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February 26, 2013

Cosmo Quickies: February 2013

We have been slacking on the Cosmo quickies every month, sorry... we just got the March issue in the mail which is the signal that we better get fucking back to the February issue before February is over! We already went off on their "Fake Chastity Belt" advice (UNDER THE BATH MAT!) but oh boy, this was a doooooozy of an issue... It's the LOVE issue!

So of course that means:
  • Epic Confessions
  • A Cheater's Diary
  • Obsessive Office Crushes
Yep, sounds like true love to me!

The sexy cover model is Julianne Hough and there's a little arrow pointing at her head that says "On Success and Sexy Time With Seacrest!" Ugh, again, the most fascinating 'fact' about the woman on the cover is her connection... to a man. Let's recap the last two months - Carly Rae Jepsen's cover said "The Secret Bond She Shares With Bieber" and Taylor Swift's cover said "Crazy for a Kennedy!" But Seacrest? Barf.

Also on the cover: Ohhhhhhh! CRAZY HOT SEX: 10 Secrets to Intense Action

You can tell it's going be really crazy and intense because they used SEVEN h's! We cannot wait to hear what their ten secrets are. We're pretty sure it's definitely going to be brand new secrets that no one has ever read about before ever in any past issue of Cosmo, right:?

Then Cosmo does a weird little juxtaposition / math equation: 
Fun Fearless Lingerie
Try the Sex Diet & Curb Your Carb Cravings
"I'm Marrying My Gay Best Friend"
(and yes...he's great in bed!)
You can only wear your fun, fearless lingerie if you first lose weight on the "sex diet"... plus, marry your gay best friend. We do not know what the total of that addition problem is.

We don't usually address stuff written in the "What You Thought of the December Issue" section (letters from readers) but we have a few things to say this time:

These were good:
Progressive Props
"I was so impressed with your inclusion of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi in 'If They Break Up, We Quit Life!" Articles like these are helping to normalize homosexual relationships." - Claire M., Worcester, Mass.
Sweet Shaming
"The blurb on the cover, 'So You Are a Cupcake? Fast Moves to Burn it Off!' really bothered me. You made it sound as if eating a cupcake is something to be ashamed of. I try to work out regularly, but I do it to be healthy, not to burn off something I ate." - Elizabeth K., Halifax, Penn.
These were annoying...
Nervous Flier
"Reading my Cosmo magazine; turn to 'Late Night Sex'. The man sitting next to me on the plane looked horrified. #Priceless." -@annadwyerr
Young and Gifted
"I love that Taylor Swift was on the cover of the December issue. It's so amazing that she has accomplished so much by 23....Wow!" - Laken M., Auburn, Ind.
...because like we said above (and in our December Quickies) Swift has accomplished so much by age 23. So why the fuck is "Crazy for a Kennedy!" the only fact they could think of for the cover? (Especially since she wasn't even still dating him by the time the magazine went to print.)
And then this... oh fuck this:
A Few Good Men
"Cosmo's 'The Only Kind of Man Worth Marrying' is a must-read. Good guys are out there, I promise!" - @_meredithanne_
We had a lot of strong feelings about that article! One thing we can say is that it is not a must-read. It's common sense plus tips from an attempted murderer.

This month's "hot topic" from The Cosmo Question is "Can Two Alpha Females Be Friends?" Um... yes. They discuss Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's success and real-life friendship:
But perhaps the greatest takeaway from their pairing is a reminder that powerful women can be friends, share the spotlight, and not be viewed as competitors.
That's the greatest takeaway from their friendship? Really? Why do we have to continue to portray this stereotype of women as always being "competitors" pitted against each other, to the extent that we even have to ask if it's even possible that two successful women can be friends? Of course they can. And maybe they'd be able to more often if Cosmo and the world didn't continuously tell us that we're supposed to be competing with each other.

Then of course, there's this:
How often are we told to choose between two amazing women, as if we can only like one? Gaga or Madonna? Jen or Angelina? Carrie or Samantha or Charlotte or Miranda? Pick only one!
Yeah, Cosmo, it really sucks when we the media continuously pits Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie against each other. So um, why do you do it every fucking single issue? (Twice, last month.)

