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December 27, 2012

Cosmo Quickies: December 2012

We already wrote about two horrible articles in the December 2012 issue of Cosmo... but we thought we'd give you all one more quick run-down of everything else that was wrong in this issue (before we start dissecting the January 2013).

That's Taylor Swift on the cover. (Not sure why there's a huge "Sexy" over her torso. It's hard to keep track of which issues of Cosmo are supposed to be the "sexy" issues... because they're all basically the same issue.)

A couple of things irked us straight away from the cover alone. The Taylor Swift story is headlined as "Crazy for a Kennedy!" which showcases Cosmo's longstanding tradition of only writing about women and women's issues as far as they're framed by men. I mean, it's not like there's anything else interesting about Taylor Swift they could have focused on... it's not as though she has a new album (oh wait, she does... Red was released in October 2012) or an upcoming tour (Red tour is scheduled to begin in March 2013). It's not as though she has won any awards recently (she won two Grammys in 2012, bringing her lifetime total to six so far, and was nominated for three more for the 2013 Grammy Awards). It's not as though she had any other kind of accomplishments or acclaim this year (except for, you know, being 2012's highest paid musical performer). Nah, the most interesting thing about Taylor Swift, according to Cosmo, is that she's dating a Kennedy. Wow.

Further down the cover page is the offensive "So You Ate a Cupcake? Fast Moves to Burn it Off!" because women should feel ashamed for indulging in one single cupcake and have to work their asses off to get rid of it immediately.

Also on the cover: "GREAT GUY... What's With the Lame Gift?" What's with the ableist language? Cosmo hasn't gotten the memo yet that you're not supposed to use the word "lame" anymore.

And finally: "Innocent Mistakes that Blow a Job Interview". There's actually nothing wrong with this headline, except that when I read it quickly I saw it as "Blow Job Interview" and that made me laugh.

Finally, onto the inside of the magazine...

The Cosmo Question: "Every month we take on a hot topic" claims this section. So what is this month's question?
What's With the Bodyguards?
Yes, this month's "hot topic" was why celebrity women sometimes date their bodyguards. Way to ask the hard questions Cosmo!
The "Sexy vs. Skanky" section is always full of offensive slut-shaming bullshit. This month was no exception...   

"Taking your twins out" (Sarah Jessica Parker with her daughters) vs. "Taking your twins out" (Mary Carey with her large breasts) ... apparently if you have large breasts you're supposed to leave them at home when you go out? Her dress is a bit revealing but really, when you have breasts that size, everything looks a little revealing. But what's the big deal with showing off what you got? This is just part of Cosmo's long-running history of slut-shaming women for being sexy, especially when those are women who make their career being sexy, such as adult actresses like Mary Carey.

A little bit further down the list they have "Momshells" vs "Cougars". What the fuck is a "momshell"? We get that it's a mom/bombshell, but what qualifes one to be a momshell? (We're thinking this is their PG-rated way of saying "MILF"?) And what is the difference between a momshell and a cougar? Is it just the age? If so, then fuck you Cosmo.

Next is "Sharing a pic with your guy at the checkout line (Behati Prinsloo and Adam Levine)" vs "Sharing spit with your guy at the checkout line (Rose McGowan and boyfriend)". Hm. Here's a close-up of both photos:

It's obviously just a quick smooch between McGowan and her boyfriend Davey Detail, while they waited online for their groceries. Who cares? Why is this skanky? Why is it sexy for a couple to be photographed on line at the grocery, but skanky if they happen to steal a brief moment for a kiss? Are we 100% percent convinced that Levine hadn't kissed his girlfriend at the grocery earlier that day and it just wasn't caught on film? Have you never kissed your significant other in public!? They make it seem as if he had her pressed up against the doors of the frozen food section, geez.

Here are another two pics... one of McGowan and Detail the same day as their shopping trip and one of Levine and Prinsloo another day, kissing at a friend's party. Now who is the skanky couple? (Trick question: Neither. There's nothing skanky about kissing your significant other.)

And finally...

