blo Teens Read and Write: Cosmo Continued...The Controversy

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cosmo Continued...The Controversy

So my Cosmo post (below) had some interesting comments which I responded to but I wanted to do another post to address some issues. The lovely April at Good Books and Good Wine
seemed to think that I was insulting any woman who liked and read this magazine. She wrote:

Yes, I absolutely read Cosmo. I personally like the sex articles. I know this comes as a shock, but women enjoy sex, it's something we do. Also shocking, it takes work to 'O' as a woman, and Cosmo is very helpful for those tricks.

I mean, look at Maxim it is just as bad, yet I don't see a rant post about that. Just because a woman is upfront about sex does not make her a skank. Absolutely not.

But then, Cosmo isn't for children, it's for ADULT women. And adult women care about make-up and sex.

I'm not trying to sound mean, but I'm a woman who reads and loves Cosmo and it has yet to turn me into a skank, but I do have nice hair and a good wardrobe (thankyoucosmo). Aside from articles about sex, there are articles about detecting skin cancer, as well as about outsmarting a rapist. I mean, you aren't cosmo's demographic so I can see how it wouldn't appeal to you at all.

I didn't think she sounded mean. She sounded passionate and honest. Who doesn't like that? I imagine April isn’t the only one with this opinion and she had some great points, so I’d like to clarify my position.

I know women have sex and I’m happy for them to find it a pleasurable experience. Anything that helps them accomplish that is fine by me.

I don't think a woman is a skank because she likes sex, has sex, is upfront about sex or reads Cosmo. That kind of thinking is ridiculous, narrow-minded and just plain stupid. I do not ascribe to that opinion and if that is what people took away from my post, I apologize.

My point was that the sex related articles I saw in this issue of Cosmo weren't about helping women enjoy themselves. These articles were all about telling women how to please men sexually, not how women could please themselves. Perhaps Cosmo does have many of these types of articles but not in this issue.

I expected more about fashion and make-up and things geared to help women. I didn’t see it here. Yes there was one article about how a woman got away from a rapist which is great. And there were several single or double pages with pictures of fashion items or make-up with info on where to get the stuff and how much it cost.

My point was that the vast percentage of real articles (several pages of sentences put together in a cohesive essay) were about how to please men in the sack. It all seemed geared toward getting and keeping a man through pleasing him sexually. It’s not what I expected from a women’s magazine. (A guy’s magazine, perhaps.)

And as a guy reading this, it came off that we are interested in sex and only sex from a woman. I find that offensive. Am I interested in sex? Sure. But is that all I’m interested in? No. I understand there are many other aspects to a real relationship and not all guys are so shallow (translation - piggish).

I was raised to respect women and not treat them like objects. I’ve got a sister who I love and I don’t want guys treating her this way. The majority of articles in this issue seemed to be telling women that they should treat themselves like objects if they wanted to snag and keep a man.

I wasn’t insulting women or their sexuality. Quite frankly, I thought that’s what these magazine articles were doing.

In regards to Maxim, I haven’t read it so can’t comment about that magazine. But if it’s geared toward guys, I’d expect it to be about how women can please men. This Cosmo thing just surprised the heck out of me because women are often complaining about how guys are only interested in sex and yet that seemed to be the same attitude that this women’s mag was promoting. And then it told women how to give men what they wanted. That didn’t make sense to me.

Also, it may be geared for adult women, but it was a young teenage girl who left it at our house. And I can assure you that a vast majority of young teenage girls are reading this. Make-up, fashion and sex are very important to them too and they want the more grown-up version vs. the teen one, appropriate or not.

Again, I only read this one issue. And April’s right in saying I’m not this magazine’s demographic. So if Cosmo does it for you, ladies, have at it! Enjoy! Get out of it what works for you. This is only one guy’s opinion. I respect yours. Just don’t sell yourselves short, and try to remember, not all men are pigs!

Thanks to April, and all the commenters for giving me feedback and inspiring this dialogue!


Tales of Whimsy said...

You're cool by me. No offense taken. I actually found your points refreshing.

Jake Kirk@Teens Read and Write said...

Thanks Juju. No offense was meant. I love having these kinds of dialogues!

April (BooksandWine) said...

I tend to come across completely the wrong way. I really do, and I apologize for being somewhat of a jackass.

I sometimes forget teens read Cosmo (since I've been out of HS for a few years), but again, teens aren't Cosmo's target.

Seriously a big apology, I think it is awesome that you do feel strongly.

Also, I definitely do not believe men are pigs at all :-D I think some women believe that because they've been burned by men a couple times, someday I hope they find someone who will change their mind. I actually really like it when a man can engage in intelligent discourse, such as you. I hope you always stay this way, as the ladies love that kind of thing (well, this one does).

Anyways, it was fantastic having a sort of back and forth, I wish more conversations would take place with blogging.

