Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Nicole Weider, a former model and founder of Project Inspired, a ministry dedicated to helping young women live a life of value and purpose, was glad to see Cosmopolitan magazine stripped from the shelves of Walmart because women are fed up with its hyper-sexualized content.
In an op-ed appearing on Foxnews.com, Weider praises the #MeToo and #Timesup movement, but says they’re missing something even more important – the hyper-sexualized messaging from the media that is so damaging to women.
“No one is talking about the damage being done to young women by the hyper-sexualized messages from the media that we face every day.,” Weider writes. “From popular songs on the radio such as ‘Strip that Down for Me’ to Cosmopolitan magazine and its repetitive message that a woman’s worth is found only in her sex appeal and whether or not she can please a man ‘50 different ways in the bedroom’.”
She applauds the recent move by Wal-Mart to remove Cosmopolitan from over 5,000 checkout lines in its stores. This means fewer risqué covers in front of children and, ultimately, fewer copies being sold.
Weider has been part of the fight to raise awareness about Cosmopolitan’s pornographic content, working alongside heiress Victoria Hearst and thousands of others who see the smutty magazine as an affront to the dignity of women.
“Wal-Mart understands that Cosmopolitan and its hyper-sexualized message is no longer in sync with the times. Cosmo is now being seen in a new light – rather than “empowering” women, it has been exposed as part of the problem,” she writes.
The magazine never talks about a woman’s worth, just about her looks and her body and “how to have a threesome with a new guy, or how to send proper “sexts” to keep our crush hooked.”
Even worse, this content doesn’t just target adults. It’s also aimed a underage girls.
“In the recent past, they have featured an underage actress on the cover while the surrounding headlines included ‘His Best Sex Ever’ with step- by-step instructions inside. This type of pornographic reading material is no subject that an underage girl should be absorbing and encouraged to try out. And yet this same sexualized message is what Cosmo keeps churning out issue after issue.”
This kind of sexual exploitation in today’s media is a real threat to young women because it harms them without them even realizing it.
“The real danger is that Cosmo magazine does this in a subtle yet enticing way, mixing in pornographic advice along with fun “celeb gossip” and beauty tips,” she says. “Exposing young women – many of whom are underage – to hardcore sex advice and getting them hooked for more does not leave them ‘empowered’ by any means.”
Women have had enough, she says.
“Enough of predators getting away with sexual misconduct. Enough with gender imbalance in the workplace. And enough of the message that we are only worth our sexuality and whether or not we can ‘please a man’.”
Cosmopolitan magazine, along with any business or media outlet that pushes this hyper-sexualized message to women for profit have got to go, she says.
Because, “We aren’t buying it anymore.”
Thankfully, women are rising up to take control of their lives – and their self-worth, by enrolling in programs such as Women of Grace and Young Women of Grace, both of which are aimed at helping women to realize their inherent dignity as a daughter of God.
If we’re going to change this world – and the way it views women – we’re not going to do it by reading glossy magazines full of airbrushed models, salacious sex tips, and bad relationship advice. This kind of change can only about through real empowerment, the kind that comes from recognizing and embracing authentic femininity and the genius that is uniquely our own.
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