I'm a Cosmo Girl Now
To keep it as brief as possible (to avoid exposing my plug), I know a newsstand that puts magazines out a week before they are supposed to. They have helped me nab the AOC Times cover, Bieber’s marriage-to-therapy story in Vogue, and the March issue of Cosmopolitan before anyone else. Now, I’m haven’t been an avid Cosmo buyer in a few years, but the March cover featured Lana Condor eating a pizza, and looking adorable. I was mesmerized. (Actually, I was a safety concern because I was standing still in the middle of the sidewalk.)
I’d never seen a Cosmo cover like it. They usually feature a heavily photoshopped woman in front of a monocolored background with Beyoncé-esque windblown hair and a seductive stare. Lana was sitting in a bed, eating a heart-shaped pizza and looked like how she looks in her Instagram pictures. She looked relatable and cool. And, most of all, the cover wasn’t cringeworthy
I played it off to my coworkers when I returned to my desk, magazine in hand. It was a joke. Something ironic. But at the same time, I was gushing about that cover! She was eating food! On a magazine cover! I’d never seen anything like it; women aren’t allowed to do that.
When I began to read it on the subway home, I was completely engrossed. So engrossed that I missed my stop. I missed my stop four times. Until I heard the train voice announce a station name I had never in my life heard of (I was in Queens) (I live in Brooklyn).
The tone of the magazine had changed. The stories were interesting and impactful. But the heart of it was still there. There were quizzes about ghosting your date, and a multi-page zodiac spread. It was a Cosmo that spoke to me, that made me feel like it was curated by my twitter feed.
Jess Pels took over as Editor-in-Chief this year and her impact shows. She wants Cosmo to be about being the savviest girl in the room. And she’s letting data lead the way. In a profile by the New York Times, Jess reveals numbers are running the ship now. They want to bring their readers the content they want. Which, according to them (and me), is true crime, celebrity interviews, and feminist issues facing young women today. The sex section is intact, but I read it mouth agape, not because the suggestions were crazy but because they used pronouns.
I’ve been telling everyone “you’ve got to read the new Cosmo you’ve got to read it their new Editor-in-Chief is amazing” because for once, I felt like Cosmo wasn’t putting out clickbait sex tips to make you feel awful about yourself. It wasn’t being a parody of Amy Schumer’s parody. Cosmo seemed to care about you and talk to you as a friend.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend that Cosmo is the bible and practically perfect now. I relize that, no matter their intention, magazines can have a harmful impact on women’s view of themselves. I’m just saying I’m standing behind Cosmopolitan now. And I think you would really like it too.