It is much more broad and far-reaching than many people realize.
Educating men and boys on the importance of women’s rights is vital to the feminist cause. So many people perceive rape and violence against women to be a woman’s issue, but those people forget who the main perpetrators are: males. If we do not reach out to the male population and gather support things may never change. There needs to be education on all of the topics and a willingness to learn amongst both genders. Instead of working against each other and promoting hate between genders, a more effective route to take would be to work together to create equality for all. We may not reach every man, but we can appeal to those who have women in their lives and let these men know that misogyny and violence against women does personally touch them. If you have a woman in your life that you care about, it touches you. Women live in a constant hyper-vigilant state in order to avoid getting assaulted. Even if a woman has never been assaulted, we all take daily routines to avoid it, whether it is a conscious effort or not. We need to reach men, because they do care, they just need to be encouraged that it is acceptable and courageous to care.
Being a Sociology Major in college most of my courses revolved around society and its impact on our lives. In particular, my Pop Culture class stood out in my mind the most about the truly damaging effects of society. The media has always told us what is “cool” or pushed the idea of what is attractive. If you did not abide by the rules of cool or you stood out in any way, you were shunned, shamed, and bullied. This is not only true for teenagers, but it is just true for children and adults, as well. I am a nanny, and the little girl that I watch is bullied by one of her friends at school. This girl will send notes to all of their friends saying how the girl I watch is ugly, and the way that she dresses is ugly. The girl I watch is only nine years old. It seems ridiculous that even at such a young age she is being judged by the way that she looks. What is more appalling is that it starts even younger than many people realize. Think about the store that you shop at the most for your basic needs (i.e. Target, Wal-Mart, HEB Plus, etc). What does the boy’s isle for toys and clothes look like? It sports monster trucks, cars, tough looking characters, super heroes, blue, green, red, black. What does the girl’s isle look like? It shows you fashion, pink, purple, Barbie, princesses, dolls, and more offensively many of the toys revolve around being a mom or doing household chores. So basically all women are good for is working in the home and caring for the family, why would she want a career? If Barbie is even allowed to have a career it is fashion related, nurse, or veterinarian, since all women care about is clothes and animals. Gender roles are the first guidelines of discrimination and judgement in our lives.
As we begin to age the onslaught of images and ideas bombard us almost non-stop. You must be stick thin, but you can’t be too thin because then you don’t have big breasts or a big butt. You must dress a certain way to attract men, but if you dress that way you are a slut. You must not be a woman of color, make yourself as light-skinned as possible, but if you are white, you must tan your skin. You must not have any dimples, moles, pimples, freckles, or imperfections.
Instructions on how to fix your “wobbly bits” because god forbid your body moves as you walk. How shoes can make you look thinner, because that is what shoes are made for rather than to be comfortable and show your personality. The only good thing about this cover is that it has a teeny tiny print of an article title on challenging and researching your salary.
The sex is all about him, and what he wants. What pleasures HIM, not you, not mutual pleasure. Focus on him. Oh, and how to be girlie and make guys melt. Sorry, tom boys. Apparently men aren’t allowed to be attracted to a bad ass chick that kicks butt. Ironically, under “His Pleasure Zone” is an article on date rape. That isn’t sending mixed messages or anything. I thought women are supposed to bend to the whim of every man and pleasure them. This magazine even objectified men with its bare-chested man-show.
Cosmopolitan is not all bad. It does try to appeal to all crowds with stories on strong females and how-to’s for women to protect themselves, but the problem is rather than empowering articles for women being the main focus of the magazine, they are hidden within and often times featured at the end of the magazine.
Below is an example of what the cover should portray. Strong females of any age kicking ass and taking names. How-to’s describing how to love yourself rather than trying to change yourself to fit a mold.
Hell, I think freckles are gorgeous.
I say, rock it full-figured beauties.
Love yourselves super-awesome women of color.
Own your beauty mixed women.
Be proud of yourselves mature women.
I say F*CK you, media. We are all hot, sexy, perfect, and beautiful. Media, you are the one that is wrong, abnormal, or needs to be altered.
Because this is not who we are.
You cannot define us. We are strong. We are women. They. Were. Wrong.