Election 2014

Cosmo's Guide to the Midterm Elections Is Terrible, But Not for the Reasons Critics Are Focusing On

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Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan magazine is best known for giving women "mindblowing sex" tips and advice on "makeup that flirts for you." But ladies are multifaceted beings and—just as it's possible for men to care deeply about both the fate of the free world and their fantasy football stats—I see no inherent tension between wanting lean thighs without lunges and not wanting to bomb Syria. So I applaud Cosmo's decision to inject a little more political coverage into its milieu, especially as we approach midterm-election time. 

I was also excited to see that they hired a sharp, experienced writer like Jill Filipovic to help head up the magazine's politics coverage. Filipovic is also a columnist for The Guardian and a graduate of New York University School of Law. 

However. The #CosmoVotes guide—in which the magazine "is endorsing candidates for the first time ever"—kind of makes me want to puke, and my gag reflex got going right from the title: "How We Decided Which Midterm Candidates Are the Best for Women." Call me crazy, but I assume that what's "best for" women will vary greatly based on their individual values, viewpoints, and circumstances. Cosmo's editors, however, seem to believe some sisterhood of the magical vagina makes women into a political monolith.

This is what's ultimately so disappointing/infuriating about Cosmo's efforts. If the magazine was really serious about rebranding as a somewhat-less-fluffy, somewhat-more-feminist publication, why not tell the truth about candidates' positions and let women position themselves as voters? Why not trust women to decide for themselves what candidates and policies are "best for" them? As it stands, Cosmo merely parrots a bunch of mainstream Democratic talking points:

The candidates we support will back laws promoting birth control access, including bills to protect women's health from corporate interference and reverse the Hobby Lobby decision, as well as equal pay for equal work initiatives, including the Paycheck Fairness Act. And since nearly two-thirds of the minimum wage workforce is female, Cosmopolitan will also look at candidates' positions on raising the minimum wage.

That last one seems like a bit of a stretch here. I'm not saying women shouldn't or don't care about whether we raise the minimum wage, but it's not really a "women's issue" in the way pay equity and birth control access are. It is, however, a big Democratic candidate issue this election season. In fact, just about everything Cosmo endorses comes straight from liberal midterm candidates' playbooks. The magazine pledges to only support politicans who favor stricter gun control, more environmental regulations, and the Obamcare contraception mandate.

Cosmo Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles even accuses North Carolina candidate Thom Tillis of not "believ[ing] in access to contraception," despite the fact that Tillis has been speaking out in favor of making birth control available over the counter. Later in the same interview, Coles said: 

I think young women voters are going to be the voters that actually turn the election. We want them to know what's at stake.

Cosmo

There's nothing wrong with publications leaning one way or the other politically, or taking an institutionally centrist position while hiring individual writers that slant left or right. Yet Cosmo is trying to portray itself as a friendly, impartial arbiter of "what's at stake" for women in this election while explicitly pushing the DNC's wish list. This is not service journalism, nor opinion journalism; it is advocacy. And the magazine's refusal to acknowledge that leaves me cold. 

This wouldn't be the first time Cosmo has served as a mouthpiece for Democrat policies. Throughout the past year or so, the magazine has run numerous pieces on how the Affordable Care Act is good for women and frequently devoted social media posts to urging young women to sign up with the health insurance exchanges. "The White House says it has no formal publicity agreement with Cosmopolitan," noted Reuters in June 2013. "But Coles met with senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett last week at the White House, which is in discussions with potential Obamacare promoters including the National Football League, as it prepares for a full-scale public education campaign this fall." And Coles was back for a personal meeting with President Obama in May 2014.  

Some truly patronizing and shitty coverage of #CosmoVotes from conservative media (think: "LOL, a ladies' rag covering politics!") is giving Cosmo and supporters leeway to claim the high ground here. But there's nothing noble or ethical about spreading Obama administration propaganda while pretending to be an objective outlet for coverage of women's issues. 

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  1. How to Keep Pulling His Lever After So Many Years

    1. This is funny on several levels and it got nothing. You were robbed.

  2. 10 sex moves he learned in the oval office

  3. Lean thighs? Without lunges???? Holy fuck, I gotta get me a subscription to Cosmo!

    1. Nothing but Step Ups, just like the Bulgarians!

    2. Do you even squat sis?

  4. 10 Marxism moves that will leave you speechless (literally)!

    1. Anyone who takes them to heart has no class.

    2. How give great head without falling into a false consciousness.

  5. Elizabeth, it is COSMOPOLITAN. What did you expect? Of course it is going to be half baked Democratic talking points. Think about the people who work for a magazine like that. It is not like they are employing a bunch of George Orwells or something.

    1. And a Guardian columnist at that.

  6. They could have just cut to the chase and said:

    Hey, wiminz, vote for the most batshit crazy democrat on the ticket, because patriarchy.

  7. Why Joe Biden Would Be THE HOTTEST President EVER!

  8. Jesus have the standards for being a Cosmo cover model been lowered.

    1. I don’t know, she looks like she knows at least 75 sex moves that I crave.

      1. But the Cosmo cover was once the province of the goddesses of my adolescent dreams. Women like Cindy Crawford and Paulina Porizcova used to be on it. Some JV chick that looks like she would make up for it with effort and total lack of shame or morals, while plenty nice in other circumstances, is a bit disappointing in this one.

        1. I’ll take a nice girl who will be a real human being over a princess all day every day. I’ve had both experiences and the princess is not worth the investment.

