Don’t expect to see Cosmopolitan the next time you’re waiting in line to check out at Walmart. After an aggressive campaign by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, an organization largely focused on fighting pornography, Cosmopolitan will be relegated only to the magazine aisle of the stores.
While NCOSE has been working for a long time to keep Cosmo away from consumers as part of a project titled “Cosmo Harms Minors,” calling it “pornographic” on their website, the most recent campaign aimed to capitalize on the #MeToo movement. An article published by NCOSE Executive Director Dawn Hawkins on their website titled “Walmart’s Corporate Responsibility: Fighting Female Objectification in the #MeToo Era,” Hawkins links the “sexually explicit” Cosmo to the objectification of women and the establishment of women as “second-class citizens,” and ties it to the #MeToo movement by arguing that it promotes a culture that allows for sexual harassment. NCOSE then states that through “collaborative dialogue” with Walmart, the magazines will now be moved.
“This is what real change looks like in our #MeToo culture, and NCOSE is proud to work with a major corporation like Walmart to combat sexually exploitative influences in our society,” Hawkins said in a statement. “Women, men, and children are bombarded daily with sexually objectifying and explicit materials, not only online, but in the checkout line at the store.”
Though for NCOSE Cosmo is political, Walmart was less explicit in their statement, saying “While this was primarily a business decision, the concerns raised were heard.” The Waltons, the heirs to the Walmart wealth, tend to give more money to conservative candidates, especially those who are against or quiet on the issue of gay marriage, and also to those backed by the gun lobby.
This week’s announcement has received tremendous pushback, largely because it manipulates the current wave of activism around sexual assault and harassment.
The grossest thing is how these folks are blatantly distorting what the #MeToo movement is about to justify pushing… https://t.co/7zKzooFUsg— Lily Herman (@Lily Herman)1522238886.0
The censorship of media was not welcomed in the #MeToo movement:
Pulling a magazine that empowers women to talk about sex in a healthy and positive way is counter-productive. Not o… https://t.co/N8LI7qgKT9— Amanda McKelvey (@Amanda McKelvey)1522181400.0
In a BBC interview Suzannah Weiss said, “You can't conflate sex with sexism and say everything related to sexuality is morally wrong.”
The NCOSE, formerly named Morality in Media, successfully placed Cosmo under blinders at Rite Aid and Delhaize America stores in 2015.