Let’s get one thing straight: I love Cosmo. I read it religiously, not only for the fun articles about sex, fashion, or make-up, but because they write some very female-empowering pieces. When my Mormon psychology teacher called Cosmo the female version of Playboy in high school, I defended it by citing their award-winning spread on contraception, or their many articles that try to explain that feminism does not equate to man-hating. However, right alongside these articles about major feminist issues is the section “Sexy vs. Skanky.” It is disappointing to read articles in Cosmo about why girls are never asking to be raped, and how slut-shaming needs to end, only to see a page of every issue dedicated to calling women skanks because of what they’re wearing.
I’m not preaching from a pedestal. It isn’t like I’m not guilty of doing the same thing. I identify as a feminist, but then I will catch myself judging a girl for what she’s wearing to a party at school or see a celebrity on the red carpet and think, What is she wearing and why? I grew up being taught that girls wearing certain things are pretty, while girls wearing other outfits are skanks or sluts. I remember when I first started wearing bras, and, being around 12 years old, did not see a problem with wearing a black bra with a white t-shirt. My older brother looked at me and said, “You need to go change. Only certain kinds of girls wear black bras with white shirts.” However, I am really trying to break myself from giving into this stigma.
How does the same magazine that wrote an article that called Miley Cyrus’s nipple pasties on Jimmy Kimmel “glorious” and slammed Kimmel for asking her how her dad would feel about her wearing them, publish a monthly piece that shames women for dressing similarly? Cosmo promoted body positivity by praising Ronda Rousey for feeling more confident at 150 pounds versus her 135 pound fighting weight. So, why do they also keep promoting slut-shaming with their “Sexy vs. Skanky” article?
The problem with Cosmo continuing to run this piece is, not only does it make them hypocritical, but they’re telling all of their readers that it’s still okay to judge each other on this basis as well.This is only made worse by the fact that they use such a hurtful word, “skanky,” to describe the women that they’re shaming. They are telling readers that it is okay to call these women skanks, or sluts, or whores based off of what they’re wearing without even knowing them. Cosmo preaches female empowerment and supporting each other, but they aren’t putting it into practice.