cosmopolitan – rihanna cover

Cosmpolitan featured pop star Rihanna on its cover in July of in 2011. Cosmopolitan’s corporate owner, the Hearst Corporation, describes “Cosmo” as, “the lifestylist for millions of fun, fearless females who want to be the best they can be in every area of their lives. Cosmopolitan inspires with information on relationships and romance, the best in fashion and beauty, the latest on women’s health and well-being, as well as what is happening in pop culture and entertainment…and just about everything else fun, fearless females want to know.”


Compare the language that Cosmo uses to describe its aim and mission with the language that it presents its readers on this cover page. In what ways might they align, and in what ways do they differ?

What conclusions might you draw about the priorities and interests of American women by looking at this cover pages? Do these match your own thoughts about what are important issues for women today? Why or why not?


Although Cosmopolitan was first published as a family magazine in 1886, by 1967 it had transformed into a women’s magazine that dealt famously and openly with questions of female sex and sexuality. Once heralded for spreading the notion that women should be able to enjoy sex and the single life without shame, many people feel that Cosmopolitan has grown increasingly sexually explicit over the last decade. The magazine has often been at the center of controversy regarding whether its content is empowering for women, regressive, or some combination of both.

Our Funders