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An Open Letter On Why I Stopped Reading Cosmo

Dear Cosmo,

You pride yourself on being a magazine for women and girls, which makes sense. However, whenever a Cosmo article pops up on my Snapchat or Twitter, it’s always something pretty demeaning. “10 Ways to Make Sex More Interesting for Guys” or “15 Things You Do That Guys Don’t Find Attractive.” Thanks, but no thanks.

I’ve seen these articles throughout my life, yet they were never about me. It was never about how I can feel good or live a fuller life. No, it was on how to get a man—the most important thing in life, obviously (not). When I read Cosmo as a kid, you used to tell me to twirl my hair and let a man handle the rest. Now you’re telling me that guys actually like it when I’m smart, that I should be myself, and be decisive. This confusing and contradicting message has been so hard to grow out and make sense of, and I’m still working on it to this day.

Thinking back to reading magazines, including Cosmo as a young girl, I think that I was very negatively influenced by the way they approached relationships. It’s dangerous to tell a young girl to be a certain kind of person just to get a guy’s attention. They told me to shape and change who I am to be more likeable for guys. Please, just write articles about how I can be a better person for me, and I promise that will help everyone a lot more. 

I also hate how sensationalized and misleading Cosmo article headlines are. Instead of saying “10 Ways to Make Sex More Interesting for Guys,” try saying, “Guys Are Selfish in Bed.” These articles are often just a slew of negative comments from the internet, but if they’re all so negative and take up more space than your actual writing, maybe don’t give them that platform, at all.

Magazines talk about hair, makeup, fashion, nails, and relationships. There’s nothing wrong with loving these things, but I wish they were spoken about alongside conversations on women who inspire me, like Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai, J.K. Rowling, and so many more. That is worth writing about. As someone who absolutely loves makeup and goes to fashion school, I obviously do not oppose articles that talk about beauty and fashion. But as a magazine that little girls pick up when their mom is getting her nails done, including a section about a woman who defied all odds could be life changing.

Also, if you’re going to have content aimed towards women, remember to always be inclusive. If you just talk about how women can improve their own sexual experience, then that doesn’t limit the reader to straight women only. Content about sex and fashion should never be heteronormative, because it creates divides that simply don’t reflect the values of so many of your readers. We are powerful when we’re not divided. Don’t draw the line.

So Cosmo, please change. Please be here for women—all women. Please stop trying to alter us and stand with us, instead. 


[Feature Image by Pexels]

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