I was nine, and I was breaking the rules. My mother was traipsing about the kitchen cooking some infernal green thing that I was no doubt expected to scarf down. I knew that she had stashed a Cosmopolitan magazine somewhere in the apartment, and I was going to find it.
Crawling around the bookshelves, I finally found my beloved bible. I grabbed it and ran, diving into my bedroom. Flipping on my flashlight and opening its pages, I covered myself with a sheet to hide my misbehavior.
I idolized Cosmopolitan. It was my bible and goal destination for a future career in journalism. They were my inspiration, the foundation for all of the things I knew about feminism, sexuality and a trademark for unconventional and unique beauty standards. The Cosmopolitan we know now is nothing like that magazine I coveted under my bed sheets.
Enter Helen Brown. New and renowned writer, she was dubbed one of the premiere women's journalists of her time after publishing "Sex and the Single Girl," which was one of the first pieces of modern journalism that told women to take control of their lives and not rely on men to provide for them. It also publicized something else: premarital sex. She celebrated her sexuality and told women that they should do the same.
Shortly after her novel hit the bestseller lists, Cosmopolitan was born. It struck a chord with the female readers of the decade and propogated sexual freedom. Brown created a generation of powerful, sexually confident women who were slowly ditching their fear of judgement and replacing it with a newfound confidence in their sexual exploration.
Cosmopolitan, now affectionately known as Cosmo, put female sexuality on the frontlines and made people confront the disgusting gender norms that had kept them confined in partiarchy for centuries. They, in short, helped liberate female sexuality. The magazine was my hero.
"Cosmo is feminist in that we believe women are just as smart and capable as men are and can achieve anything men can," said Brown.
Clearly Cosmopolitan was a wonderful, timeless exemplification of feminism and free sexuality. Unfortunately, they have forfeited their pedestal in favor of tasteless, crass articles that have tarnished the name.
Recently, Cosmopolitan has become equivalent to tabloids, little reporting sites and bad social media. They have forgotten their voice.
The magazine remains afloat with subpar relationship advice and some great sex tips, but the majority of their social media platforms -- namely Facebook -- are so degrading and disgustingly mundane that they have tarnished their reputation.
For example, here are some of their more recent articles: 12 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Waitress, a cover on the Disick-Kardashin fiasco, a selfie with Kim Kardashian, an article about why people put ice in cereal, and turning watermelons into jello shots. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think that there is anything wrong with these cute little snippets that are meant to make people laugh. But for Cosmopolitan, the used-to-be the pedestal of feminism and women's journalism, to degrade themselves to writing baseless, meaningless Editorials? It is disappointing.
They still publish some great sex tips and have some wonderful articles highlighting injustices in the beauty industry and news related to sexual assault, which is otherworldly wonderful. However, the amount of content that reports on baseless, upsettingly stupid menial things is really saddening to those who looked up to Cosmo. Those who read them under their covers at night and based their entire future around a possible career.
Don't forget where you came from: a powerful woman who broke through the glass ceiling of journalism and re-opened an age-old conversation about premarital sex and choice-oriented sexuality. Go back to the wonderful relationship advice and the ruthless journalistic exposure of the modern mistreatment of women. Be the magazine that inspired young girls to break the rules. Be the Cosmopolitan that we can once again admire and look up to.
I love you, Cosmo. But I don't like what you've become.
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