"Three WTF-worthy mouths" is the phrase they used to describe the supposedly skanky Georgina Leahy at the UK Lingerie Awards. (Note: The pic on the right isn't the exact one used by Cosmo, but it's a similar shot from the same event.) This one was also pretty confusing... what exactly is skanky about this photo? Yes, it's true that her lip necklace and belt are kind of ridiculous, but we're pretty sure that's the point. But even so, why is it skanky? And it's pretty fucking rude to call this three WTF-worthy mouths, because basically... the third one is her actual mouth. So Cosmo is just calling her actual mouth "WTF-worthy"? Why? What's the difference between Leahy's bright red lipstick and Gwen Stefani's "sexy" bright red lipstick, except for the fact that she's got the silly necklace and belt to go with it?

We're pretty sure that the only reason why this is under "Skanky" is because she's at the Lingerie Awards and because Leahy is a lingerie model (in addition to singer, actress, etc.). Also, shame on Cosmo for being so lazy that they missed the actual semi-WTF photos of Leahy from the awards... they managed to find one of the few pics where she wasn't posing with her 6 foot albino python. Still wouldn't have been skanky, but at least it would've been a little more unusual than just a silly necklace.

In the man-thro-pol-ogy section, they let us know about a brand new way to make women crazy. "Flirt on Instagram"...
A new way men are showing that they may be interested in you: Liking your Instagram pics. They love that it's a low-risk way to find out how you feel -- if you Like his photos, it gives him confidence to take the next step. Yes, we're horrified that flirting has been reduced to a click, but two can play that game....
Okay, sorry but one - flirting being reduced to a click is nothing new. What do they think Facebook is for anyway? But the truth of the matter is, liking your Instagram pics is probably not a new way for men to show you that they're interested in you. What it actually probably means is that they like your pic. Really. I mean, it's possible that a guy who likes you will also like your pics, but trying to find hidden meaning on Instagram is just setting women up for disappointment and confusion. 

Also in the man-section is "What Axe Marketers Know About Men". Um, okay. Apparently men like to hang out in coed groups (shocking!). They "all want to be the next Tosh.0" and by that, we assume they mean that they all want to be misogynistic assholes who make rape jokes? And finally, men are into "smelling good".
"Now men are open to 'feminine' products," says McCarthy. For example, from June 2010 to July 2012, shower-gel use among men increased by nearly 15 percent.
So shower-gel is a feminine product? Smelling good is a feminine thing?

In "Hubby's Little Helper", they write about viagra (using Paul Rudd's character in This is Forty as an example). The article actual gives good advice - that viagra shouldn't be for recreational use, rather you should only use it if you actually have erectile dysfunction - however, it comes off a little viagra-negative as a whole. That is, this line in particular:
"...if your guy brings it up, reassure him that an Rx-drug-aided erection isn't necessary - that you're more than happy with his natural talents..."
There's just something a little off with that line, because for some men an "Rx-drug-aided erection" is necessary (specifically, those with E.D.) so it comes off as kind of shaming those men who do need to use viagra. Also, if a man is considering taking viagra without a medical need, then it's probably for his own benefit - so he's probably less concerned with whether his natural talents make her happy and is  looking for a better time during sex for him. Otherwise he'd have suggested that she take a viagra too. The article should just focus on the medical risks for taking the pills without a prescription or diagnosis and not make it about performance, because there's nothing shameful about needing a little help from a little blue pill.

In the Love section, Cosmo reinforces their "men love sports, women hate sports" stereotype yet again...
He Abstains From ESPN. Huge one. Huge. "He gives up his weekend for you -- men take their playtime so seriously that giving it up feels, to them, like a major gesture," says Goldsmith. So if he hangs out with you despite the fact that his football team is playing, he may as well have just lit some candles, give you a massage, and read to you from Fifty Shades of Grey in his sexy voice.
Ugh. There's just so many stereotypes they crammed into one small paragraph! First of all, the assumption that most men are obsessed with ESPN and the related assumption that all women aren't. What if he just invited you to watch his favorite football team with him, because it might just be your favorite football team too? Also, there's the idea that skipping a football game is the equivalent of giving you a sexy, candlelit massage - it isn't. Skipping something he likes, is not the same as doing something you like. It's a sacrifice maybe, and it's a thoughtful gesture, sure. But it's not the same thing. There are plenty of men who would actually give you a romantic night such as that and if that's something that's important to you (it might not be, but if it is), then you shouldn't have to settle for "well, he skipped the Giants game for me" as true romance. And then finally... Fifty Shades of Grey. Ew. I'm sorry, but possibly the least sexy and/or romantic thing I could ever think of would be being subjected to the horrible writing in that book.

