‘I just want to be in love’
Exclusive: The Devil Wears Prada Sequel
Weird Stuff Guys Think About During Sex
Are You Self Obsessed?
So the reader is lured into the gingerbread house of glamourous articles, which if you ask me, feel like they’ve been subtly reshuffling for at least twenty years, and then, BOOM. Good, solid articles regarding social injustices, opening dialog arguing for equality in the arts, and the issue of men’s body issues. When I realized that what they were doing was sneaky, yet awesome, my heart thawed slightly for Cosmo and what they were up to. I admired they were taking it on the chin and risking potential readership (snobs like myself) who’d roll their eyes at their magazine content when they were secretly educating women. In salons, doctor’s offices and their homes. Where most men would look at the cover and shrug, they’d not know that women around them might be broadening their horizons, secretly.
I was pretty impressed, I must say.
So in the future, if you find me idly paging through their rag while in line at the grocery store or waiting for my flight at the airport, don’t judge me.
I’m checking in on how the revolution is doing.
Little Miss Risk