Countless celebrities, news journalists, and thousands of other women are bravely sharing their experience with sexual harassment and assault through the #MeToo movement, #Timesup and more on almost a daily basis. But with all of these feminist movements and the fight for equality, we have still missed something major.
No one is talking about the damage being done to young women by the hyper-sexualized messages from the media that we face every day. From popular songs on the radio such as “Strip that Down for Me” to Cosmopolitan magazine and its repetitive message that a woman’s worth is found only in her sex appeal and whether or not she can please a man “50 different ways in the bedroom.”
Last week Wal-Mart removed Cosmopolitan from over 5,000 checkout lines. That means fewer risqué covers in front of kids, less degrading material on the shelves, and ultimately fewer copies being sold.
I have been fighting against this magazine since 2011 – along with Victoria Hearst and thousands of other who have joined us – to spread the word that Cosmopolitan's pornographic material and tips are damaging to young women.
Seven years later, Wal-Mart understands that Cosmopolitan and its hyper-sexualized message is no longer in sync with the times. Cosmo is now being seen in a new light – rather than “empowering” women, it has been exposed as part of the problem.
Cosmo never talks about our worth, or how to have a good heart. No, they would rather teach us how to have a threesome with a new guy, or how to send proper “sexts” to keep our crush hooked.
Cosmo, for instance, never talks about our worth, or perhaps how to have a good heart. No, they would rather teach us how to have a threesome with a new guy, or how to send proper “sexts” to keep our crush hooked.
Cosmopolitan is also dangerous in the fact that it doesn’t just target adults, but underage girls as well. In the recent past, they have featured an underage actress on the cover while the surrounding headlines included “His Best Sex Ever” with step- by-step instructions inside. This type of pornographic reading material is no subject that an underage girl should be absorbing and encouraged to try out. And yet this same sexualized message is what Cosmo keeps churning out issue after issue.
Sexual exploitation of young women in today's day and age is a real threat, and is harming them without them even potentially realizing it. The real danger is that Cosmo magazine does this in a subtle yet enticing way, mixing in pornographic advice along with fun “celeb gossip” and beauty tips.
Exposing young women – many of whom are underage – to hardcore sex advice and getting them hooked for more does not leave them “empowered” by any means.
We women have had enough. Enough of predators getting away with sexual misconduct. Enough with gender imbalance in the workplace. And enough of the message that we are only worth our sexuality and whether or not we can “please a man.”
And that is why Cosmopolitan and its message in today’s day and age has got to go. Same for businesses and media that continue to push this hyper-sexualized message on us for profits.
We aren’t buying it anymore.