Cosmopolitan: The Universal Language of Female Oppression and it’s Antidote

I grew up reading Cosmopolitan from an early (and probably far too young) age, and never questioned that every issue could potentially hold “The Secret to What Men Really Want” (now in my mid-twenties, I’ve performed extensive research, and can now generalize all of male kind into liking: sex, naked ladies, oral sex, cuddles, beer, and a nice hot dinner which they may or may not cook themselves. Mystery solved!).

When I landed in Spain 3 years ago, I knew no Spanish whatsoever, but I was able to read and understand Cosmo in a foreign language. Why? Because the vocabulary used by the magazine is so narrow, and their topics so repetitive, that you literally don’t need it to be written in your mother tongue, or even a language you have a basic grasp of. It put me in mind of how “Newspeak” in George Orwell’s dystopian 1984 is used to condense language, with the aim of constraining human thought.

So, with that in mind, it made me chortle this week to read The Vagenda’s heartening story on women who comment disdainfully on Cosmo’s facebook posts. Sometimes The Vagenda helps me to stop contemplating putting my head in the oven. That, and the fact that my oven is electric, so I wouldn’t die by asphyxiation, I’d just get really hot. Vagenda: Saving lives.

In my teens, I worked as a sales assistant in a “corner shop”, bagging groceries, cleaning and restocking, as well as flicking through at least 80% of the magazines on the shelves. I have to say, even the trashy boys magazines were much more preferable to me than the girls gossip mags. I don’t need to be exposed to advertising to get the latest “fashion” clothes, nor do I need to see bits of non-airbrushed female celebs highlighted for my supposed schadenfreudic delight. I’m indifferent to their physical imperfections. I do, however, want jokes, survival tips, film and technology reviews, instead of boring crap about how to catch a man. I’ve broken enough hearts to know that men don’t really care about whether you have this seasons “must have” high heels.

While I was in France this summer, I did manage to get hold of some Feminist mags. At first I thought “Well, this is thin”, but then I realized that they had NO ADVERTS. NONE. Zero. No wonder creams, no clothing, no tampax (mooncup all the way, sisters). I can’t WAIT for women’s magazines to catch up with what modern women want. How about a bit of male objectification, or profiling successful female role models? How about some jokes? How about some reviews of proper books, not just books for girls?



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