In the You, You, You section, Cosmo gives readers an opportunity to bitch about their friends. (Maybe they should've called it "Her Her Her"?) "The High-Maintenance BFF" shares stories of the long way some women go to make their best friends happy. The stories are a mix of women with horrible friends (like the woman who has so many affairs that she has to constantly use her best friend as an excuse to her husband) and women who are horrible friends (like the woman who logs onto her friend's dating profile and contacts potential dates for her without her permission). Overall, it just comes off as petty bitching and that's not exactly what we think of when we think of the "fun fearless females" that Cosmo loves to pretend they care about.

In "8 Surprising Mistakes That Could Cost You Your Dream Job", Cosmo yet again drops the offensive, ableist L-word: 
#1. Your Twitter Feed is Lame
"I always look at potential employees' Twitter feeds, says Alison Brod, president of Alison Brod PR. "I know it's informal but a stream littered with u's and luv's makes you look 12 years old - definitely not hiring material." 
(Guess Brod doesn't realize that Twitter's 140 character limit sometimes makes it necessary to shorten words.)

Under the Health & Fitness GYNO section, there's a quickie tip about you period:
Keep your flow on the down low. Period problem number 92: What to do with your used tampon applicator at this place? Flushing could clog the toilet, so you bury it in the garbage can...and  hope it doesn't come rolling out when he empties the trash. The solution: Tampax Radiant tampons come with resealable wrappers, so you can toss without fear or even take it with you.
Are they serious? It's almost 2013. Do most adult men not realize that women menstruate by now? Are tampon applicators really so embarrassing and offensive that we have to add it to the long of things we're supposed to be ashamed of? We're really supposed to take our tampon applicators home with us in order to avoid letting the man we're presumably dating know that we sometimes use tampons? I mean, god, what if you use pads instead of tampons, are you supposed to be afraid to throw the used ones in his garbage pail too? Or are you just a dirty impure disgusting woman and should just spend the week of your period in a hut away from all the villagers?

In the Lust section (wait, there's a Lust section? ahahahahahha okay, sorry, moving on)... there's an article abut "Late-Night Sex".
Some things are better after midnight -- like karaoke, disco fries, and rip-your-clothes-off sex.
Oh Cosmo. Some of the advice actually isn't terrible (although  not sure what any of them have to do with after midnight... they're almost all things you could do at any time). But a few of their tips on how to "bring the after-party back to your place" are just so silly.
Squeeze your Kegel muscles while you're talking to a lame party guest or standing forever at the bar waiting for a drink. 
They used the word "lame" again
Pull the car into the garage. Then get on the hood and pull him on top of you.
And then tomorrow take the car to the garage to fix the dents and scratches in the hood!
Keep the party mood going by quickly turning on a sexed-up song, like Rihanna's "S&M", and putting it on repeat to ensure it doesn't finish before you do.
Ugh, so not only do I have to listen to Rihanna, but I have to listen to Rihanna on repeat? How many times can you really listen to S&M in a row? If the sex takes longer than 10 minutes (which let's hope it does, at least), that's already too many times. At least make a sex playlist or something, don't listen to the same song again and again.
Don't turn the lights on. Stumble through the dark to the living-room floor, and use the inability to see each other as an excuse to say the kind of things you normally wouldn't. 
Okay, couple of problems with this one... first of all, have sex with the lights on or off, I don't care, but trying to stumble your way into the house in the dark has the potential to go from sexy to ouchie, very quickly. I also object to the idea that not being able to see each other gives you an excuse to say things you normally wouldn't. If you're having sex with this person, shouldn't you be comfortable, you know, talking to them first? What things would you be too ashamed to say that are suddenly okay to say in the dark? I just don't get it.

