Cosmo’s Unfortunate Foray into Liberal Politics

So the magazine best known for “10 Sex Tips that Will Blow His Mind” is getting into the politics game, announcing that (via Politico):

Every week from Sept. 8 leading up to the November elections, editors will endorse from one to three candidates based upon an “established criteria agreed upon by Cosmo editors.”

“Obviously it’s important if we’re encouraging our readers to vote for them to get to know the candidates,” [Editor-In-Chief Joanna] Odell said. “[W]e’re going to find a fun way to highlight candidates we’re excited about, so when our readers go to the polls they know who they should be looking to vote for.”

And in case you didn’t predict it already:

The Cosmo endorsement criteria fall squarely into the liberal camp — equal pay, pro-choice, pro-birth control coverage, anti-restrictive voter-ID laws. Asked how a candidate who might line up on certain issues like equal pay but is pro-life would fare, Odell said that would be a deal breaker.

“We’re not going to endorse someone who is pro-life because that’s not in our readers’ best interest,” Odell said. “[P]eople say that’s a liberal thing, but in our minds its not about liberal or conservative, it’s about women having rights, and particularly with health care because that is so important. All young women deserve affordable easy access to health care, and that might include terminating a pregnancy, and that’s OK.”

The notion that a woman solely defines herself by her internal plumbing is inherently condescending, but the “women’s interest” defense is self-undermining.

There’s no question that Cosmopolitan can be fun. It is a good thing to have a forum where women can openly discuss sex, an important part of their lives. But when one gets older and develops experience there’s that awkward realization that sex is just one thing among many in a woman’s life. At the risk of sounding patronizing myself, perhaps this lack of experience is why the majority of Cosmo‘s readership age is 18 to 24?

Snarking aside, for a long time it was socially unacceptable for women to “admit” to enjoying sex. In that respect Cosmo does have feminist creds. But why exclude certain women from that discussion by prescribing a certain set of political leanings for their readers? Why become the arbiter of “women’s politics?” Both liberals and conservatives alike talk about sex and indulge in fashion magazines.

You know what’s truly feminist? Being a woman with your own convictions and your own ideals, even if people disagree with you. A truly feminist forum is one in which women of varying opinions put on their fisticuffs and make their case.

A woman mindlessly nodding to what they’re told – whether liberal or conservative – goes against everything feminism is supposed to stand for. The definition of sexism changes with the times, and the women running Cosmopolitan continue to operate under the illusion that they’re breaking the mold while they reinforce the very notion that “woman need to be put in their place.” In this instance, putting women in their place means telling them who to nod to, who to vote for, and which issues they should care about and prioritize.

And with regard to making abortion the deal breaker, we recently had a Republican president for eight years. Guess what?

Abortion is still legal.

Hate to break it to the single-issue voters, but any politician knows that outlawing abortion in all cases is political suicide in more ways than one. It’s good for stirring outrage among some people to get them to the polls and besides that…. not much.

Frankly, the real reason Cosmopolitan‘s editors are getting involved in politics is to appeal to women who don’t know any better. Young people are notoriously disengaged from the political sphere and this is just another way for those in positions of power to shape “peons” into the image of their own ideals.

Rather than highlighting women from all across the political spectrum – a truly feminist endeavor – Cosmo wants to tell young women how to vote.

It’s bad enough that a woman can’t buy tampons without seeing an air-bushed celeb at the cashier’s counter.

Now Cosmo‘s self-proclaimed authorities on femininity are telling us we must vote for liberal principles lest our womanhood be called into question.

Cosmopolitan politics is a joke. They should at least be more open about it.