New York Times: Cosmopolitan Magazine Covers to Be Shielded by 2 Retailers

By Hiroko Tabuchi 

Original Source: The New York Times

Is Cosmopolitan so racy it needs to be covered up?

Rite Aid and Food Lion think so.

The two retailers will soon place issues of Cosmopolitan magazine behind “blinders” to shield minors from the magazine’s sexual content, they confirmed separately on Friday.

Kristin Kellum, a Rite Aid spokeswoman, said the retailer would “continue to carry” Cosmopolitan but was “working to place future issues of this publication behind pocket shields.” Rite Aid operates about 4,600 drugstores across the country.

Food Lion, which runs 1,100 grocery stores in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic, will require Cosmopolitan’s publisher, Hearst, to provide a holder that would shield the cover, according to Christy Phillips-Brown, a company spokeswoman. The plastic blinders are U-shaped and hide the headlines that appear around the outside of the cover, but do not hide the cover model or the Cosmopolitan banner that runs across the top of the magazine.

The news was first reported by Women’s Wear Daily.

Headlines on recent Cosmo covers include “Sex So Hot You’ll Need to Crank the A.C.!” and “Oh My Goddess! The Sex Move He Will Worship You For.”

Still, Cosmopolitan cover models tend not to be as scantily clad as those who adorn the covers of men’s magazines like Maxim or Sports Illustrated, leading some critics to complain of a double standard at work against women’s publications.

In a statement, Cosmopolitan said that it was “proud of all that the brand has achieved for women around the world,” highlighting its coverage of topics spanning health, relationships, careers, politics and gender equality.

The retailers’ moves come in response to a campaign by the advocacy group, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, to get stores to wrap Cosmo magazines in sleeves or covers, in the way pornographic magazines are covered.

The group’s “Cosmo Harms Minors” campaign was spearheaded by Victoria Hearst, the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, the founder of the magazine’s publisher, the Hearst Group.

At a news conference in April, the heiress, who does not have a formal role at the Hearst company, said she first became disgusted with the magazine’s salacious content about 15 years ago, when she took a close look at the women’s publication.

“On the cover was this beautiful brunette model, and she was completely naked, but for a strategically placed boa constrictor,” Ms. Hearst said.

“My stomach turned, and I just said: ‘Wait a minute, what is my family doing?’  ” she said. “This is pornography.”

It was unclear whether other retailers would follow suit. Michael Polzin, a spokesman for the Walgreens Boots Alliance, said he was not aware of any plans for the pharmacy to cover up the magazine.

A Walmart spokesman could not immediately confirm whether any similar moves were in the works.

Queries sent to Target, CVS and Barnes & Noble were not immediately answered.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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