Conservatives Have a Problem with ‘Cosmo’, But It’s Not the One They Think

Readers have many reasons to critique Cosmopolitan magazine. But the article “7 Women Who Could Be Our First Female President” isn’t one of them.

The list the magazine compiled includes Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Tammy Duckworth, Sheryl Sandberg, and Oprah. They are all Democrats, which prompted some conservatives to complain.

One conservative group tweeted a list of conservative female leaders. Bold digital news network ran an op-ed headlined, “Cosmo Leaves Conservatives Off Their Short List of Female Presidential Candidates,” noting:

“It’s too bad that Cosmo’s politics cloud their view of other qualified women across the aisle. There are conservative women in office and in business who were left off this list, and we wonder why.”

But there’s an obvious reason why. The article is clearly discussing the 2020 election: “The next presidential election is three years away but these women have already generated 2020 buzz,” it states. In 2020, the Democratic field is wide-open, so it is no surprise that some potential women candidates are generating buzz already. Traditionally, the incumbent has run for president again without serious primary challengers. President Donald J. Trump hasn’t indicated that he is not going to run. The Republican candidate will presumably be Trump. While anything can happen in an election, no conservative women have suggested that they might challenge Trump in the primary. The headline could have been more specific about this, for example, “7 Women Who Could Run Against Trump in 2020 To Be Our First Female President.”

If this was an article on an open presidential race, then certainly women like Nikki Haley should be included. But it is difficult to imagine one of Trump’s own appointees, such as Haley, running against him in 2020.

Rather than complaining about this article, conservatives should focus their attacks on real instances of bias in Cosmo. There are many, some of which I have written about here and here. One of the most blatant examples was the hiring of feminist Jill Filipovic to cover politics. Her first article was headlined, “How the GOP’s Block of the Minimum Wage Bill Hurts Women.”

Or consider the letter from Senator Elizabeth Warren featured in this month’s print edition of the magazine. Warren writes:

“This country works great for those at the top, but not so much for everyone else. Billionaires and powerful corporations have seized our democracy by the throat. And the current administration has the capacity to deliver the knockout punch to America’s once-thriving middle class. So what do we do about it? Well, for starters, we don’t roll over and play dead. We fight back. We persist.”

The magazine gave Warren, a Democrat, a platform to push her progressive policies and go after the current administration. There is no response by a conservative; no letter from a Republican senator. Just Warren making her case.

This matters.

Cosmo bills itself as, “the world’s largest young women’s media brand, with more than 128 million brand touchpoints across print, digital, and social platforms.” Its mission? “[T]o empower young women to own who they are and be who they want to be, and we’re focused on propelling her into her fun, fearless future. No excuses, no [email protected]#*%, no regrets.”

When it comes to fashion, Cosmo understands that different people have different styles. If you flip through the pages of the magazine, you will find information on a wide variety of clothing, make-up, and haircut styles.

But not when it comes to politics.

Imagine if Cosmo only presented one swim suit style for all women. There would be outrage. If Cosmopolitan wants to empower young women, then it should trust that they can understand a diversity of views not only when it comes to fashion and hairstyles, but also to politics and policy.

Image: Cosmopolitan Media Kit

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    I have high hopes for Nikki Haley