You may know the magazine Cosmopolitan as a titillating and dare-we-say trashy indulgence – a women’s magazine dedicating to sex, beauty, and celebrity fashion. Because that’s all women care about, right? Regardless of how enthusiastic or critical you may feel for the publication, there are some aspects of its history that might surprise you:
1. It was first published in 1886.
2. It began as a family magazine, with articles on household concerns, childcare, and recipes.
3. After some time it transitioned into more of a literary magazine, publishing works by writers like Upton Sinclair, Kurt Vonnegut, Willa Cather, and H. G. Wells.
4. In the 1960’s, Helen Gurley Brown took over as editor and began running covers and articles that reflected the sexual liberation movement of the time.
5. Cosmopolitan is published in over 30 languages and is distributed in more than 100 countries, which (perhaps surprisingly) includes places like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Mongolia, Latvia, Turkey, Serbia, Colombia, India, and more.
To feature some of Cosmo‘s diverse influences and past lives, one clever Tumblr user created the mash-up Cosmarxpolitan (in reference to the philosopher and cultural theorist, Karl Marx.) These fake magazine covers display famous philosophers’ faces superimposed on studly male bodies, with article titles like, “Sex Tips so divine, he’ll call you the opiate of his masses,” “The Asiatic mode of production and your butt,” and “How to Smash Capitalism (while you work out!)”
These intelligent, light-hearted mash-ups are meant to be humorous, but they also call into question the ways in which we consume popular culture. Is sex all that sells? Without disrespecting the sexual revolution and all that our society gained as a result, what if Cosmo reunited with its literary past and gave their audience something to think about beyond the next orgasm? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images via Tumblr