Cosmopolitan Finds the Worst Possible Men to Give You Advice
Over the years I’ve had plenty of suggestions for Cosmopolitan, but I think this might be a new one: Maybe, O sagacious editors of the only publication that reads like a parody of itself, the next time you seek out men to advise women on matters of sex, you could attempt to find guys who aren’t total dirtbags. They exist!
Instead, in September’s “Guys Answer Your Sex Questions in 20 Words or Less,” Cosmo managed to assemble a bumper crop of judgmental, objectifying men to advise their readership of young women.
Sure, you could argue that these men are just relating their own opinions, and that Cosmo is actually doing its readers a service by including these jerks’ full names, professions, and photos with their comments. You could also argue the moon is made of green cheese.
On to the article! First we have one David Good, who’s written a book entitled The Man Code: A Woman’s Guide to Cracking the Tough Guy. (I hope to one day write a book called The Bullshit Code: A Woman’s Guide to Rejecting the Guy Who’s Seen Too Many James Bond Movies and, As a Result, Is Overly Invested in Stereotypes of Masculinity. Literary agents, email me!) Here’s what Cosmo asked and how David answered:
Are unshaven legs (or other body parts) a turn-off?
Hell, yes. Shave that. It’s not 1973 anymore. --David
Yeah! It’s not 1973 anymore. Back then, when a person went into puberty, surging hormones caused hair to develop in certain areas, and now that it’s 2011--oh wait. That still happens. Will someone please notify David?
If it’s been a while since you got it on, can just seeing a woman in a tight shirt give you an erection?
It could be an XXL, and if a guy’s horny, he’ll find something about any girl to turn him on. --Patrick [Meagher, host of Cosmo Radio’s Cocktails with Patrick]
I originally read this as Patrick referring to the hypothetical woman as “it” and “an XXL” and almost had a rage blackout. But then I realized he’s referring to the shirt. Still, Patrick is really pushing bro-code boundaries here. First, there’s his admission that a woman needn’t be clad in tight clothing to arouse a man, which is something one would never figure out from reading the fashion pages of Cosmo. Then there’s the statement that he can find “something” about “any girl,” which is supposed to be reassuring and instead sounds patronizing. “There, there, little Cosmo reader, some man will find you attractive, if he’s desert-island desperate!” It’s like he thinks of women as objects who exist solely to provide him with aesthetic pleasure, and that is such an original viewpoint for a radio host!
If a woman has sex with a guy early on, does he assume she is like this with every guy?
He probably assumes you are. But if he likes you, he doesn’t care. --Wilder
Wow! How is this guy, Wilder Weir, still “single-ish”? (No, really, that’s what the description says.) I mean, he’s clearly such a prize and all, what with his amazing ability to forgo judging the sexual proclivities of women who’ve deigned to sleep with him. If he likes you, that is. Ugh. (No word on why he’d be sleeping with you if he doesn’t like you, even though there’s an under-20-words answer for that, too.)
Look, I get that some men believe things I find objectionable. So do some women. That fact isn’t a problem. But it is a problem when a magazine that proclaims itself the official publication of the “fun, fearless female” parrots sexist, judgmental nonsense to its readers. And it is a problem to peddle harmful, outdated viewpoints about sex and gender using the not-so-subtle implication that these guys are experts and women who don’t conform to these men’s ideals will remain single forever. (Never mind that it completely ignores the women who--clutch my pearls!--aren’t even heterosexual.)
Admittedly, dropping the how-to-please-a-man mumbo-jumbo would require a major overhaul of the magazine. But getting rid of the men-are-from-Mars nonsense would be Cosmopolitan’s most fun, fearless act yet.