Cosmopolitan Magazine Subscriptions

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Love it or hate it, you've definitely heard of it. Cosmopolitan is more than just a magazine. It's an image, a mind set, and a testimony to the prescience of editor Helen Gurley Brown.

Cosmo: Starting a Sexual Dialogue

Cosmopolitan was originally created in 1866, as a "magazine for the entire family." It was a leader in contemporary fiction from the late 1800s til 1905. However, as a general interest magazine, circulation had begun to wane dramatically. By the mid 1960s, Cosmopolitan was a magazine with no real audience and no strong editorial message. Enter Helen Gurley Brown and her vision of a magazine which spoke to modern women on the verge of the sexual revolution.

Cosmopolitan and her signature Cosmo cover girl caught American and UK readers by storm. Consider that prior to Cosmo, "women's magazines" were those that featured Donna Reed types, in an apron, ready to start rolling dough in the kitchen. Typical articles might be titled "Please Your Man With The Perfect Pot Roast; or "How My Crock Pot Saved My Marriage!" Cosmo girls, on the other hand, were Brigitte Bardot types, ready to be rolling around . . . and not in the kitchen. No aprons here, unless they were black see-through. Bikinis and dresses-cut-down-to-there were standard attire. Headlines promised titillating articles that had nothing to do with crock pots. Shocking, to say the least. Needless to say, people noticed, controversy swirled, and for the last 40 years, copies were sold by the millions every month.

Cosmo, in addition to steamy editorial content, continues to strive to educate women about their bodies in general and their sexuality in specific. Granted, there are always plenty of "fluff" articles about diet, exercise and fashion tips--and of course Cosmo's famous "Bedside Astrologer." Nonetheless, most months also feature at least one article dealing with the more serious side of sex, such as ways to avoid rape and domestic abuse and how to seek advice and help if you've been attacked, the very real and frightening issue of sexual mutilation in third world countries, and AIDS awareness domestically and internationally.


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