After the late-night sex article, is an article called "Party of One". 
So you're on your own this week -- that doesn't mean you can't have a good time. 
If this wasn't in the Lust section, knowing Cosmo, I'd think it was a guide for spending the weekend without your significant other and I'd expect tips like "get a manicure!" or "watch soap operas". But nope, you guessed it, it's about masturbation. Of course, they never use that word. Instead it's filled with different euphemisms (like "a little solo time does the body good") and tips from readers. We're actually impressed that Cosmo is acknowledging that masturbation not only exists for women, but is a normal, natural and even positive thing to do. However, we wish they'd have actually said that - instead of just jumping into the readers' stories right away.

Later on, there's a quiz to take to see if you're you should have a threesome or not.
Menage a Trois? We're not here to judge. If your guy wants to try a threesome and you're curious yourself, have at it. But are you sure you're as cool with it as you think you are?

Check all that apply:

[ ] I've never creeped into my boyfriend's e-mail or text messages.
[ ] I thought the Marnie-Jessa smooch in Girls was kind of hot.
[ ] I'm pretty adventurous in bed.
[ ] I'm totally confident about how I look naked.
[ ] My boyfriend doesn't check out other girls...at least not when he's with me.
[ ] My motto is "I'll try anything once."
[ ] I am open with my boyfriend about my sexual fantasies and talk about them in detail.
[ ] I've never stalked my guy's ex on Facebook.
[ ] I'm down to watch girl-on-girl porn sometimes. 
If you don't agree with at least seven of these statements, we have a feeling you'll regret adding another girl to the mix. No matter how comfortable you are with sex or hooking up with a girl, having a threesome with your boyfriend and someone else can bring up all kinds of issues afterward -- especially jealousy. Unless you're totally confident in yourself, one hundred percent secure in your relationship, sexually curious and a little bit kinky, and somewhat attracted to chicks (or at least not repulsed by the thought of being naked with one), you might think twice before giving the green light to a three-way.
Hm. They're not here to judge? Isn't that pretty much Cosmo's job? To judge women? Why do they even have the sexy vs. skanky section if they're not here to judge? Even the fact that they feel the need to say "We're not here to judge" has a tinge of implied judgment in there. And the fact that they've basically given a list of criteria that they have deemed necessary for you to meet before you have a threesome, they're explicitly there to judge.

Then there's the fact that the entire thing is framed as being about the guy. Of course they ignore the fact that some women are not interested in having sex with any guys (and therefore a threesome could be three women) but that's sort of Cosmo-territory to ignore lesbians, so okay. But it's still annoying that the author assumes that it would be the guy's idea and the woman would agree to go along with it... if only she was actually as cool with it as she thought she was. (Because us silly women just have no idea how we actually feel about stuff! We need magazines to tell us how we feel!) It's quite possible that the threesome idea is the woman's idea, not the guy's and she's looking for her significant other to give her the greenlight, not the other way around. Her fantasy might include her with two men (not her and her boyfriend with another woman) which is completely ignored as a possibility and makes some of the questions (like the Marnie-Jessa smooch) kind of moot. Of course, considering that this is the same issue that ran the totally offensive "Worst Date Ever: He Was Bisexual... With a Girlfriend!", Cosmo probably can't fathom the idea that a guy might be willing to participate in a devil's threesome, let alone suggest one.

Also, why do you necessarily need to be having your threesome with a boyfriend? That is, a threesome can exist outside of a committed relationship. Or you might be the third person joining another couple. There are a lot of ways that threesomes can go... so Cosmo's take on it is very limiting. As is their criteria for deciding whether or not you will regret having done it. The truth is, there's always the possibility you will regret your decision, because that's the way human beings are... we make decisions and then we either are happy with our decision or regret them in some way. You could meet all of their arbitrary criteria and still feel uncomfortable and unsatisfied after a threesome... or you could meet none of them and still walk away with no regrets and no qualms.

The fact that they say you have to be "totally confident in yourself" and "one hundred percent secure in your relationship" is also kind of funny. Not that it's impossible to be both of those things (although of course, how many of us can truly say that we are totally one hundred percent?) but getting women to feel insecure abut their bodies and their boyfriends is pretty much Cosmo's bread-and-butter.

