Cosmo's Editor-In-Chief Tackles Sexist Double Standard With One Simple Metaphor

Cosmo's Editor-In-Chief Tackles Sexist Double Standard With One Simple Metaphor
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In one sentence, Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles just proved that there's no reason women can't "have it all" — at least when it comes to what they're being offered on newsstands.

"I think that women's lives are multilayered," she told NPR. "I have no problem understanding that women are interested in mascara and the Middle East. Men are allowed to talk about sports relentlessly and yet we still take them seriously. I don't understand why women can't talk about fashion, or sex, or love or wanting more money and not be taken as seriously as men."

Precisely. Women can embody what society would consider to be myriad contradictions: We can be intelligent and wear short skirts, we can love makeup and be just as passionate about international politics.

Furthermore, her deft comparison to men underscores the subtle yet pervasive sexism that reduces women into simple stereotypes: the virgin or the whore; the vamp, the tramp, the angel. Coles evokes what In her book Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay uses "bad feminism" to describe the multifaceted, complex nature of women who, like men, are all living and working and dealing with family responsibilities relationships.

Coles' bold statement also highlights the new, more progressive direction Cosmopolitan has taken this year, from its decision to endorse "pro-women candidates of any political party" in the year's midterm elections to having trans actress and activist Laverne Cox host the GoBOLD video challenge, featured on its website.

Speaking to Politico about Cosmo's decision to endorse candidates in this coming midterm election, Coles acknowledged that readers seem to be taking note of the magazine's change in direction, but reiterated her ethical commitment to publishing a magazine that represents the many facets of women's lives, from fashion to politics.

"People keep saying, 'Oh, you've made the magazine much more political,' but I feel that these are about lifestyle issues for women," she said. "The biggest single decision which will impact your life is when you have a child. I want women to have control over that, not a bunch of old white guys sitting in D.C. That to me is why I am doing this."

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Marcie Bianco

Dr. Marcie Bianco is a Staff Writer at Mic, a Contributing Editor at Curve Magazine, and an adjunct associate professor at Hunter College. She has contributed to AfterEllen, Feministing, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Lambda Literary, XO Jane, and The Women’s Review of Books. She writes and lectures about ethics, from feminism to race relations. Her current writing projects include a manuscript about lesbian academic affairs and a collection of feminist essays.

MORE FROM

Women beer drinkers finally get the Beer for Her they never asked for

Why drink a rugged manly beer when you can have Aurosa's pink girly beer instead?!

Six months after the Women’s March on Washington, the Resistance Revival has a message for Trump

"Well I/ Went down to the White House and I/ Took back what they stole from me," the Resistance Revival Chorus sang in a Times Square flash mob last weekend.

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.

Why pro-life doctors want the First Amendment to protect their right to lie to patients

Crisis pregnancy centers believe they should be exempt from a law saying they should inform patients about all their medical options, including abortions.

‘Brown Girls’ wants to tell women of color’s stories in all their messy, complicated glory

Creators Fatimah Asghar and Sam Bailey want to let their characters break free of the neat identity categories people are wont to place them in.

Women beer drinkers finally get the Beer for Her they never asked for

Why drink a rugged manly beer when you can have Aurosa's pink girly beer instead?!

Six months after the Women’s March on Washington, the Resistance Revival has a message for Trump

"Well I/ Went down to the White House and I/ Took back what they stole from me," the Resistance Revival Chorus sang in a Times Square flash mob last weekend.

20 attorneys general write letter urging Betsy DeVos to keep sexual assault protections

The attorneys general reminded DeVos that scrapping Title IX guidance will have a chilling effect on sexual assault and rape reporting rates.

New study suggests high workloads and aging doctor population means looming OB-GYN shortage

Obstetricians and gynecologists are overworked at nearing retirement age — without a younger contingent to replace them.

Why pro-life doctors want the First Amendment to protect their right to lie to patients

Crisis pregnancy centers believe they should be exempt from a law saying they should inform patients about all their medical options, including abortions.

‘Brown Girls’ wants to tell women of color’s stories in all their messy, complicated glory

Creators Fatimah Asghar and Sam Bailey want to let their characters break free of the neat identity categories people are wont to place them in.