In case you didn’t already know, Cosmopolitan magazine is the most popular women’s magazine in the United States, and quite possibly in other countries. It is also well-known for it’s explicit sexual content which jumps out at you on the front cover “Give him the best blow job ever!” and “10 ways to have an orgasm” it screams.
While this magazine is aimed at millenial women (18-35) there are a LOT of teenage girls who read it, and frankly learning about sexual content like that is not always the best thing while you are in school. The point is, there should be a balance.
Well last year, Cosmo US appointed a brand new editor in chief, British woman Joanna Coles who looks to be shaking things up a little! She’s not changing the entire magazine, as that wouldn’t be smart and could hurt its sales and popularity. She has spoken openly how she wants to ramp things up a little, and go a little deeper. Meaning: women are interested in more than just sex and that should be reflected in the magazines and media we consume!
So what is the thing that is going to make the magazine different from all previous editions and help make women smarter? Politics!
After all, healthcare is a big issue for women here in the United States, and if we are sick of old men setting the standards, then we need to get educated (from a source we trust and like) and have the ability to get involved.
“Cosmopolitan is just this huge, iconic brand in America.” she told the Guardian in October 2012 after her appointment.
“I think the size of it is testament to its relevance. It’s the biggest women’s magazine in the world…What magazines do is curate: we give accurate and trustworthy information.”
She told press at the time she intended to start including more interviews and features about politics, careers, and religion to widen the scope and represent a more accurate, diverse American audience. Perhaps we could now start putting Cosmo on par with the Miss USA pageant!
Ms. Coles, a former judge on Project Runway while she was Editor in Chief of Marie Claire, is a feminist in the most modern sense of the word: she is diverse, respects that all women are different and also understands that while women have made a lot of progress since the 1970s, there is a lot of work to be done, and she would rather be part of a collective solution for gender equality, as opposed to just a passive bystander dumbing down girls.
“The culture is becoming more feminised and there’s a 62% female intake in college in the US, but it’s not actually backed up in terms of money or power yet. Right now, there’s a lot of noise in the culture about women on the rise but it hasn’t actually been borne out financially [in terms of equal pay] or real leadership.”
“What is important for women is they can want it all but they don’t have to have it all at the same time,” she says, and that’s an important message she wants to get out to her readers.
Promoting and highlighting important cultural role models is a big part of Coles’ new agenda, because when she was growing up things were very different.
“There weren’t really any women like [Sheryl Sandberg and Natalie Massanet founder of Net-a-porter] when I was coming in. I had Margaret Thatcher, who might have been iconic for all sorts of reasons, but now there are lots of different role models.”
The recent federal election in the United States spurred her to recognize that issues such as gun control, contraception and domestic violence which affect women everyday. And guess what, we all have an opinion on these! So why not make the world’s biggest magazine for women a leader on all topics, not just “fluff” like fashion, celebrities and sex?
That means Coles and the editorial team will be doing a lot more regular trips to Washington DC to talk to leading politicians about these areas of interest, and educate the readers on what is really going on in a way that will encourage engagement and interest.
“Joanna is bringing more women into the political process by virtue of the magazine’s ability to give them practical information about the critical issues facing our country,” says Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List who met with Coles in DC recently. “We need more women’s voices to run, to win. The starting point is finding that point of involvement. Joanna is speaking about that every day.”
“Young women today stand up for themselves, know what they want, and get that information from Cosmo in a gentle way,” says Adrienne Arsht, an important figure in the arts patronage world who had also met with Coles in Washington DC along with other women.
So now that there is a new boss at the helm of Cosmo, hopefully this will challenge the notions of naysayers who brush off the publication as having no real depth or contribution to culture. The idea of the “Cosmo Girl” is also evolving, just like women today,Joanna Coles tells the Washington Post.
“The Cosmo girl doesn’t have to be a Miley Cyrus. She can also be the 71-year-old at the Four Seasons who says “darn” and “pooh.” It’s an attitude,” she says.
I love the idea that you want a great sex life, great friends, great work . . . financial independence,” she says. I wanted to be part of a sexy, sophisticated world. Now I want to provide that for other women.”
Ladies, are you a Cosmo girl? Do you like the new direction the magazine is going in? We think it’s about time a social leader such as Cosmopolitan Magazine influences women in a positive and diverse way, acknowledging the broader interests and needs of women in America. We are multi-dimensional, multi-faceted and want to be catered to by our media in an appropriate way.
Thanks you Joanna for coming all the way from Britain to be a thought-leader for all the young women in this great country!