Jan. 16, 2012
While I was in the line at the grocery store recently, I happened to glance over at the magazine rack when I noticed the recent copy of Cosmopolitan Magazine. The model on the cover looked young, and in fact, she did not look old enough to be on the cover. It was Dakota Fanning, who is only 17 years of age, and the headings around the cover provided the usual standard of sex advice.
I was disgusted by this display. I turned around only to see a little girl pick up a copy of the magazine only to run back to her mother and say how pretty the model was. The mother of the girl also looked disgusted by the magazine and told the little girl to put back the magazine.
Fox News has focused on this recently, and they were shocked by this recent image as well. In fact, Rachelle Friberg, a media expert who was interviewed by Fox, said:
Cosmopolitan is going overboard by putting an underage girl on its cover surrounded by such article titles. It is one thing to educate young women about sex and their bodies, but putting a young, underage girl on the cover of a magazine that had long been known to push the limits is sending the wrong message.
Cosmopolitan, of course, defended its decision to have Fanning as the magazines cover model. Of course, their decision generated controversy, and there is no doubt that teenagers, who are fans of Fanning are lining up to buy the issue and being exposed to Cosmopolitans agenda of promoting immodest behaviors and promiscuity.
Today, I was glad to read that a former model is calling out Cosmopolitan for its practices and is calling for the magazine to be marketed as an adult-only publication, which would require the magazine to be sold in packaging that would not show the cover. Nicole Weider is leading this effort and has a petition urging the FTC to help protect our youth from vulgarity. The petition has almost 21,000 signatures, and there is no doubt that will garner more signatures from those who agree the magazine has gone too far.
Does Cosmopolitan realize the impact that these behaviors have on young women? In 2010, the American Psychological Association released, Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. This report highlighted how publications, like Cosmopolitan, have a negative impact on young womens mental health.
One of the dominant themes about sexuality reported across these studies and across magazines is that presenting oneself as sexually desirable and thereby gaining the attention of men is and should be the focal goal for women.
The evidence from this research is not shocking. Its sad that publications, such as Cosmopolitan feel the need to consistently market women as sex symbols. The editors of Cosmopolitan dont even offer the perspectives of those who want to abstain from sex until marriage, which is even more depressing.
Family Research Council has released a report, Why Wait: The Benefits of Abstinence Until Marriage, that provided evidence that those who abstain from premarital sex tend to have happier and healthier marriages. The report also highlighted the emotional impact that premarital sex has on young women.
A 2005 study of youth in grades 7-11 found that engaging in premarital sex often leads to depression. Compared to girls who abstain, girls who engage in premarital sex are two to three times more likely to be depressed one year later.eens who engage in premarital sex are also likely to experience regret, guilt, lowered self-respect, fear of commitment and fears about pregnancy and STDs.In addition, they are more likely to commit suicide.
With research like this, Ms. Weiders petition is needed to protect young women from being exposed to Cosmopolitans agenda. Yes, it has been said that sex sells, but the real selling point is what a woman offers in terms of grace and intelligence.