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Cosmopolitan Is Defending Itself After Walmart Banned The Magazine From Its Checkout Lines

"With our focus on empowerment, we are proud of all that the brand has achieved for women around the world."

Posted on March 28, 2018, at 12:03 p.m. ET

Cosmopolitan is defending its record on empowering women after Walmart decided to pull the magazine from its checkout lines around the country following "concerns" raised by a conservative media watchdog.

Cosmo / Hearst

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has long described Cosmo as "a visually hypersexualized and verbally pornographic magazine" that "relentlessly glamorizes things like public, anal, group, and violent sex to its young female readership."

(The group was first founded in the early 1960s by a group of clergy and was called "Morality in Media." The group changed its name to the more official-sounding NCOSE in 2015.)

The NCOSE celebrated a victory on Tuesday when Walmart announced it would no longer stock Cosmo at the checkout aisles of its more than 5,000 stores.

Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images

"That’s over 5,000 stores where families and individuals will no longer be automatically exposed to Cosmo’s hypersexualized and degrading article titles that regularly promote pornography, sexting, BDSM, group sex, anal sex, and more, all while marketing toward young teens with Disney star cover models," the NCOSE said.

The group also praised the move as a victory for the #MeToo movement.

In the #MeToo era, @Walmart has taken a stand against treating women as sex objects! How? They removed @Cosmopolitan magazine from their checkout aisles! Finally, one less objectifying magazine we are forced to walk by! #ThanksWalmart

Walmart didn't immediately explain its decision to BuzzFeed News, but the company told the Cut that it will still carry the magazine elsewhere in its stores.

Daniel Becerril / Reuters

“As with all products in our store, we continue to evaluate our assortment and make changes," a Walmart spokesperson said. "While this was primarily a business decision, the concerns raised were heard.”

Ironically, Victoria Hearst — whose family owns Hearst Magazines, the parent company of Cosmo — has been one of the more prominent voices in NCOSE’s fight against Cosmo, saying that it promotes pornography and should carry an X-rated label.

Cosmo / Hearst

“God told me to work to get Cosmo out of the hands of children, so that’s what I am doing," Hearst said in 2015.

While some praised Walmart for the "family-friendly" decision...

Thank you @Walmart for removing @Cosmopolitan magazine from your checkout aisles! Your stores are more family-friendly because of it! #ThanksWalmart via @ncose

...others wondered if they had their priorities in order.

So Walmart removed Cosmopolitan? I'd be more impressed if they hired full time employees instead of 2 part time employees just so they don't have to pay benefits. Also your in-house pizza sucks.

Walmart removes “hyper-sexualised” Cosmopolitan magazines from view in its stores, as they were proving too distracting for people buying twelve handguns.

Dear Walmart, Removing Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines at the behest of a Republican censorship organization that hates female sexuality is not a victory for the #MeToo movement. It’s a severe perversion of it. More room for those guns though huh? Sincerely, America

Some specifically objected to the NCOSE "blatantly distorting the #MeToo movement" and wrongfully mentioning it.

The grossest thing is how these folks are blatantly distorting what the #MeToo movement is about to justify pushing Cosmo off of Walmart checkout shelves.

Confusing. Walmart is going to remove @Cosmopolitan Magazine from its checkout lines, in part as a response to the #MeToo movement, says @USAToday . But Me Too is about harassment, not sex, and certainly not women enjoying sex. Everything is being thrown into the panic blender.

A spokesperson for Cosmopolitan wouldn't comment directly on Walmart's decision to BuzzFeed News, but did defend the magazine's "focus on empowerment":

“Cosmopolitan is the most successful global media brand for young women, with award-winning content produced by leading female journalists. With our focus on empowerment, we are proud of all that the brand has achieved for women around the world in the areas of equality, health, relationships, career, politics and social issues.”

FWIW, Cosmopolitan says most of its readers are adult women, with 76.4% of Cosmo readers being between the ages of 18 and 49.

  1. So what do you think of Walmart's decision?

    So what do you think of Walmart's decision?

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