The other day, I signed up for one free year of Cosmopolitan because my cell phone provider, T-Mobile, was offering it with no strings attached. Little did I know that Walmart had recently banished the magazine from their checkout aisles at the behest of conservative complaints. What were their complaints, you ask? Well…
“This is one less drop of hyper-sexualized media that is going to be bombarding people in their everyday lives, which does make a difference, especially in this Me Too culture that we’re living in, where we really want a culture that will respect women and ensure their dignity is understood.”
This is a disingenuous hijacking, to say the least. As advocates have explained over the objections of certain vocal contrarians, the current movement against sexual violence, coercion and harassment is not about suppressing sexuality, but making sure sex is actively wanted by all parties involved. […] This necessitates the acknowledgment of women’s sexual desires, and encourages everyone to figure out what their own desire looks like – through experimentation, erotica, or even a magazine like Cosmopolitan. Which, as the NCOSE notes with chagrin, has become increasingly inclusive of non-normative – if incredibly common – practices like BDSM, anal, and queer sex.
They’ve even got features on what it means to be gender non-binary. Given that Cosmo has been about sex since the 1960s, this rising inclusivity does not seem incidental to the resurgent campaign against it.
I recently had a discussion with a friend where I told him, “political correctness is a myth.” First, societies are constantly in disagreement over what content should be permissible and this is nothing new. Second, defending oneself against criticism by using the defense of “you’re being too politically correct!” is merely a cop out, which destroys potentially productive conversations.
And third, I argued that the term “political correctness” was only applied to left-wing causes. Making the case that slurs against transgender people shouldn’t be used? Well, you’re just a P.C.-thug! Advocating that stores should hide an informative magazine because you don’t like its articles? Well, that’s just patriotic activism, isn’t it?