Fun, Fearless... FAIL! Cosmo calls the trends like they see them "from wow to WTF". Honestly, it's not even worth the time to write about how stupid and arbitrary this section is, just take our word for it. We don't need Cosmo to tell us which celebrity's "super-smoky eyes" are the best (spoiler: Berenice Marlohe beats Ke$ha, OMG!).

Then, "in honor of Valentine's day", Cosmo introduces their PDA Awards:  "we reveal stars at their touchy best (and worst!)". It is of course, filled with arbitrary and hypocritical slut shaming.

For instance, this photo of Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake isn't that much different than the one next to it, of Dough Hutchison and Courtney Stodden. So then why is the latter described as "Ickiest Grope Fest" and "put the scene in obscene"? For no fucking reason, that's why. No reason other than Stodden is known for being sexy and the couple's "controversial" relationship was the focus of a reality show "Couples Therapy".

Note: These aren't the exact pics used. They're pretty similar but were cropped in Cosmo's version.

Speaking of slut-shaming, Sexy vs. Skanky doesn't disappoint this month!

Yet again (as usual) they've taken two pretty similar situations and just focused on one photo to decide which one is sexy and which is skanky - but the tables could easily be turned if you looked at another pic from the same day. That's because it's really about who the photos are of, and not what's happening in them.

Cute Vacation Lovin' (Rumer Willis) vs. Gross Seaside Humpin' (Model Suelyn Medeiros)

These are the photos that Cosmo used:

Not completely sure why making out in the ocean is totally cool and picking up your girlfriend on the beach is gross humping, but it probably has more to do with the fact that Suelyn Medeiros is a sexy model/actress who dared to wear a thong bikini at the beach than anything else. Because here are some other scenes from the same day, that Cosmo didn't choose because they don't make the same point of Medeiros being "skanky"...

What's the diference between this pic (below) and the one of Rumer and her boyfriend kissing in the ocean? Nothing.

Or how bout this... See below how Rumer's boyfriend is picking her up and being playful? That's what the "gross seaside humping" was, if you'd look at the whole scene (also below). 


So what's really the difference? It's the bikini bottom. That's it. 

Also in the Sexy vs. Skanky line-up was:
Sexy: Derek Jeter, with or without a few extra pounds
Skanky: Derek Eater jokes. It's the off-season; cut the guy some slack!
We agree, but seriously Cosmo... did you forget that half your magazine is about telling women what they can/can't eat and how to burn off that single cupcake you indulged in?
Flirty bird - love the feather peplum, Jess! (Jessica Biel) vs. Dirty bird - cheesy, crotch-y, just plain wrong (British personality Katie Price)

Note: The photo of Kate Price is not exact picture used in the magazine, but it's the same outfit and similar pose and the same background... so it's close enough. Now we won't pretend that Katie Price's outfit isn't a little bit over the top... but as usual, it's taken out of context. Cosmo makes it seem as though Price wore that on the red carpet at the Oscars or something, but it's really from a photo shoot to promote her newly launched jewelry line KP Rocks (hence the KP Rocks url and logo behind her). That's why it's over-the-top. It's a costume, not an outfit. Here's are some other pics from the shoot:

In the man-thro-pol-o-gy section, Cosmo yet again tells us how to "decode" some aspect of a man's life or behavior. We've seen them try to decode his text messages, how he holds his beer, how he grabs your ass... but this one really takes the cake. "Decode His... Bed Linens." Yes, you read that correctly. His fucking bed linens! Apparently, if he has bright colored sheets he's a rebel and if they're neutral, he's a "straight shooter". Satin finish, silk or Egyptian cotton? Too high-maintenance. Cartoon characters? "Run for the hills", he's a man-child. Cosmo, this time you've just gone too far on the decoding.

Also in this section, is "Confessions of a Player". A "famous athlete who, shall we say, gets around" gives them some tips on how to identify if your man is cheating. Just the intro already annoys us - he "gets around". There's a difference between someone who is a jerk (in this case a "player" which they've decided is synonymous with "cheater") and someone who sleeps with a lot of people (someone who "gets around"). It's not always the same thing Cosmo.