          1. That is true. But sadly, I don’t get to date the women on the cover of Cosmo. I just get to look at them. So my standards are pretty shallow when it comes to that.

    2. She’s a singer by trade, not a model. Looks matter in that biz (sadly), but not as much as in some fields.

  9. Women: Who has tried a Cosmo sex tip in real life? Was the result a hilarious disaster or just a disaster? Because I’m assuming all their sex tips are on the order of dickbiting.

    1. And 75 sex moves? I am apparently not very creative.

      1. Women only need like 3, tops. And one of them is just “Be naked.”

        1. There are only two moves:
          1. Disrobe
          2. Do everything I say

      2. 1: put his dick in your pussy
        2: put his dick in your mouth
        3: put his dick in your ass
        4: put his dick in your friend’s pussy
        5: put his dick in your friend’s mouth
        6: put his dick in your friend’s ass
        7: wear slutty clothes

        …Yeah, I’m about out of ideas.

        1. Put some ice in your mouth?

        2. It’s like dudes watching professional wrestling.

          It’s entertainment.

          And they gotta read something while they’re on the can–or stop putting their filthy tablet on the kitchen table…

          Seriously, that’s disgusting. I don’t know if anybody studying tablets and smartphones as a disease vector, but somebody should be.

        3. And to think I’ve defended you on these boardz.

        4. 4,5,and 6 can be replicated to include 23 total friends. That’s the only way I get to 75.

  10. So I applaud Cosmo’s decision to inject a little more political coverage into its milieu, especially as we approach midterm-election time.

    I was also excited to see that they hired a sharp, experienced writer like Jill Filipovic to help head up the magazine’s politics coverage. Filipovic is also a columnist for The Guardian and a graduate of New York University School of Law

    As it stands, Cosmo merely parrots a bunch of mainstream Democratic talking points

    Progs turn out to be progs. Shocking I know.

  11. 75 sex moves men crave? 75? I can think of about five or six if I really put my mind to it. Are there really 70 others that I’m missing out on? What an amazing magazine. I intend to get all my life advice from it from now on.

    1. Numbers 1-35 are variations on “Talk to Your Man about ACA”

  12. Will Elizabeth Nolan Brown next write an article expressing shock that The Jacobin is not a libertarian entity?

  13. If the magazine was really serious about re-branding as a somewhat-less-fluffy, somewhat-more-feminist publication why not tell the truth about candidates’ positions and let women position themselves as voters?

    Feminism does not equal pro-women, it equals pro-feminist, which is a left wing sub-ideology. They didn’t fail at their goal, they succeeded.

    1. It’s too bad feminism doesn’t have an official color, or we could come up with an analogue for watermelon.

  14. We support candidates who are devoted to equality for women.

    Now, go fuck the hell out of your men!

    1. As someone waiting for the 2nd trimester “cravings” to kick in, I support this statement!

  15. Jill Fillipovic and I graduated from the same high school in the same year. She was certainly a very liberal leaning person back then, and I may have come across a piece of hers before in the last couple of years.

    Time has certainly radicalized her. I think the piece was very traditional feminist/statist stuff. I don’t remember that so much back then, but we didn’t really run in the same circles.

  16. Call me crazy, but I assume that what’s “best for” women will vary greatly based on their individual values, viewpoints, and circumstances.

    You poor, deluded ignoramus.
    Report to remedial Sisterhood Studies, immediately.

  17. Can anyone explain the logic as to why, according to Cosmo and other Leftists, a woman can do anything with her body that she chooses, EXCEPT voluntarily work for less than a wage that others arbitrarily deem as acceptable?

    1. That has to do with the sisterhood of the magical vagina again.

      Solidarity has been a huge part of feminism since day one.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T…..nist_drama

      If the pay gap is a big problem–and if you’re a Leftist, how can it not be? …then accepting less pay than you’re “entitled” to makes you part of the problem.

      1. Sounds like a “war on women” waged by other left-leaning women to me. 😉

        1. Misogynist!

      2. Fucking Scabs.

  18. “Cosmo’s editors, however, seem to believe some sisterhood of the magical vagina makes women into a political monolith.”

    There is something magical about them.

  19. Cosmo, or, as I like to call it “You’ll Never Get Laid Lookin’ Like That, Fatty” Magazine.

  20. I see no inherent tension between wanting lean thighs without lunges and not wanting to bomb Syria.

    Or between wanting hot sex and wanting to bomb Syria.

    (You know, because individual values and viewpoints might lead one to interventionary foreign policy sometimes.

    Even if you’re a libertarian.)

  21. I once slept with an editor at Cosmo.

    I asked her later if she’d used any “tips”. she laughed.

  22. If the magazine was really serious about rebranding as a somewhat-less-fluffy, somewhat-more-feminist publication, why not tell the truth about candidates’ positions and let women position themselves as voters?

    Would that sell more magazines?

  23. A woman who has wrote articles on this site labelling peaceful, and female, anti-abortion protesters as “scum” is worried that Cosmopolitan will treat women as a “political monolith”? Yeah, such worries from Elizabeth Nolan Brown, an individual who has repeatedly proven she thinks anyone opposed to abortion is a tyrant-in-waiting who is lower than pond scum, are as difficult to take seriously as they are absolutely fucking hilarious for their sheer hypocrisy.

    1. So what you’re saying is: 2010 *wasn’t* as good as 2001?

  24. Jill is a termagant socialist hack who scrawls from the same mold as those tedious and bitter Salon feminists. You have to be ‘sharp’ to be a ballcutter.

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