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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cosmo: Sexy or Sexist?

    As Elle Woods (the beloved main character of “”Legally Blonde””) proclaims, Cosmopolitan magazine is “”the bible.”” I laughed during the film and enjoy lighthearted movies, but I paused and reflected on the purported importance of Cosmo, even as I complete a vain task such as dyeing my hair black at home.

    Should Cosmo-with cover articles like “”Sexy Siren Calls – How to Land Your Lust Object”” and “”64,000 Naughty Ways to Use Your Loofah!””-be any woman’s bible?

    I confess that I love fashion magazines and subscribe to several. So while perusing Cosmo in the bookstore, I was all the more appalled to read an article about places to meet men, and it wasn’t the cute, harmless piece I expected.

    This particular article told me I could meet guys if I frequent cafǸs near grad school programs dominated by men. It continued: 75 percent of associates at top banks, “”many of which are in the Fortune 500,”” are men, so I should simply go to a Fortune 500 company and get myself a job!

    The icing on the Cosmo cake: The article says a “”hot spot to meet cute guys”” is a political rally or campaign, because you’ll have a sexy opportunity for a lusty love connection if you work for a senate or governor campaign, which have men holding most of the jobs.

    I almost threw up on my perfect black boots when I read the last tip: Cosmo says that Save Darfur (a campaign to end brutal ethnic violence in Sudan) is “”the hottest political organization these days.””

    I wondered, sadly, why ending violence needed to be packaged as glamorous or sexy.

    You may be asking what, exactly, is so wrong about these arenas being dominated by men? Aren’t there some professions dominated by women? And what’s bad about that?

    Well, here are a few examples of work dominated by women: childcare, which is one of the lowest-paid jobs out there, and cleaning companies, which specialize in homes. Both of these jobs typically pay by the hour and offer few if any benefits.

    Academics termed this phenomenon the “”pink collar ghetto.”” Is Maxim ever going to tell its male readers to take up low-wage work to meet hot women? Of course not. Because they would be embracing a job market in which women are at a disadvantage.

    Since men and women are equally capable, why are magazines still emphasizing male-dominated companies and politics as a good thing? I imagine the freelance writer of the article pitching the article: Let’s spin sexism as hot! Readers, this means you’ll be the only woman in your office! Think about the supply and demand angle!

    How can we actually read this and not think about how offensive this is? Telling female readers to go hit on grad school guys, and not actually go to grad school themselves, is distasteful in two ways: First, it plays down how important graduate programs are to women’s futures by telling them to just go find a guy who’s in one, and second, it implies that women don’t want or need to access higher education.

    The article completely failed to mention why the reader would benefit from grad school. I for one know plenty of women in grad school-and not one of them went there to get laid.

    I think Cosmo gets away with it because of its angle: they write glowing reviews of smart, successful men, while implicitly telling the reader that success comes from landing a guy, not creating success for herself.

    So let’s be real: graduate school gets you a better salary, Fortune 500 companies offer some amazing benefit packages and getting involved in politics can revive the democratic process (not to mention the voter turnout).

    But do these things because you’re motivated and smart and because you deserve success. You’ll have to decide if you appreciate magazines that imply the only reason you’d want to do these things is to find a man.

    And while you’re at it, find a new bible-The New York Times, The Onion, an LSAT study book, or even the Kama Sutra-not a magazine that tries to pawn sexist ideas off as sexy.

    Allison Dumka is a political science senior. She can be reached at

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