Why Does Cosmo Exist?

So I’ve been having a little online “discussion” in the comment thread for one of The Atlantic online articles. The article is called, “Women’s Magazines Objectify Women as Much as Men’s Magazines Do.” Interesting, right?

Setting aside the fact that I think the article is poorly written (who is this Noah Berlatsky?), and I think that it lacks any real evidence to prove the point (ummm…women?), I decided to hop in on the fun and discuss with strangers how I don’t buy this argument about women’s magazines written by…a man.

My point is that I think women’s magazines, i.e. Cosmo, Glamour, etc… (as a general rule, not all, and not including exceptions) exist to satisfy three types of women: 1. Women whose main goal in life is to score and keep a man. 2. Women who are very insecure in this venture. 3. Women who do not know how to communicate properly to gain the insights that recycled articles regurgitate on a rotating basis. None of these reasons include “objectifying” other women. (I must clarify that I am writing on behalf of heterosexual women, and I can’t speak to the motivations of those who may not desire men.)

Ok. Here we go.

We know that men are largely propelled by sexual desire. (Oh God, I’m really getting into this.) And women, can be sexually motivated, but the desires are very different. I appreciate a hot chick just as much as the next guy, but that does not mean that I want to have sex with her. (Difference between men and women checking out other women—men want sex, women may want to copy a wardrobe choice or hair style, or maybe they just appreciate that another woman has her shit together at 6AM.)

Women’s magazines exist largely to “instruct” women on how to please a man. They do not exist for women. (I really hope this is not a newsflash for anyone.) Please stop buying Cosmo if you really think that the magazine was written for your betterment, lady; unless you are on an airplane and are reading it for pure entertainment sake, then please, enjoy!  I stopped reading women’s magazines for real at the age of 18 when I realized that Cosmo was just Seventeen’s oversexed big sister with an insecurity problem. I realized that the articles about blowjobs and “new positions” penned to “help me please my man this summer” in the June 2004 issue largely resembled those same “new” findings that could be found in the June 2003 issue. Wow, revolutionary!

Back to Mr. Noah Berlatsky’s point. He says, “One curious thing about popular culture is that men’s magazines and women’s magazines often follow the same general formula. Men’s magazines are mostly based around heavily eroticized images of women. And women’s magazines are also based around heavily eroticized images of women.”

Ok. In every man’s dream world, women are going around looking erotically at other women and dreaming about sleeping with every sexy lady in daisy dukes and lace, but men can’t get it in their heads that maybe, just maybe women are not motivated by the same primal sexual urges that they (men) are when they see another woman. However, the truth of the matter is that these magazines largely exist for women to learn how to “please” men (and that is another issue entirely), and these “erotic” photos of women touching women/women looking longingly at each other, are put in place primarily to make “average” female readers insecure and feel like they need to continue reading in order to look a certain way/act a certain way/smell a certain way, and therefore gain an advantage over other women in order to score or keep a man. What these photos are saying to women is, “Don’t you want to be the envy of other women who are competing with you for a man?”

My answer is no. I’d rather have other tricks up my sleeve that don’t include last years “new” position and this Spring’s sweet smelly lip gloss oozing from the lips of some teenage pout, which, by the way, does not turn me on.

But that’s just my opinion. What is yours?

6 Comments Add yours

  1. woahbamalam says:

    Interesting. My masters thesis was on this subject (do contemporary women’s magazines affect the way we behave and think in modern society). The more I researched, the more scary the situation seemed. There really is more to life than what is in a set of glossy pages.


    1. historywino says:

      Yes! I agree. I’d be interested to hear more about your thesis. What did you study for your masters?


      1. woahbamalam says:

        It was about ten years ago, so maybe slightly out of date but focused on content, imagery, and advertising. My masters was in media arts


  2. I am so happy that someone else thinks the same about Cosmo! as you put it, ‘Cosmo was just Seventeen’s oversexed big sister with an insecurity problem.’ I remember growing up I was so excited to finally read Cosmo and after purchasing a few I noticed a trend. I haven’t been able to pick on up since. You’re right it’s all repeat articles with different pictures and ads. I will agree with your stance and I’m excited to read more from you 🙂


    1. historywino says:

      Thank you for your comment! I’m glad that you agree!


  3. An average male says:

    I’m a man and I can tell you how to get pretty much any attractive male you want if you are a completely average woman, even if you have no self-esteem. Step One: Go to a bar where there is an attractive man. Step Two: Ask attractive man to have sex. You might think this is probably a bad idea, but believe it or not, it works! Men also try to get women, so if you just walk up to an attractive man, and just ask him to have sex, he’ll accept for two reasons 1) He didn’t have to do anything! No initiation, no asking if you’re single, he’s going to get laid, and he doesn’t care that you’re not the anorexic blonde he can’t work up to courage to talk to! He’s perfectly fine with you, because as long as you’re not one of those ugly as shit anorexic porn stars, you’re hot!

    2) He’s going to get laid! He’s an attractive man, and usually he has to go through 30 minutes of actually trying to figure out whether you like him or not before he (might) get laid. He wins instantly!

    Cosmo is full of shit. If you want to be hot, wear as little clothing as possible. If you want to “please your man”, do absolutely anything at all to him, its better if you’re naked. Or just ask him. If you want to get a man, just take the initiative. It makes things so much easier for us that we don’t have to do anything.


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