New York, N.Y. - Cosmopolitan, the influential American lifestyle magazine, has announced its plan to spend the month of December celebrating forty years of setting the women's movement back forty years.
"What's interesting is that although Cosmo's been in existence since 1886, we didn't really begin inflicting irreparable damage to the state of modern feminism until, oh, about the late sixties," says Editor-in-Chief Kate White. "Prior to that, it was mostly a boring literary journal. And we all know that's not going to get your man hot under the collar!"
Back when Cosmopolitan began its identity shift four decades ago, it was breezily setting the women's movement back into the 1920s with articles such as 'Marrying Rich: It's Like College For Smart Girls' and 'It's Not Really Debt - It's Just Credit Cards, Silly!'
And now, with forty years of female-centric history under its belt, the magazine plans to commemorate its storied legacy with an anniversary issue, available this month in thirty-two languages throughout one hundred-plus countries. Despite the common perception that Cosmopolitan is exclusively American in cultural reach, seventy-five percent of the nations that carry the publication are actually Second and Third World countries.
White finds such statistics heartening. "The fact that we're giving eighteen-year-old girls in Equatorial Guinea the confidence to spend their fifty-cents-a-week salary on the right kind of eyeliner... that's something all women can feel proud of."
As the editor of a back catalogue spanning hundreds of issues, White is philosophical about Cosmopolitan's longevity. "Although forty is extremely ancient by any conceivable standards of femininity, you're only as old as you look. And that makes Cosmo only as old as the heavily airbrushed, Photoshop-enhanced eighteen to twenty-three-year-old women who grace our cover each month. That's very empowering."
White, however, does acknowledge the magazine has been dispensing its anachronistic insights to readers for some time now. "It seems like just yesterday we published 'Small Dogs: Not Just For America's Purses Anymore,' and 'Anorexics: Are They On To Something?' But can you believe those pieces first hit newsstands way back in 1991? Wow, time sure flies."
White believes Cosmopolitan's staying power stems from the fact that women - whose opinions the magazine has calculatingly sculpted from a formative age - can relate to what's in between its covers.
"Whether they're seeking fashion and lifestyle tips, sex and dating advice, or answers to harder-hitting issues like make-up do's and don'ts, our readers know Cosmo has all the right answers. Through basic sociological erosion, they've gradually regressed into complete reliance on our publication, and really, that's the ultimate compliment. Girl power!"
Despite Cosmopolitan's success, White has no plans for the magazine to rest on its laurels. "If you think about it, fifty years into the future we'll be setting the women's movement back to the year 2018, which is a full ten years from now. That's pretty cutting-edge."
White adds, "So when it comes to taking all the hard-won advances our gender has fought for and knocking a few decades off them, Cosmo is actually way ahead of its time."
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