Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cosmocking: March '11! Part 1!

Today's theme, remember, is The Lessons Of Cosmocking! Thanks to Katie and Rowdy for contributing on this one.



Red cover! Lea Michele! She's naked! No, there's a little bit of cloth sort of off to the sides of the photo! But not much! Usually Cosmo cover outfits are relatively practical so it's weird to see one that's way on the other side of the "could you wear this on the sidewalk" line! Best headline: "For His Thighs Only!" It reminds me of this comic! All of the headlines are about getting men, looking good for men, or having sex with men!

LESSON: Cosmo presents itself as a generalist magazine on "women's life," but it's really a hobbyist magazine, on the level of "Popular Woodworking" or "Outdoor Photographer." If your hobby is being conventionally feminine and boy-crazy, then I guess Cosmo is your hobby mag. But if you're any other kind of woman, you're a studio photographer--this magazine isn't exactly wrong, just not applicable. Being a Cosmo girl is just one of millions of options, not something you're stuck with the instant you get born female.

The unfortunate thing about Cosmo (besides having too much bad advice and misinformation to be a useful hobby mag) is that they won't acknowledge this, and pretend that there is, or should be, no line between "woman" and "Cosmo girl."


Inside, there's an ad for Maybelline that includes little samples of eighteen different foundation shades. They range from "110," which is about the color I am without a tan, all the way to "355," which is... about the color I am with a tan.

LESSON: The intersection of race and commerce can be a really sticky thing. I'll give Maybelline the benefit of the doubt and guess that they aren't excluding dark skin tones because of thoughtlessness, or because they're trying to cultivate some ultra-white image. More likely they did some market research and found that most of their potential customers happened to be white. Of course this is an effect as well as a cause of the limited selection, but it means that reaching out to black customers would be taking a risk. Is a company obligated to do something that makes sense morally but may not make sense financially? I'm not sure, but even if this is "just the market reality," it wasn't a wise choice to display it like this.

Maybe it's racism, maybe it's cynicism, maybe it's cold hard calculation. Maybe it's Maybelline.

Guys live in the day-to-day, so plans that need to be made months--or even weeks--in advance go straight to the back burner. It's not that he's trying to weasel out of doing prep work; he's just too focused on what you two are doing in five minutes to worry about the long term.
LESSON: Feminism has a lot to offer men. Although I'm afraid "low expectations" isn't one of the things on offer. Still, low expectations come with low esteem, and in the long run I think "men have all the emotions and intellect of a human being" works out a lot better for guys than "seriously, ladies, count yourselves lucky if he's potty trained."

What's up with guys cheating down?
You've gotta wonder why guys like Tiger Woods, Jesse James, and now supposedly Tony Parker are cheating on their wives with women who are a major downgrade.

LESSON: Think about what you're saying, for God's sake. Define your terms, if only to yourself. I bet you a couple bucks that if you asked the person who wrote this "what exactly do you mean by 'down'?" there would be a whole lot of "you know, c'mon, you know what I mean" in the answer.

But really, I don't know what they mean. Probably "sluttier," less "nice" and "refined," but I don't know what any of those words really mean. Wearing less expensive and more revealing clothing in public, mostly. Or being a sex worker or a woman willing to sleep with a cheating man, althrough it would be hard to cheat with any other type of woman.

They don't really mean any of these things. What they mean is "someone who makes me reflexively feel all disgusted and disapproving without the impulse ever passing through my forebrain." And that's a scary, scary thing. If you think about it.

Look down while you're riding him on top. "You'll be able to watch his penis penetrate you, and your brain will process this information, leading you to a stronger climax."
LESSON: Don't say stuff like that, because you'll sound ridiculous.

Or more generally, don't try to make yourself seem smart and authoritative by attaching the fripperies (but not the content) of science or philosophy. And don't believe a word out of the mouths of people who do that. If it can be said in words a ten-year-old would understand, it should be. Big Science Words are necessary to communicate Big Science Concepts, but when you really just have a simple everyday concept, the honest thing to do is express it simply.

Look down while you're riding him on top. "You'll be able to watch his penis penetrate you, and that's awesome."

