In my world, being a magazine major is a legitimate excuse for sitting in the faculty authors section of the UGA bookstore and poring through magazines several times a week. I consider it research, which really isn’t that crazy since I’m trying to see what kind of stories people are interested in and what kind of pieces I’ll be competing with one day. I also like to look for unethical ads and mistakes that magazines make because finding faults in well-established publications is fun and there’s no getting around that.
Last week, the November issue of Cosmopolitan hit the stands. I’m not going to lie. I’m a girl, and since Cosmo is one of the most widely read women’s magazines out there, I research it. I do like the magazine. Don’t judge me for it. But something about the November issue left me really confused. Cosmo-induced confusion isn’t new or anything, and I think lots of girls my age can agree. Cosmopolitan can be baffling at times because the magazine dedicates an entire department to men, treating random facts like groundbreaking discoveries. Sorry Cosmo, but we all know that a man’s testosterone levels are highest in the morning, and the sex appeal of the word “bacon” isn’t that surprising considering how much people love to eat it.
But let me get to my point.
I didn’t recognize the woman on the cover, so I scanned it for some kind of clue. There was no name on the cover. Who the hell was this bitch? Did Cosmopolitan just make a huge mistake? I flipped to the table of contents to see if I could find out who this girl was and why she was on the cover. Nothing.
I didn’t figure out that this woman was Kate Upton, who might be a famous model or something, but how the hell would I know that, until I got to the page that teaches people how to steal the cover look. I didn’t care about what this girl was wearing or how somebody applied her makeup. Why was she significant enough to put on the cover? What makes her relevant? I may hate Taylor Swift more than anything, but Glamour didn’t make any mistakes putting her on the November cover because she is extremely relevant right now and every teenage girl on the planet is going to pick that issue up. Or why not Selena Gomez again? Didn’t she just get busted for a sex tape? That would have been perfect!
I was hoping Cosmo would provide some explanation as to why Kate Upton was significant and worthy of a magazine cover that wasn’t something like Sports Illustrated. I flipped the pages frantically in search of the profile on Kate Upton. There was no time to read some fact about men I already knew since I am blessed with common sense. The trend report and Sexy vs. Skanky could wait. I had to get to the bottom of this.
I finally found it – I actually hadn’t realized that I found it until I flipped past it. So I went back. There wasn’t a story here. It was just a busty blonde girl modeling some lingerie and sweaters. Well what was the point of that? There’s something like that in every issue of Cosmo. No, every issue of every women’s magazine. And for some reason, somebody thought this was more important than a profile. Or is there just nothing special about Kate Upton? Is that why Cosmo didn’t even bother to interview her? And no, a few quotes about style don’t count as an interview.
I really hope this discrepancy isn’t here to stay, because I really like reading profiles and interviews. I may think a celebrity is stupid, but then I’ll read a cover story on her and not hate her as much. And I really like Cosmo’s interviews because there’ll be a page showing a survey the cover girl filled out. The November issue didn’t even have that.
Come on, Cosmopolitan. Helen Gurley Brown used to be your editor-in-chief. You’re supposed to help women establish a sense of self-empowerment. Nixing a profile on your cover girl isn’t the best way of doing that.