I recently stumbled upon an online article from Cosmopolitan Magazine entitled “7 Sex Secrets Every Cosmo Girl Must Know,” which claimed to be a “pleasure bible” for it’s female audience. Skimming along, I began to notice that nearly every “sex secret” this article recommends is focused solely on male pleasure. How, may I ask, will “cupping his balls” bring a woman pleasure? Did this article not claim to contain the golden rules of erotic bliss for the female population?
Now, I have no issues with magazines giving advise on how to please a man. The problem here is that this particular article (and let’s be honest: most “for women by women” magazines in general) advertises female pleasure in a way that always ends up spotlighting the idea of women pleasing men. The issue is that this “Cosmo girl pleasure bible” is a way for misogynist views and unhealthy, sexist mindsets to creep into the lives of Cosmo readers, young and old, and fuck with their self-esteem and body image.
The startling truth about these magazines is that they focus on sending women the kinds of social messages that are extremely damaging to a women’s sense of self-worth. Because Cosmo Magazine is one of the most popular sources of relationship and sex “knowledge” for women, I think it’s about time we take a second to actually look at what women are subscribing to when reading Cosmo.
One of the biggest concerns is that Cosmo Magazine is frustratingly male-centered. Nearly every article within the “women’s” magazine focuses on getting men, looking sexy for men, pleasing men, understanding men’s thoughts about women, and doing things for men. They brush off and condone inappropriate male behavior by claiming that men are “hardwired” to think or act a certain way. Cosmo pours sexist material into the minds of their readers, and they continue to do so without much backlash from their loyal audience.
For example, the article “7 Sex Secrets Every Cosmo Girl Must Know” is supposedly about female pleasure. Although it claims to be female focused, it focuses exclusively on male pleasure, male ego, and male desire. From blowjobs, hand jobs, and positions he will enjoy, to explaining that being self conscious about your body will “turn him off,” this article pretty much targets everything except female pleasure. Excuse me while I pull my hair out in frustration.
With a famous name and nation-wide readership, Cosmo has some serious potential to break free from the damaging, cookie-cutter portrayals of sexuality that women are surrounded by daily, but instead choose to focus on the kinds of things that are disastrous to a society in which there is a daily struggle for women to be seen and treated as equals. These kinds of magazines bring attention to the idea that “men want you to be this, so be this.” They promote unnatural beauty and health ideals, and they want women to believe that appearance is in fact everything.
There is a serious danger in expecting women to bend and shape their own wants and needs (both physically and mentally) to fit what others want. When it comes to sexuality and feminism, one of the biggest issues our nation is currently facing is how social messages such as these affects our society and our self-worth as individuals, and I think it’s about time we actually do something about it.