Dirty Dozen List 2016 - Cosmopolitan

The Problem

This staple of the supermarket checkout lane is a visually hyper-sexualized and verbally pornographic magazine. With inexhaustible predictability, Cosmopolitan accosts shoppers with covers pronouncing dozens of recycled “sex tricks” and flaunting an endless supply of hyper-sexualized cover models. As for Cosmo’s content, it relentlessly glamorizes things like public, anal, group, and violent sex to its young female readership.

As companies like Walmart and Marsh Supermarkets have begun to crack down on Cosmo magazines in their checkout aisles, as a result of outreach by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Cosmo has occasionally self-censored its front pages to have less obviously pornified article titles.

Will Cosmo make progress and regularly produce magazine covers that don’t expose minors in check-out aisles to sexually graphic themes? We’re watching to find out.

Results from a 2015 nationwide survey indicate that many Americans agree.

This staple of the supermarket checkout line is sexually exploitive and harmful to minors. While it may not have many nude pictures (though they have started throwing them into recent issues), this publication has steadily declined from a somewhat inspirational women’s magazine to a verbally pornographic “how-to” sex guide. Cosmo is leading the way in further desensitizing young women and girls to accept and participate in the pornified and sexually violent culture around them.

Pornography desensitizes and entices the user to try harder and more deviant material. Cosmo, like Playboy, Hustler and other mainstream porn, is trying hard to keep up with this fact by writing even more provocative and explicit articles. Common themes of the last year include repeatedly inviting women to participate in anal, oral, public, and violent torture sex and each issue taunts that it has more and better sex tips than the previous issue.

In recent years, Cosmo has started to blatantly target young girls to expand their audience and increase profits. Many of their covers feature teen idols, meant to entice young girls into buying the magazine. They include feature stories from Disney stars and teen icons. A search of #MyCosmo or #CosmoGirl on social media yields pictures, tweets and comments from teen girls around the world gushing about trying Cosmo’s tips and trying to be like women of Cosmo Magazine.

Join us in the fight to get supermarkets and other family-oriented stores to put wrappers on Cosmo Magazine and to stop selling it to children and teens.

WARNING: There are graphic images and text descriptions shown in these sections.


Images Directly from Cosmo Magazine

Images Directly from Cosmo Magazine

Due to the graphic nature of the images from, we've removed them. Please contact us if you need more evidence of the exploitative content.

Cosmopolitan Website

Cosmopolitan Website

When you go to Cosmopolitan’s website and click on “Love” in the top menu it takes you to a webpage about sex positions, which contain graphic sex descriptions. There is no age-gate or warning.

Due to the graphic nature of the images from the Cosmo website, we've removed them. Please contact us if you need more evidence of the exploitative content.

Cosmopolitan: Magazine Review

Cosmopolitan: Magazine Review

Due to the graphic nature of the descriptions & images found in this proof, we have removed these images.

Take Action

Public Health Harms of Pornography

Download the research summaries of studies on the harm of pornography

No, Pornography Is Not Feminist.

For the record, female submission is the opposite of feminism.


Deeply Damaging to Relationships, Mental Health, and Empathy for Other Human Beings

Help educate others and demand change by sharing these on social media:


Significant wins seen in the battle against pornography

Published by the Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) — If it’s happened to one vacationer or business traveler, it’s happened to millions: You turn on the TV in your hotel room. On comes the hotel channel. There’s a menu of options you can click. One of those options will be

Read More »
Walmart Stands Against #MeToo Culture

It’s no secret. We live in a society drenched with sexually objectifying images of women. What may be less obvious is just how harmful these images are to the dignity and treatment of women and girls by men. Objectifying images teach men that women are objects for ownership, rather than

Read More »
WWD: Too Racy? Retailers to Put Blinders on Cosmopolitan

By Alexandra Steigrad Original Source: Women’s Wear Daily COVER UP: A trade group called the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has been on a crusade to hide what it deems the “pornographic” covers of CosmopolitanMagazine from the eyes of minors. On Wednesday, the Washington, D.C.-based group claimed to have won its first

Read More »