Is the remote always glued to your guy's hand? The next time his fave show is on, put on a girlie program, like "Real Housewives," before he has a chance to get to the TV. When he asks to change it, give the okay only if he'll split control of the clicker 50-50 in the future.
LESSON: One big problem with the "opposite gender" way of thinking--everything on Earth is either a man thing or a woman thing--is that in a heterosexual relationship, you have nothing in common. Sharing interests would make one or both of you, I don't know, gay. So not only do you miss out on the bonding experience of watching "Mythbusters" together, but your relationship becomes fundamentally adversarial, caught in the tension of whether you should do the girl thing or the boy thing any time you do anything together.

Also,
LESSON: While some compromises are always necessary, if your relationship is defined by hostage negotiation and ransom demands, it's probably time to move on. You split the clicker 50-50 because that's a fair agreement, not because one of you cornered the other into a disadvantaged tactical position.




There's a lot more Lessons of Cosmo to come! Also: rubbing nipples on testicles! Probably.

20 comments:

  1. Red cover! Lea Michele! She's naked! No, there's a little bit of cloth sort of off to the sides of the photo! But not much!

    Went and looked at the cover photo. Whoa. I don't think I've ever seen an outfit you wouldn't have to remove to apply an AED before. On a purely technical level, I'm impressed!

    ReplyDelete
  2. More likely they did some market research and found that most of their potential customers happened to be white.

    I would guess it's more "they did some market research and discovered that most of the readers of 'Cosmo' are white". Which, I don't know if that's true either, but they're in business to make money. If they thought they could sell foundation to black women via Cosmo, I'm sure they would try.

    ReplyDelete
  3. *rolls eyes* Is the remote really that much of a problem? Seriously?

    Here's some real world advice: get DVR. It's cheap, it works great and you won't need to hire a hostage negotiator on a nightly basis. My husband and I have 3 types of shows: shows he likes(Intervention, American Pickers, etc.), shows I like (Fringe, reruns of Star Trek, etc.) and shows we both like (Community, Lie to Me, etc.)

    He watches his shows after I go to bed, I watch my shows while he's working and we watch our shows together. It's not that hard.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Perlhaqr - Nope, Maybelline really doesn't carry a lot of products in a shade darker than "pallid":

    Check
    it
    out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Dating down" probably refers to dating people who have social markers of a lower class: "trailer trash" or "white trash" or whatever. In other news, some people are REALLY OBNOXIOUS.

    I know lots of guys who have been planning their costumes for the Bigass Steampunk Party or the local con months in advance, whereas I threw mine together at the last minute. I think I need to tell them that between the interest in clothes and the ability to think about things more than five minutes in the future, their penises have actually fallen off.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sharing interests would make one or both of you, I don't know, gay.

    Wrong! Doing a few *carefully* selected guy-things, as a girl, makes you awesome. If you could still pass for a runway model but eat 10 cheeseburgers at a sitting: awesome. If you can mountain climb without chipping a nail: awesome. But you still have to be thin and pretty and perfect, mind you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It never occurred to me to LOOK AT HIS PENIS. That is soooo cool! Thanks, Cosmo!

    flightless

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, they even designate one of their pallid shades "nude?" I thought society got over THAT little stupidity ages ago...

    ReplyDelete
  9. I thought that Maybelline didn't make foundation for darker skin because they were already outplayed by lines like Black Radiance, Iman's line, etc. Cover Girl has darker makeup, too (I have no idea which one of these lines is the best or whether any of them are any good, I'm white as chalk.)

    Now why those companies aren't advertising or why they aren't advertising their darker lines in Cosmo is another question.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Brilliant! This is my favorite part: "If your hobby is being conventionally feminine and boy-crazy, then I guess Cosmo is your hobby mag. But if you're any other kind of woman, you're a studio photographer--this magazine isn't exactly wrong, just not applicable." I wish someone would have told tween/teen me exactly that. NOW I get it and I'm totally cool (and thrilled) with being a nonconventional female, but yeesh...talk about social reinforcement. The "dating down" bit was spot on too; nothing like keeping the ladies catfighting amongst themselves instead of standing together in agreement that the cheating is the fault of the cheater (as my good friend W. and "the other woman" recently did, to much hiliarity and balance of karma).

