#MoreFeministThanCosmo

So the past few days, I have returned to Grosz and re-read the essays. [June should probably get extra credit for setting me on this path with her comments on my earlierĀ post]. The coupling of mind for man and body for woman is interesting. My first reading of Grosz was a bit too binary for me to see it as deeply. In recent re-reading, I concentrated less on the mind for man, and thought about it in terms of the decoupling of mind and body for a woman. I don’t understand why I didn’t see it like this, especially since we read- and she (Grosz) referenced- Lacan.

This is what made the Twitter hashtag #MoreFeministThanCosmo stand out. You can read the story about how it started here. Short version: last night at an event, Joanna Cole said that Cosmopolitan was more feminist than leftwing activists.

But apparently since Cole became the magazine’s editor in 2012, it has been going through some changes. This PolicyMic article from July this year lists several changes. Here’s a quote, but I advise that you read the whole piece.

Flipping through the magazine, it is clear to see that the makeover goes beyond the surface. The newest interview with Demi is remarkable for interviews with female celebrities in that there is no mention of beauty routines and only a brief paragraph on romance. The rest is the inspiring story of her struggle with cutting and her eating disorders.

The surface this quote refers to is the cover photo of Demi Levato. Here’s Demi from July 2012 cover.

And here she is, for August 2013 issue. In defense of its feminism angle, the article I am citing said that this cover photo is Demi in all her curves, no photo enhancements to make her look skinny.

I am not fully convinced, like many tweeps, but that’s because the magazine has packaged itself to be about female bodies and dedicates a lot of space to “how to make a man…”

I remember the first time I picked up a Cosmo magazine. Freshman year in college. I was working in the post office and it was a slow day, so I saw the glossy cover and decided to flip through it. I closed it quickly, piled stuff over it and hoped no one had seen me. This was not what my mother thought I would be reading in the American college she was told I was attending.

But if Cole feels that it can be more feminist than left-wing activists, and she’s the boss, is there hope for Cosmo? She’s apparently getting more pages for women in politics (I am thinking about reading this month’s Cosmo, to see how these changes are being incorporated) and politics is one place where a woman can be treated as an actor in media because her roles are away from her body. Unless of course journalists decide to ask senators about their designers, and how they balance their work and their roles as mothers and wives- basically questions you’d never think to ask a male counterpart.

But back to my questions, can Joanna Cole- if she was so determined- turn Cosmo away from the hypersexualization of the woman and stop with those “how to get your man…” sessions? This would pause a marketing and advertising problem though… So maybe she will try to make everything co-exist. How would you feel about a magazine with hypersexualization of women on one page and an analysis of healthcare reform on the other page?

Also, important to note, in August this year, Cosmopolitan posted an online article about “This is what a Feminist looks like”. It was in response to a Facebook page apparently making fun of an internet picture. If you click on the story, you will notice that the Facebook page responded and said, among other things, that Cosmo can only say something about this when they have women like her on their cover. [The pictures Cosmo used in the piece were of staff members so I’m assuming this is why it was a story for their online content]

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