Helen Gurley Brown, the former editor-in-chief and patron saint of Cosmopolitan magazine, died on Monday. She was 90 years old. Coincidentally, the New York Times magazine ran an excellent story a couple of weeks ago about the international influence of Cosmo. Did you know there are 64 international Cosmo editions, including Cosmo Kazakhstan and Cosmo Azerbaijan, that are distributed in more than 100 nations? The Times called Cosmo a “global juggernaut,” and I think they’re right.
In honor of Gurley Brown’s passing and the absolutely incredible international influence that this magazine has, I thought it appropriate to dedicate today’s post to Cosmo. Honestly, when I think of Cosmopolitan magazine, two things come to mind, astrology and sex. Never am I thinking, Cosmo = global female empowerment. But maybe it is, in countries like India and Indonesia, where apparently Cosmo sometimes is the only place women can get honest answers about their bodies and sexual intimacy.
If nothing else, as a journalist, media watcher and lover of all things international, I just get geeked by the idea that there is this one entity that is embraced and read by women all over the world. I could be in Hungary or Armenia or South Africa and Cosmo translates to a common idea, ‘fun, fearless female.’ Of course it would be fantastic if the mission of Cosmo, instead of teaching women how to have earth shattering sex, perhaps taught them how to be political leaders, rock stars and successful entrepreneurs. Then the success of Cosmo would be measured not just in issues sold and orgasms attained, but in the global influence and power of women.
I’m just sayin.
What do you think, dear readers? Should we be applauding the international success of Cosmo? Do you read Cosmo in your home country? Why or why not?