In the Fun, Fearless Work section, an article "Can Looking Too Young Hurt You at Work?" suggests that although "most women would kill to look younger than they are" it could jeopardize your career because people don't take you seriously. Okay, maybe that's a valid concern, although we think the author's story is a bit over-exaggerated. However it was the side bar "5 Ways to Be Taken Seriously at Work" that irked us. Specifically this tip:
Unplug at Key Moments
In a meeting, take notes on paper, and look up and nod. "Unless everyone else there is doing so, don't use an electronic device like an iPhone," Keener warns. "It can look like you're texting or sending personal e-mails."

So you should take notes in a way that is both less efficient and more harmful to the environment (paper waste!) just so people don't think you're texting? First of all, I'd be surprised if no one else was taking notes electronically, but even so, that should be an opportunity to use your "youthfulness" to be a good example and show how much more tech-savvy you are. This should be an asset to the company. No reason to dumb yourself down and go back to pencil on a legal pad when there are better ways to go about it.

Sometimes we do have to give Cosmo a little credit for their political section, "The Real Power Players of D.C.", which highlights five new female Senators and "Fun, Fearless Females" on women who are "kicking ass and making a difference".

In SEX on a desk: worth it? Cosmo tells "true stories" of women who have had workplace affairs. Of course, they had to include some famous examples in a "Affairs to Remember" sidebar such as Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton and the complicated Petraeus scandal. But mixed in there, of course is this fucking garbage:
The Celebrity Swapperoo
Ever since Angelina snagged Brad from Jen on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, we can't get enough of this tabloid-y triangle.
You know what, we actually can get enough of it. In fact, we have had enough of it! We're pretty sure that everyone on the planet "had enough" years ago, including the "triangle" themselves. Just a few pages ago you asked why we can't stop pitting women against each other? And you used Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston as an example of two alpha females, did you not? Well, here's your answer - we learned it by watching you Cosmo!

In "The secrets to super passionate sex", Cosmo gives us tips to have "richer, more connected sex that makes you smile every time you think about it". And you'll never believe what their advice is...

First, they blame adult films:
There are a few reasons that you may not be having as much passionate sex as you deserve. The first? The rise of mainstream porn. "It's become the model of what people think sex is supposed to be," [...]

"Women become convinced that they should emulate porn stars, so they try to do all these wild, man-pleasing moves rather than paying attention to their own satisfaction and taking the time to find out what they like too" [...]
Now wait... aren't like, 90% of Cosmo's sex tips about "wild, man-pleasing moves"? So it's okay when women use Cosmo as the model of what sex should be, but not porn? Yeah, they have a good point that adult films shouldn't necessarily be sex ed, but isn't it possible that some women might find out what they like to do by watching porn? And maybe some couples are turned on by watching porn. And maybe there might even be a porn star out there who is bridging the gap between porn and sex ed in a really innovative and interesting way? Oh wait, there is and her name is jessica drake. But why discuss that when we can just rehash the same oversimplified "porn is ruining your sex life" theory from the last five or ten or fifty articles on this topic, right Cosmo?

And of course, to back up their bullshit claims about porn, they've included a sidebar called "Meet the Woman Who's Bringing Sexy Back" on Cindy Gallop's new website MakeLoveNotPorn. We think Gallop has good intentions, but no, we're not buying it (literally). Her MNLP business model doesn't seem particularly workable to us at all, and we definitely wouldn't go so far as to say that she's "bringing sexy back" or doing something particularly unique or revolutionary. There are a lot of other women they could have interviewed (like, say, Tristan Taormino) who have actually been breaking new ground and doing cool stuff in the area of feminist porn.

Then later in the article, they again use the ableist term "lame", just to round-out of the offensiveness of the whole piece.

In "Can Sex Make You Skinnier?" Cosmo has actually suggested something almost as crazy as hiding your panties under the bathmat. They're suggesting that having sex (or just thinking about it) can substitute eating carbs, sweets or other diet no-nos. The author (oh look it's Jessica "UNDER THE BATH MAT" Knoll again!) tested the theory by doign something sexual every time she had a carb craving. Spoiler alert: it doesn't work.

