Welcome to another day all about double standards. On Friday, July 31, it was announced that retailers Food Lion, Hannaford, and Rite Aid will now cover up Cosmopolitan covers, because they are essentially pornography. This move stems from the advocacy group National Center on Sexual Exploitation's (NCSE) campaign titled "Cosmo Harms Minors." As stated on the organization's website, "Cosmopolitan Magazine glamorizes things like public, anal, group, or violent sex in nearly all of their issues. We are asking that Cosmo be sold to adults only and have the cover wrapped like all other porn magazines in retail shops." In light of this news, singer and September 2015 Cosmo cover model Demi Lovato is protesting the cover up. On Wednesday night, the 22-year-old posted a message across social media with the hashtag #UnwrapMyCosmo.
The content featured on the covers will now be behind "blinders" in the stores listed above, which agreed to the policy, because it's too sexual for minors. The blinders are U-shaped and will hide the outside headlines, but not the cover model or the top banner.
Lovato wrote in reference to the Cosmo blinders,
What these individuals who are protesting don't know understand that is for the first time in the long time I feel incredibly EMPOWERED and the MOST BEAUTIFUL I've ever felt on this magazine. It's so liberating to be able to show the world how confident a woman can be once she learns to love herself. It took soul searching and a bit of time before I learned to embrace my body therefore I could not have been more excited to do this shoot. I think what's more important is showing women there's NOTHING WRONG with embracing their bodies and sexuality. I am confident in my own skin and A PROUD COSMOPOLITAN COVER GIRL!
Yes, Cosmo features articles about sex and maybe that's not everyone's cup of tea. And I get that some parents might not want their children to read the magazine, but, in my opinion, they're not going to get much from a small blurb on the cover. Oh, and isn't it funny that Lovato's cover doesn't feature one headline about sex?
What bothers me the most about this is that if women's magazines with headlines about sex are going to now be hidden from minors, then shouldn't men's magazines be covered up as well? (For the record, I personally don't think either should be hidden.) It remains unclear if the National Center on Sexual Exploitation is working to do the same with magazines, like GQ or Men's Health, which also display sexual headlines. If not, then that sure is a double standard.
Victoria Hearst, granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, the founder of Cosmo publisher Hearst Corporation, contributed to the NCSE press release and said this decision will "protect underage children from being exposed to the magazine’s sexually explicit covers showing scantily clad female celebrities and article titles with the words 'sex' and 'orgasm'!" At an NCSE April 2015 press conference, Hearst also revealed that they aren't trying to censor Cosmo or put it out of business. She said,
All we're saying is, if you want to print pornography, I can't stop you. If I was queen of the Hearst Corporation, this magazine would no longer exist and the editor-in-chief and all the people there would be on unemployment. But since I don't have that power, all we're saying is, look — you want to print this junk, then print it. It's adult material, it's clear it's adult material. Label it as such.
Like Lovato, I'm all about women embracing their bodies and their sexuality and don't think that this should be seen as shameful. The U-shaped blinders allow the celebrities, who are sometimes showing cleavage, to still be featured but without context. I have no problem with cleavage myself, but I find it odd that the NCSE is against sexual words, while allowing the women's bodies to be shown without the meaning — the words of empowerment and embracing sexuality — behind the pictures.