Another piece in the Lust section  asks the question "Got sex on the brain?" According to experts, the way you react to and interpret these three images below tells us whether you've got sex on the subconscious...

The first image is of a piece of chocolate cake.
If you said: moist, naughty, wicked, sinful, intense, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth: Sex brain!
If you said: fattening, dark, dessert, rich, heavy, delicious, good: Normal.
Just the fact that it describes someone without "sex brain" as "normal" is annoying. Isn't it normal to have sex on the brain? Don't most people have sex on their minds at some point? Also, we fail to see how "gooey" is related to sex. I don't think of sex as "gooey" or "gooeyness" as sexy. And the word "moist" just makes me feel icky no matter what we're talking about. The first word that I thought of was "cake" and the second was "chocolate" so clearly I don't have sex brain, I have chocolate cake brain.

For the second image, apparently if you see a butt, you have a "dirty mind". If you see "feet" you aren't "sex-obsessed". I saw it as knees, so I have no idea what that says about me. The final image is a Rorschach ink blot and if you think it's a vagina, then you think about sex a lot (emphasis theirs). I'm sorry, but I think I'm pretty sex obsessed and I don't see a vagina in that image at all. I also don't see a Christmas tree or a four-legged animal (some of their suggestions for the non-sex-obsessed).

In "Your Pop Culture Portfolio" Cosmo treats pop-culture trends (like TV shows and actors) like stocks and tells us what to buy, hold or sell. It's all pretty stupid, but we're supposed to use these tips to make our party chatter and Twitter feed more interesting in 2013.

Apparently "Gwen and Mindy" (of The Mindy Project) are trendy, "Jess and Cece" (of New Girl) are just okay, and "Snooki and JWoww" (of Jersey Shore) are on the way out. The reason they give for the decline of the guidettes is not that Jersey Shore's final episode aired this season but rather: "An engagement, a little meatball... the duo has official jumped the shark." Um, what? So they're moving on with their lives and that makes them less likeable? Even though JS is done, a new season of their spin-off is set to premiere in January 2013.

Other "tips" include:
  • Buy Kristen Stewart ("Thanks to the whole cheating thing, K-Stew is undervalued, but she's going to have to have a big month with Breaking Dawn Part 2 and On the Road"), hold Mila Kunis, and sell Avril Lavigne because her engagement ring is "ridiculously tacky".
  • Buy Andrew Lincoln, hold Chris Hemsworth (at least until Thor 2 comes out) and sell Robert Pattinson. So we should buy Kristen Stewart but sell Robert Pattinson? Hm. And their reason? "Rob, we feel for you, but it's time to man up." Um.... what the fuck?
  • Buy Dior 24-Karat Gold Jewelry Tattoos (huh?), hold gold headbands, and sell gold nail polish.
  • Buy "Guy Crush" Joseph Gordon-Levitt, hold Shia LaBeouf (um, we'll sell him, thanks, ew) and sell Taylor Kitsch. 
  • Buy Socialcam ("like Instagram for videos"!), hold Instagram, and sell Foursquare. Considering Instagram's recent screw up (trying to change their TOS to give them the right to sell users' photos) it's kind of funny that Cosmo doesn't think we should "sell" them just yet. 
Finally, in the horoscope section they tell Sagittarius that her best love matches are Pisces and Aries. They give celebrity examples (complete with birthdates) and this just proves once and for all that Cosmo is not a magazine for women over 30 because their examples are Alex Pettyfer (4/10/1990) and Justin Bieber (3/1/1994).

Now I feel old.

We'll be back in January to dissect and mock the January 2013 issue of Cosmo! Happy New Year everyone!


Jezebel said...

The other funny/stupid thing about that 'Crazy for a Kennedy!' headline is that Taylor Swift isn't even dating that guy anymore. Yet another reason why the headline about your cover girl should be about HER, not whatever guy she happens to be dating when you interview her several months before the magazine hits the stands.

Anonymous said...

If women are really so mortified at the idea of leaving their tampon applicator in a man's garbage pail... why not just use a tampon without an applicator, like OB?

I can MAYBE understand being embarrassed about leaving behind used tampons or pads, but just the applicator? Really? So stupid.