It’s about time Cosmo was treated like the trashy rag it is.

Mega-retailer Walmart has agreed to restrict Cosmopolitan magazine to the periodical racks. Up until the agreement, which was made public Tuesday, Cosmo could be found in checkout lines.

The National Center On Sexual Exploitation lobbied heavily to have the often erotically-centric magazine moved out of children’s line of sight. Because who doesn’t want their children seeing “9 Best Anal Sex Positions” in bright, bold letters, plastered across a scantily clad Disney star? (Cosmo frequently publishes articles containing graphic sex tips innocuously buried between “bubblegum pink” covers and Disney star photo shoots.)

From the National Center on Sexual Exploitation:

After collaborative dialogue with NCOSE, Walmart will remove Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines at 5,000 stores across the country. Protecting minors from the sexually explicit material that Cosmopolitan embodies and perpetuates has been a long-time priority of NCOSE.

“This is what real change looks like in our #MeToo culture, and NCOSE is proud to work with a major corporation like Walmart to combat sexually exploitative influences in our society. Women, men, and children are bombarded daily with sexually objectifying and explicit materials, not only online, but in the checkout line at the store,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Cosmo sends the same messages about female sexuality as Playboy. It places women’s value primarily on their ability to sexually satisfy a man and therefore plays into the same culture where men view and treat women as inanimate sex objects. Further, Cosmo targets young girls by placing former Disney stars on its covers, despite the enclosed sexually erotic articles which describe risky sexual acts like public, intoxicated, or anal sex in detail. Customers should not be forced to be exposed to this content when they are trying to check-out at the store.”

“Walmart’s removal of Cosmo from checkout lines is an incremental but significant step toward creating a culture where women and girls are valued as whole persons, rather than as sexual objects. We are grateful for Walmart’s cooperation and for Walmart leadership’s recognition that corporations must do their part to change #MeToo culture.”

The National Center On Sexual Exploitation credits Walmart’s acquiescence as the fruit of the #MeToo harvest. Buuuuut, I disagree.

#MeToo highlighted sexual abuse among the rich and powerful, and worse, the industries that actively covered for abusers. As we discussed at length, #MeToo turned into a movement that sought to paint every man as a would-be predator, while allowing consenting adult women who crossed sexual boundaries with which they were uncomfortable to blame men for their poor decisions. Those are distinctly different outcomes from a magazine’s placement introducing graphic sexual acts to children.

Where there is congruence though — both Cosmo and #MeToo objectify men and women, and as objectification implies, treat people as objects of emotional projection rather than emotional beings.

All of that to say, I’m glad someone (whether it’s for corporate feel goodness or pure intentions, I don’t care) is taking a small step to protect our children from over-sexualization. The culture war is made up of many small battles and this is a victory in this right direction.

[Featured image from Cosmo Online Media Kit]


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.