How Walmart Taking Cosmopolitan Off Its Shelves is Moving us Back in Time

In media today, it appears that women are slowly gaining more recognition, allowance to embrace themselves, and freedom to learn about their bodies. However, at the end of March, Walmart took one majorly uncalculated step back. The chain decided to pull Cosmopolitan, one of the most championed women’s magazines out there, from the checkout aisles of over 5000 stores.

Cosmopolitan has been an unmistakable proponent of women’s health, sexual education, entertainment and empowerment since 1965. However, the National Center of Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) fought to take away this outlet for women in Walmart and calls it a major victory. This Washington-based non-profit spoke out about Cosmo, saying that it is “hyper-sexualized” and “degrading.” On their website, they assert that Cosmopolitan stands to promote “pornography, sexting, BDSM, group sex, anal sex, and more.” Walmart, in response to media questioning, says that it is purely a business decision.

This action comes off as exceptionally counterproductive to the messages Cosmopolitan has worked to send to women of all ages. The articles published stand to inform women about sexual health, political engagement, conflicts in friendship, relationship woes, and anything else for which women need an outlet. Growing up, yes, Cosmopolitan was seen as a more adult, somewhat vulgar publication from the capital-lettered titles about sex. However, seeing it in stores never caused me to be uncomfortable or upset. At this age now, I feel that the magazine is especially crucial for liberating women.

People are terrified to admit that women have sex and enjoy it. We can masturbate, sext, and experiment. We have the freedom to explore our sexualities in any way we deem fit, and Cosmopolitan openly and candidly offers advice, perspectives and facts that help women navigate all situations. To say that Cosmopolitan is along the lines of porn is to say that women having sex and being honest about their decisions is wrong and should be regulated. NCOSE attempts to argue that this magazine actually negates feminism because it promotes pleasing men and giving in to their desires. However, people who read the magazine realize that its articles explain ways women can have better orgasms, climb up their professional ladders, stop sexual harassment, and cover numerous other empowering topics.

Why is it that a publication that exists to support women is being silenced? Why is it that women are shunned for wanting to learn the top 10 ways to have good shower sex? Sex is something that our society is fearful to talk openly about because of its perceived indecency. However, sex is not something that deserves so much censure and disapproval. It is a normal human action that should be enjoyed and embraced, and Cosmopolitan encourages this. Women should no longer be afraid to learn about their sexuality, and Walmart taking this publication off of its shelves will only move us backwards in this endeavour.