April 22, 2015

Hearst Granddaughter Takes Aim at Cosmopolitan Magazine

By Richard Horgan
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
AdWeek | FishbowlNY

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation was founded in 1962. Three years later, Helen Gurley Brown arrived at Cosmopolitan magazine and dramatically re-invented the moribund publication.


This morning, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Victoria Hearst, granddaughter of William Randolph and a scion of Cosmo’s parent company, officially met the press to officially launch her Center-backed “Cosmo Harms Minors” campaign. The effort aims to put Cosmopolitan behind a blinder or inside an opaque wrapper at newsstands, and limit the sale of the magazine to adults. On Breitbart.com, one of Hearst’s partners in the campaign, Miriam Grossman M.D., is explaining the initiative:

Ms. Hearst is 100 percent correct: Cosmo is popular among teen girls, and the lifestyle it celebrates can be dangerous, even deadly, for them. The health hazards of early sexual activity, multiple casual partners, and anal intercourse – choices promoted in nearly every issue of Cosmo – have been described by Michelle Cretella M.D., president of the American College of Pediatricians.

What’s less well known, but just as serious, are the dangers of sex-centric magazines like Cosmo to girls’ emotional lives.

As documented in a report by the American Psychological Association, sexualization has significant negative mental health consequences for girls. According to the report, sexualization occurs “when a person is held to a standard that equates physical attractiveness (narrowly defined) with being sexy,” and when “a person is… made into a thing for others’ sexual use, rather than seen as a person with the capacity for independent action and decision making.”

The Twitter feed for the campaign is @NoCosmoMinors. Hearst lists other ways to support her initiative here. She was joined at today’s 10:00 a.m. D.C. press conference by Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, and the above-referenced Grossman.

Further Reading