I was reading a story about the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan who was being promoted to Hearst magazines’ chief content officer after four years.
The editor, Joanna Coles, was quoted as saying: “I love Cosmo, but I gave it everything I had. I just didn’t have another sex position in me.”
That comment was a humorous nod to the magazine’s well-earned reputation for having every issue tout some kind of sex move or position or strategy on its cover.
Some of the headlines on covers and inside stories for a couple of issues I found from 2015 include: “Hot Sex Tonight: The No. 1 Way to Bring You Closer.” “The Sex Move He Will Worship You For.” “I Hired a Hooker With My Husband.”
Cosmopolitan has such a reputation that some vendors have taken to putting covers over its covers so as to not offend the shopping public or scar young impressionable minds.
Slate.com reported: “But for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), formerly known as Morality in Media, Cosmopolitan is porn. The NCSE is behind a successful push — hardly the first of its kind — to place the magazine behind blinders in stores owned by two major chains, RiteAid and Delhaize America (which owns Hannaford Stores and Food Lion).”
I’m calling shenanigans – and a double standard – on that.
As my old man would say: “Are you serious or delirious?”
Let’s start with Men’s Health, a magazine I read fairly regularly.
Among the teases on covers of its magazines in my stockpile: “Set off fireworks in the bedroom!” and “Naughty sex: She wants it bad.”
But I don’t read about anyone clutching their pearls over men’s magazine covers.
How about this one? “Best. Sex. Ever! We show you how.”
Guess where that one appeared?
Cosmopolitan? Men’s Health? Glamour?
That was on the cover of the August/September issue of AARP magazine last year.
I am no prude by a long shot but I am no Larry Flynt either.
It is true that Cosmopolitan’s covers are probably steamier than those of the newly revamped Playboy, which eliminated nude pictorials, redesigned its content and whose tamed covers now share more in common with bodice-ripper romance novels sold at Barnes & Noble.
But the idea of putting Cosmopolitan magazines behind blinders is laughable.
To begin with, hiding them will only pique more curiosity about what’s on the covers in the first place.
Second, you openly hawk in racks at the checkout lines the drivel that makes up the supermarket tabloids like The National Enquirer (“Celebrity Celluloid!” “Obama Cloned by Space Aliens!”) and not bat an eyelash?!
Third, given the backseat that print is taking and the continuing ascension of digital content, shouldn’t we be more worried about what is available at the click of a mouse or a swipe on our smartphones?
Let’s get our priorities straight.
Before we go putting blinders on Cosmopolitan magazine, let’s take ours off first.