“With our focus on empowerment, we are proud of all that the brand has achieved for women around the world.”
Cosmopolitan is defending its record on empowering women after Walmart decided to pull the magazine from its checkout lines around the country following “concerns” raised by a conservative media watchdog.
Cosmo / Hearst
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has long described Cosmo as “a visually hypersexualized and verbally pornographic magazine” that “relentlessly glamorizes things like public, anal, group, and violent sex to its young female readership.”
(The group was first founded in the early 1960s by a group of clergy and was called “Morality in Media.” The group changed its name to the more official-sounding NCOSE in 2015.)
The NCOSE celebrated a victory on Tuesday when Walmart announced it would no longer stock Cosmo at the checkout aisles of its more than 5,000 stores.
“That’s over 5,000 stores where families and individuals will no longer be automatically exposed to Cosmo’s hypersexualized and degrading article titles that regularly promote pornography, sexting, BDSM, group sex, anal sex, and more, all while marketing toward young teens with Disney star cover models,” the NCOSE said.
Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images
Walmart didn’t immediately explain its decision to BuzzFeed News, but the company told The Cut that it will still carry the magazine elsewhere in its stores.
“As with all products in our store, we continue to evaluate our assortment and make changes,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “While this was primarily a business decision, the concerns raised were heard.”
Daniel Becerril / Reuters
Ironically, Victoria Hearst — whose family owns Hearst Magazines, the parent company of Cosmo — has been one of the more prominent voices in NCOSE’s fight against Cosmo, saying that it promotes pornography and should carry an X-rated label.
“God told me to work to get Cosmo out of the hands of children, so that’s what I am doing,” Hearst said in 2015.
Cosmo / Hearst
“Cosmopolitan is the most successful global media brand for young women, with award-winning content produced by leading female journalists. With our focus on empowerment, we are proud of all that the brand has achieved for women around the world in the areas of equality, health, relationships, career, politics and social issues.”
FWIW, Cosmopolitan says most of its readers are adult women, with 76.4% of Cosmo readers between the ages of 18-49.