The second wholesome value is, we are told with a straight face, that Cosmo actually has a traditional attitude toward sex:
Cosmo happens to be fairly traditional about sex itself. Brown believed that it was O.K. to sleep with married men (it was their wives’ responsibility to keep them faithful, she argued), but White eliminated that from the formula. (“A total no-no,” she said.) The magazine also assumes that you’re having sex with a boyfriend or a husband (there’s not much in the way of same-sex relationships), and not with a one-night stand. “We certainly talk about sex mostly in terms of relationships,” White said, “and most of our readers have told us they’re in relationships, and they want the sexual information for their relationship.” White also sees the hookup culture boomeranging back to more traditional standards. “One thing I do think that women will evaluate in the coming years,” she said, “is casual sex. Is it really what you want to be doing, casual sex, a lot of casual sex? Is it what you feel good about?” But if it’s your thing, that’s fine too. “We don’t pass judgment,” she said.
Are these seriously what pass for wholesome values these days?
While I applaud White’s (rather tepid) skepticism of the hook up culture, there is a contradiction here. Her magazine does not sell relationships. It sells sex (as you can see by looking at some recent covers). Just like in the hook up culture, in the pages of Cosmo, the primary way that members of the opposite sex relate to each other is not emotional, intellectual, or spiritual–but sexual, pure and simple. If this is having it all, then count me out.
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