    @PersonalFailure: I concur. That's pretty much the logical arrangement in my household as well, except that I really don't like much TV so I go upstairs to read or do my things when he watches his shows. However, I am obsessed with Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which is quite explicit (hot nudity of both genders, lots of sex both hetero and homo...God bless Canada). Seriously, it is refreshing that "nudity" doesn't just mean "we threw in some tits for the 18-35 (straight) male demographic. And sex and violence gets me every time ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hershele OstropolerFebruary 16, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    We pretty much never fight over the remote. There's not a lot I actively want to watch, and there's not a lot she actually wants to watch, and so there's almost never something I want to watch and something she wants to watch on at the same time.

    But it would certainly be consistent with the general thrust of Cosmo to frame watching something I want as a defeat for her whether it's keeping us from watching something she wants or not.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nope, Maybelline really doesn't carry a lot of products in a shade darker than "pallid"

    Enh, ok. I've been wrong before. And I have to admit, Maybelline's line of foundation options isn't really my forte. :D

    (Now, if you want stupid levels of details about mid to late 60's Cadillacs, or early 70's Plymouth offerings, I'm your dude. No, this is not particularly useful information.)

    ReplyDelete
  13. As a kid, I read Cosmo, because I wanted to learn about chicks, you know, to do well with them. I never got why it never worked like I figured.

    You live, you learn.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "dating down" to me, was read as, "totally slept with a dog/uglier chick/pizza face/whatever." It's like the "New Girlfriend" phenomena: If she's not as attractive as you are, you totally "won." But what happens when she's prettier than you? Well, obviously she's a whore.

    I HATE that cover. That much sternum is just a "no" for me.

    The remote thing is just embarrassing. People actually watch shows on tv these days? What about Netflix and DVR? My remote is used to change between systems (Wii/XBox 360/various playstations) and adjust volume. I guess me and my boyfriend are the rarely seen, likely mythical couple who like basically all the same shows.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Leah, and if all else fails, there are always books. Shocker, right?

    ReplyDelete
  16. HEY FUCK YOU DON'T CALL ME A DOU...

    Oh...ohhhhhhhh, TOUCHE! Sorry, my sound system's going out. Software from the '80s, y'know, I feel like Beethoven over here. Or, like, Tin Man or some shit like that.

    Anyway, yeah, fistbump at mutual understanding! Pound it!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh, I'm down for some bumps! (*bump*!)

    Bwahaha Tin Man :D

    ReplyDelete
  18. Guys live in the day-to-day, so plans that need to be made months--or even weeks--in advance go straight to the back burner.

    No, they go straight into my calendar. I might put off the finer details until more info or money is available, but otherwise, I'm on it.

    I must say, the two most useless sex magazines ever have got to be Cosmopolitan, and Playboy (those uber-photoshopped centerfold girls can permanently cripple a young man's ability to ever relate to an actual woman!)

    ReplyDelete
  19. "LESSON: One big problem with the "opposite gender" way of thinking--everything on Earth is either a man thing or a woman thing--is that in a heterosexual relationship, you have nothing in common. Sharing interests would make one or both of you, I don't know, gay. So not only do you miss out on the bonding experience of watching "Mythbusters" together, but your relationship becomes fundamentally adversarial, caught in the tension of whether you should do the girl thing or the boy thing any time you do anything together."

    Every sunday is Football day. That's just how it is. I want to watch the 49ers game, and I want to watch the Sunday Night game, and if there's an awesome game on I want to watch that too. Also the Monday Night game. I told this to my gf and her response was "that's totally fine." She understands that there's one day a week where I'm probably not going to pay attention to her, one day a week where I'm *doing something else* that doesn't involve her. And she's, shockingly, OK with that.

    Hell, she's even welcome to sit down next to me and watch with me, or even just sit down next to me with a book and read while I'm watching. I would LOVE that.

    But if she took the tuner and denied me the opportunity to watch the 9ers game in some bullshit move like this, I'd ask her what the fuck. If she pulled out this bullshit hostage negotiation technique, I'd leave and go to a bar to watch the damn game.

    ReplyDelete