The retailer called it “primarily a business decision,” but acknowledged pressure from campaigns against the magazine’s sexual content.
Cosmopolitan will soon be removed from checkouts at Walmart stores across the US, according to an announcement yesterday by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a non-profit organisation which says it fought for the change out of a desire to protect children from “the sexually explicit material that Cosmopolitan embodies and perpetuates.”
“Cosmo sends the same messages about female sexuality as Playboy,” said NCOSE executive director Dawn Hawkins in a statement, arguing that the magazine reduces women to their ability to sexually satisfy men, entices children by featuring former Disney stars on its covers and then describing “risky sexual acts” within its pages.
The news presents more of an image crisis for Cosmo than a business one, as the removal is unlikely to have a significant impact on the magazine’s broader circulation. But as the title stakes its digital future on being perceived as a source of inspiration and empowerment for young women growing up in a changing world, it has to be mindful of accusations – even contentious ones – that it’s guilty of propagating “#MeToo culture.”