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Banning Cosmopolitan From Newsstands Is Just Plain Silly

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Nicole Weider is on a mission. Fed up with the “obscene” and “vulgar” material found in Cosmopolitan, the California woman is fighting to have the mag sold in a nontransparent plastic wrapper and sold to adults only. With headlines like “His Best Sex Ever” and “Foreplay Men Crave,” Weider argues that Cosmo is one of the media’s worst influences on girls (impressionable ones, at that). And so she’s started a Change.org petition to stop the madness. So far, more than 20,000 people have signed it.

“As a former reader of the magazine, I happened to pick up an issue and was reading it and was completely shocked at how pornographic and explicit the content had become. I immediately thought of my young teenage brothers and it horrified me to think that they and their friends could be reading this material, and the damage it would do to them if they did,” Weider told Fox News. “So I decided to do something about it.”

Clearly tens of thousands of people would disagree, but the idea of shielding our children from the evils of Cosmo is ridiculous. Do I think it sends a positive message to young girls? Of course not. But, let’s face it, teens are going to read this stuff whether we cover it in a nontransparent plastic wrapper or not (and, if we do, won’t they want it even more?). Also, how is Cosmo any different from the other trashy mags out there (has anyone picked up a tabloid lately?). And what’s next – banning everything on TV, online and in the schoolyard?

Don’t get me wrong, I agree with Weider’s sentiments, which she outlines in great detail on Change.org:

If Cosmo is for adults, and not minors; then it should be sold ONLY to adults. I understand they have a right to free speech and to print what they want, however it is a crime to market graphic sex tips to underage kids…

This publication has steadily declined into a full-on pornographic “how to” guide for teens and vulnerable young girls. Every issue dares girls and encourages them to try new sex moves (including anal sex), engage in threesomes, experiment with lesbianism, have public sex, watch porn, and using sex toys such as dildos, shower heads, and vibrating tongue rings to “please your man and stimulate your clitoris.”

But, the truth is, children are receiving inappropriate messages everywhere they turn. It’s sad, to be sure, but censoring Cosmo will do nothing to change this reality. What will create change is actually talking to our children about sex. There will always be something sending the wrong message to kids – even basic ad campaigns have proven offensive – but it’s up to us as parents to educate them about sex and body image, and to talk to them about what they see on these covers. And it’s up to us to monitor what our children are reading in the first place (if you don’t want your child reading Cosmo, then don’t allow it in your home).

What do you think? Will banning Cosmo truly create change?

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