Men’s and women’s magazines: the influence of Cosmo and Maxim and their ilk

magazine rack I was doing a little research last week on where to find the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in Northfield (I’m thinking of applying for a grant now that stimulus money is flowing). I thought it interesting that the St. Olaf Bookstore and Carleton Bookstore (as does Target) not only carry it but also Cosmo and Maxim. (Notice how I’m not linking to any of the magazine publishers.)  These magazines and others similar to them have their critics. (continued)

The Wikipedia entry on Maxim includes this:

As an organ of lad culture, Maxim has been criticized for encouraging excessive alcohol consumption and sexual objectification of women.

The Wikipedia entry on Cosmopolitan includes this:

In recent years the magazine and in particular its cover stories have become more sexually explicit in tone… Third-wave feminists have argued that although the present iteration of Cosmo was started to stop discrimination and empower women, it now contributes to women’s oppression by inspiring uneasiness over their physical image, due to the magazine’s venerated display of women’s sexuality and statuesque body image.

Neither magazine can be classified as softcore porn (wikipedia entry) because they don’t include nudity. As a near 60-year old geezer, I’m still a fan of certain types of softcore (never mind which). But I do wonder if we’re fully cognizant of their negative influence.


  1. Anthony Pierre said:

    who reads paper magazines anymore?

    March 4, 2009
  2. kiffi summa said:

    OK…… Guilt trip accepted………… Magazines that come to this house in the mail: New Yorker, Nation, Harpers, Dwell, Metro Home, Elle Decor, Architecture MN, Selvedge, MN Conservation…….. And I’ve cut back in the last two years.
    Best time to read mags? 1. in Bed, after 10 PM when spousal type is watching TV. and 2. on front porch swing on an incredibly hot day, Hendricks Gin and Tonic in other hand.

    March 8, 2009

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