"I'm Marrying My Gay Best Friend" tells the anonymous "true" story of a woman who literally married her gay best friend. And it's not a marriage of convenience, they allegedly have all the romance and sex of an actual marriage, except he's gay and she's a woman. It's kind of hard to know how to feel about this story. On the one hand, we don't agree with putting people in boxes with strict rules. Sexuality is fluid and just because someone primarily identifies as homosexual doesn't mean they can't be attracted to certain members of the opposite sex. On the other hand, it's kind of hard not to at least wonder if this marriage is legit or if they're living a lie. And then of course, there are plenty of stereotypes about gay men (and straight men) thrown around for good measure...
Dating a gay man has its upsides. (Dave still considers himself fundamentally gay; he's attracted to lots of different types of men but to only one woman--me!) While I wouldn't call myself a slob, Dave basically organized my entire life. When we're out shopping, he knows when to ask, "Will you really wear those shoes?" He's not just my date to weddings: He helps me pick out the perfect dress and even does my hair. I know some women may prefer a more traditional show of masculinity, but I love Dave as a partner. Straight guys might give their girlfriends flowers once a year on Valentine's Day. Dave gives me flowers every week.
It's like one step forward and two steps back - she makes an interesting point (for Cosmo at least) about how guys don't have to conform to mainstream standards of masculinity to be "real men" or great partners, but she does it in the middle of a "he does my hair and shops with me!" cliché-fest.

In "Are You Your Best Friend's Worst Enemy?" Cosmo gives advice on how to be give unsolicited advice to your friends without sounding judgmental. Some of the examples given are valid, but there were a few that we think crossed the line from sounding judgmental to actually being judgmental. For example:
Be Honest When... Her over-the-top outfits are attracting the wrong attention.
You love going shopping with her, but she insists on buying every cleavage-baring top she can find. She's a gorgeous girl, but her face isn't what's making people stare.
Here's How To Do It: Focus your convo on the potential for embarrassing situations, rather than zeroing in on her outfit, says Bonior. If she dresses too sexy for work, say, "I think that outfit looks great on you, but I wonder if some old-school coworker might think it's not right for work." Then spin your next shopping trip as a wardrobe upgrade for both of you.
There's so much about this advice that is judgmental and slut-shamey. Look at the choice of words "over-the-top" ... "wrong attention" ... "too sexy" ... they're really making a lot of judgments on what is or isn't appropriate dress. How do we know she's getting the wrong kind of attention without knowing what kind of attention she's looking for? And who is to say what is "over-the-top" or "too sexy"? Since when is cleavage baring so bad? Haven't they seen the clothing that Cosmo advertises in their editorial photo spreads?

The Cosmo Interview was with cover model Julianne Hough. The feature itself is as stupid and boring and boyfriend-centric as most of the interviews, but "The Cosmo Quiz" they gave her really was extra dumb this month.
The accomplishment I'm most proud of is:
a. Starring on the big screen in films like Safe Haven and Rock of Ages.
b. Recording a country album.
c. Landing Ryan Seacrest.
d. All of the above.
e. Other:
Landing Ryan Seacrest!? Hough was as surprised as we were by choice c... she handwrote in "OMG for real?" (Her actual answer was e - "starting my charity", good for her.)

Another props-for-Cosmo moment (it's so rare when they do something right, we have to acknowledge it when they do)... in the Hot & Healthy section, there's a feature on emergency contraception called "So, the Condom Broke..." It explains what EC is, how it works, and how to get it. Nice work.

And finally, the Cosmo Quiz... "Are you Self-Sabotaging on the Web?"

When you hear that your frenemy from college started a successful blog, you:
A. Visit it, realize it'll only make you mad, then go back to browsing Zappos.
B. Bookmark it and hate-read it every morning.
C. Scoff at the naive idea that a blog is any indicator of success.

And... fuck you Cosmo. A blog, is like, totally an indicator of success! Everyone knows that. At least, it's a way better indicator of success than landing Ryan Seacrest.

Note: There are two other articles in this issue that we were really pissed off about - one about how it's a mistake to admit when you've cheated and one about women going to strip clubs. Not shockingly one of them was written by Jessica "UNDER THE BATH MAT" Knoll and features quotes from attempted murderer Hugo Schwyzer, so you can just imagine how we feel about them - but we had too many feelings to fit in here in Cosmo Quickies. So you can look forward to more, coming soon...

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