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January 14, 2010

Cosmo Campaigns for GOP Senate Candidate and Former Nude Model

Well, here's a headline I never thought I'd write, but it's true. Scott Brown, a Republican who's currently running against Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election to fill the Senate seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy, once posed naked for Cosmo.

Here's the centerfold, straight from Cosmo's website:

Many of you probably hadn't heard about this nude photo, but there's a good explanation for that. You see, Scott Brown is a man. If a female politician had a nude magazine photo shoot in her past, we all would have heard about it because it would have provoked a lot more media/blogosphere/tabloid/AFA action alert coverage than this photo is getting. In fact, would a female politician even be able to get to the point of being a candidate for the U.S. Senate with a photo like this in her past? I think it's doubtful. Opponents would use it to question her character and there would be plenty of slut-shaming going around. And even if party leaders didn't personally see the photos as a big deal, they'd probably be more likely to pass over a qualified female candidate rather than risk dealing with a potential scandal.

You might think that since Cosmo is supposed to be the home of the "fun fearless female" and is packed full of sex tips every month, they might mention something about this sexist double standard. Unfortunately they're too busy drooling over Scott Brown:

Long before he was a politician, the Republican candidate vying for Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat posed nude for the centerfold of Cosmo. Scott Brown won our “America’s Sexiest Man” contest and appeared in the June 1982 issue. In those days he was a 22-year-old law student at Boston College who was cramming for finals just days before stripping down for our photographer.

“Here at Cosmo we’ve had bachelors go on to be actors, models, and reality show stars, so we’re thrilled that one has gone on to become a politician,” says Kate White, Cosmo’s editor in chief. Obviously we know how to pick ’em. This particular bachelor has always had political ambitions and even admitted to being “a bit of a patriot” when we interviewed him.

Compared to some men in the GOP, this politician looks pretty damn good for his age. We bet he still has an amazing body underneath his suit and tie. There have been plenty of pics of our president running around without his shirt, so now that a precedent has been set, we’re hoping to see Scott shirtless again.

Since we know the candidate so, ahem, well, we thought we’d help him out with a few campaign slogans:

Who Needs Joe Plumber When You Can Have Scott Six-Pack?

Scott Brown: A Name You Can Trust, Abs You Can Believe In

Vote for Brown. He Has One Hell of a Stimulus Package.

Leave your own slogans for Scott Brown below!

I understand why Cosmo wanted to highlight the random fun fact that a candidate for the U.S. Senate was once naked in the pages of their magazine, but I don't think they also needed to "help him out" with a fluffy post about how "thrilled" they are over his political career, complete with links to his campaign website and campaign slogans, but minus any comment about his actual positions on the issues that will most affect Cosmo's young female readership.

I know, I know. What did I expect, right? This is Cosmo we're talking about. And I get that their brilliant campaign slogans aren't "real", just really cheesy and cringeworthy. But it's still annoying to see such a shallow cheerleading post about the cute guy running for the Senate when this election is so important.

Cosmo can joke about Scott Brown's "stimulus package", but not mention his opposition to health care reform. They can brag about how they "know how to pick ’em", but not point out that his opponent, Martha Coakley, would be the first female Senator in the history of Massachusetts. They can talk about how good he looks for his age, but not mention a recent press conference in which "Massachusetts' leading advocacy organizations for women’s reproductive rights denounced Republican Scott Brown’s poor record on a woman’s right to choose". They can fantasize about seeing more shirtless pictures without letting their readers know that "In 2005, he sponsored legislation to allow doctors and nurses to turn away rape victims from Massachusetts emergency rooms if they objected to providing rape victims with emergency contraception."

In short, the fun fearless females who read Cosmo might have a lot to fear if Scott Brown is elected. Obviously I don't turn to Cosmo for deep political analysis or think that anyone should depend on them for coverage of important issues. But it would be nice if their editors could at least acknowledge that this election is critically important and not just an excuse to tell "package" jokes, and stop propping up the dated old idea that women will vote for the "cute" candidate regardless of his positions on the issues that matter most to them.

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