And yes, Cosmo, I admit does give some pretty dumb advice sometimes, but not all of the time. You might find this link funny, it's to a monthly feature on collegecandy called Cosmo Says The Darndest Things!:

Anonymous said...

hey mate,

I don't think you got it wrong at all. I'm no prude, some of the articles are fun in Cosmo and you can implement that stuff into your daily life, but most of the articles are just rubbish and perpetuating the idea of women being sex objects who should pander to what 'we think' men like. Cosmo sells because it picks up on the random thought s of every girl when they're vulnerable and thinking "why hasn't he called?", "is the reason he hasn't married me because there's something wrong with me?" "I guess we should spice up our sex life because theres somethign wrong with me if we're not ding it everyday and he's going to cheat with my best friend on me"...

istead of exposing girls vulnerable states, Cosmo should stop perpetuating the cycle and start posting articles about real life. I don't mean news about war or whatevs (a girl's gotta have some downtime) but the articles could be so much more informative about real psychology statistics, going to family planning centres to do that huge questionnaire before you get married, working out a sex schedule with your partner that you both feel happy you can achieve, and not cater to the whims of a magazine who says : "here's how to have sex in 25 positions every day - cos people do it and it should be the way to do things!" etc etc etc

and women might stop pestering men to get a ring on their finger and just enjoy life until the time is right.

I was an avid reader of Cosmo for years - I was just lucky my parents and friends around me influenced me enough to keep me stable, I understand there are probably a LOT of young impressionable girls out there who are getting mixed messages from these magazines, and I don't think I'm going too far to say that over time, these magazines will influence the way they talk, walk, hold themselves while out at bars trying to catch a man's attention, and ultimately fail at relationships because they're so confused they've gone and ticked off the 25 things on the article and still the guy's gone.

It just sucks to have this sort of the thing on the market for money's sake, under the supposed agenda of "fashion, makeup, sex and self-help".

I aint buyin it no more, Cosmo.

Krista said...

Well said, Jake! I think you make some great points. I didn't find this post or the last one offensive in any way.

I don't read Cosmo and don't plan on it either, so I can't give you my full opinion on it. But it seems that almost everything these days is focused around sex.... Take Watchmen for example, it was almost like watching porn at times. It seems you can't get away from sex anymore these days... I know its part of life and it's a wonderful thing, but honestly do we have to see women’s breasts or have a sex scene in every good movie? LOL! Sometimes it seems they focus too much on one thing, and maybe if it were more of a variety and not 12 articles about sex this magazine wouldn't have had such a strong impact on you.

I enjoyed this post, and it was nice to have a mans point of view on this topic!

D Swizzle said...

I agree. I've read Cosmo once in my entire life, and as a girl I thought it was ridiculous that an article was titled, "how to turn your man on". I it's hard?

Eleni said...

Jake I love your opinions, I'm sure most guys in the world feel the way you do. I appreciate your thoughts but honestly half the stuff in there is crap. If you're sexually active or not a teen like myself, I am 24 so those days have sailed lol, you already know how to do the deed so you don't need a mag to tell you "tips" but it's just entertaining lol. So thank you for posting about it, and don't let anyone else tell you different ;]

Jessica said...

I really enjoyed reading both of your Cosmo posts. I admit that I've read this mag before because, well, it can be quite entertaining. But I quickly noticed that it's repetitive and kind of retarded. Then it caused me to start looking at men (in general) in a negative light. Plus, sex is meant to be enjoyed, not to be used as a tool or weapon (so to speak); yet that's the impression I was getting from this mag.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I must say, yours is a breath of fresh air.

Sarbear said...

I thought it was interesting -- you're welcome to your point of view so I don't really see why anyone needs to write a novel back, arguing with you. I'm sure you've considering all views of things but still have your opinion... no use in convincing other people to change theirs, I guess.

Sarbear said...

This subject gets everyone so riled up!

Jake Kirk@Teens Read and Write said...

April - so glad you came back! I didn't mean to insult you honest. I loved your comments. I really did. It was fun to dialogue back and forth. I like discussing different opinions. I'm glad we got the chance. Happy to hear you don't think all men are pigs. Thanks for the kind words and also for that website. I so enjoyed it!

Aimee - Thanks for the thoughtful comments. I'm completely with you on all of your points. I'm glad to hear you have a family to keep you on the right track. I think it is so important to have that kind of support and influence when the media is shoving so much negative info down your throat. You make a good point about the stuff in Cosmo potentially hurting womens self-esteem. Thanks for your great insights!

Krista - thanks for the support. I agree that the sex influence is everywhere. It's tough keeping ones head on straight. You're right, it was the volume of articles and their slants that floored me. Always happy to give a different perspective!

Dannie - you made me laugh so hard! Love your comments!

Eleni - you're right. I would think most adult women are hip to most of the stuff in this magazine but they keep putting it out there. Maybe for entertainment value? And thanks for your support.

Jessica - Good insights! These articles did seem to perpetuate the negative opinion of men as only sex oriented, and promote how to use sex as a tool to get men. Thanks for the comments.

Sarbear - I like hearing other opinions, it helps me think outside my box and broaden my horizons. Other perspectives and perceptions are so interesting! And yes, the sex talk does get everyone so riled up! Maybe it should be a weekly meme!

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