First, a rousing cheer for Joanna Coles' central message that women can be interested in both "mascara and the Middle East". Damn it, yes we can, and this writer certainly is (well, not mascara, because it always gets in my eyes, but no one loves red lipstick more than I do). I realize that some people may think I take chances because what I talk about on my Twitter feed is more about current events than writing tips, but I'm making a very conservative bet that there are plenty of women out there who like to read romance and women's fiction who also care passionately about politics, both domestic and international. I have never understood why being interested in clothing and cosmetics was supposed to preclude an interest in the rest of the world.
Second, while I applaud Coles' mission, it's a mistake to characterize the Cosmo of years past as being strictly concerned with sex. (I read my first sex graphic sex descriptions in Our Bodies Ourselves and then Princess Daisy.) Yes, I read explicit things in Cosmo, but I also read about women trying to navigate their way through the workplace, Camille Paglia, the importance of managing money and profiles of up-and-coming women (and no, they weren't all models). Among the articles about sex wasn't just (an admittedly weird) piece about oral sex in the age of HIV/AIDS, but also sexual harassment, sexual violence and sex addiction. None of it, I might add, was glamorized.
|Helen Gurley Brown, founder of Cosmopolitan|
So women (and the men among you so inclined), go forth, be a badass, talk about sex, cosmetics and politics and then go vote. In other words, be a real person- that's still revolutionary.