The Vagenda

CliffsNotes for Cosmo: in which I summarise dense material for you

This is an actual double page spread from this month’s Cosmopolitan magazine.

This week, Cosmo asks us whether it’s OK to propose to your boyfriend, wear trousers, watch organised sport, or work for money. Oh wait, sorry, the last three are future features. Anyway, the enlightened Lucy Ball tells us a sob story about what happened when she dared to subvert patriarchal expectations and how she reformed herself afterwards. Some particularly enlightening caveats follow. [All quotations are taken verbatim from Cosmopolitan magazine.]

Basic story: Lucy proposed to her boyfriend. He said no. Then he proposed to her two years later, leading her to write this story about how a woman’s place is on the receiving end of a ring.

‘[My boyfriend] had been brought up to to believe that the man proposes… If he hadn’t had the chance, he would’ve felt he’d missed out./ Also, he asked my dad first, which I realised was a big moment for them. I know Dad would have been upset if it hadn’t happened that way.’

Nothing makes me feel more like a grrl than hearing about how the future plans for Lucy’s relationship were decided and then sanctioned by a load of shitty patriarchal principles based upon objectification and ownership. But we can all learn from Lucy’s mistake, kids. As she shares with us: ‘If he hadn’t done it, I never would have experienced that head-spinning feeling of being asked to marry the man I love.’ And all it took was a humiliating rejection and two years of eroding bitterness before he asked you your dad. Although I don’t want to be seen as a crotchety old stick-in-the-mud. I do genuinely wish a lifetime of happiness to the appropriately named Balls.

The title of the article was what attracted me to Lucy’s sorry tale, anyway, and that part was nothing to do with her. ‘Proposing – his job or yours?’ it screamed out in terrifying resonating undertones. You know, like most stuff in life that’s either his job or yours – preparing the dinner, ironing, getting a degree, flying a plane, studying medicine, tearing up the pages of Cosmopolitan in a cold yet systematic rage over a number of decades until you inhale tiny little pieces of paper that cause you to suffer a hundred minuscule papercuts on your lungs and drown in your own blood. His job or yours, yeah? Let’s draw those lines again, because I am sick of all these damn breakdowns of boundaries that we’ve been suffering over the past fifty years.
Elsewhere, Cosmo yaks on about how much they have a ‘girl crush’ on their interviewee Christina Hendricks (a ‘girl crush’ is a semi-ironic take on that hilarious species, lesbians, who have like actual crushes on girls, LOL.) Luckily Christina has amazing intellectual charm, as showcased by Cosmo in their pick-out quote: ‘There is that fantasy of being bad and getting away with it… it’s very animal behaviour.’ Every time you read that sentence, a science graduate dies.

The interview ends with an inspiring Q and A, where Hendricks finishes the sentence put forward by Cosmo (‘Heartbreak is…’) with ‘Heartbreaking.’ Boundary-pushing stuff.
Next it’s ‘Inside Men’s Minds’, with the horror-movie-esque tagline: ‘What they really think about love, sex… and YOU.’ Underneath is some shit about how going on holiday with your girlfriend prompts nostalgic romantic memories of lads’ holidays, beer guts, football, Fight Club, hunting and gathering, raping and pillaging, etc. Yawnsome stuff. This is all closely followed by ‘What goes through men’s mind when they’re looking for a girlfriend’, where Ricky – who is MARRIED, as in actually conned someone to commit the rest of their lives to his welfare – suggests that what he looks for in a girlfriend is: ‘Someone who reads. It means you can watch TV when you like!’

I’ve compiled some other – again, absolute verbatim - lines that might make you feel encouraged about humanity.

‘The part of a woman I’d most like to see is her vagina.’

‘Basically, we’re confused by women’s lowbrow interests.’

‘The basics [of a relationship] are doggy-style, reverse cowgirl, and oral. The next level is swallowing, doing it somewhere risky, and watching porn.’

‘I’m not that bothered, so long as women don’t come to football. That’s Man Time.’
Now, it’s: ‘The Big Question: Why are men so bad at dumping you?’

I’m not even going to summarise that, because I’m not going to read it. But just tear out clumps of your own hair and you’ll feellike you read it.
Hang on, hang on.THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX ON THE FIRST DATE.Basically this article has a stab at a softer version of ‘don’t be a whore.’ Columnist Melissa tells us regretfully, weeks after having a single meaningless shag, ‘I’d slept with an idea of a man. It took me months to get over it.’

Well, boo fucking hoo. It took me hours to clear the vomit off my keyboard after I read that – partly because it just kept on coming - but I’m over it now, Melissa. I’m over it even though I’m suffering from the bitter aftertaste of half-cooked pizza and complete bullshit. An article ten pages later is actually, genuinely called: ‘Move away from the penis!’ Which really should have replaced ‘The truth about sex on the first date’ as a headline all those pages earlier.
Nearing the end, we get to my favourite juxtaposition of my entire life. You know, like my favourite kind of chocolate pudding is composed of stinking dog turds. Right next to ‘BODY NEWS’ – which pretends to examine the psychology of not loving your body enough – there is a huge advert for plastic surgery, showing a woman holding up a placard that says: ‘I’ve just had my breasts done, but the biggest change you’ll see is on my face.’
Unfortunately, I can’t finish my round-up of the magazine for you now because Cosmopolitan is no more. As soon as I set eyes on this side-by-side funfest, it spontaneously burst into flames. Lucky for you, I got a picture of it beforehand.

Catch me later for a round-up of Glamour, bitchez!

One thought on “CliffsNotes for Cosmo: in which I summarise dense material for you

  1. 1. Why has no one commented? This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen.

    2. I don’t know why I ever spend money on Cosmo. We do it all the time.. In a house filled with intelligent men and women.
    This magazine makes me feel so angry, that I can barely express words to even summarise my feelings towards it.

    3. Have you ever read the Cosmo Sex Guide book? That’s right, Cosmo published a BOOK. It’s like a self-help novel, only made of plastic, recycled degree certificates from all those girls who don’t need a degree now that they’re married, and the remnants of my dying soul.

    Actual quote: “blahblahblah commitment, blahblahblah cuddling, blahblahblah seat up. This is what he hears when you talk.”

    And my personal favourite under the heading “Accessorise!”, whereby Cosmo tells you what “kind of man he is” by what he wears, eats and his pets… “His snack attacks…Chocolate: since it contains chemicals that bring on a natural high, his craving could signal a need for instant gratification- which wont satisfy your need for commitment.”
    Ohh, bless. They tried to use science. It was a good try, but just no.

    Cosmo: Socialising women into gender stereotypes since… actually I don’t want to know how long it’s been running. It may cause irreversible brain damage.