Cosmo: Stating the Obvious Since 1886

I’ll admit it, I read Cosmo. In fact, not only do I read it, I devour it. I actually look forward to my cross-country flights between home and Bentley, because they entail six, glorious, uninterrupted hours with the glossy, colossal compilation of pictures, ads, articles, tips, recipes, embarrassing moments, interviews, and who-knows-what. The magazine is addictive, and I always read it from cover to cover, every little blurb and sidebar included. My friends and I often find ourselves stating some arbitrary fact or little known tidbit about some thing, only to learn that the other one was already aware, because we both learned it in Cosmo.

Despite my allegiance to the magazine, I’m not sure if I’m growing skeptical, or cynical, or what exactly it is that caused a recent shift in my Cosmo outlook. But lately, everything I read in there just seems so obvious. I’ll read an entire article and find that I learned virtually nothing new—the writers seem to have a gift for making the most basic knowledge and straightforward facts sound important, revolutionary, and innovative. I will point out that each issue usually has one or two cool interviews and articles outlining people with unique stories and experiences—but a significant amount of content is dedicated toward “your” life—stories they think readers will find radical and groundbreaking; relevant enough to bring shifts to their everyday lives and habits. These sections are where I find the most instances of this—and I have to hand it to them, the writers at Cosmo do a good job of making what they “discovered” sound innovative, significant, and scientific, but the following is a list of some “recent” knowledge I have been enlightened with as a result of reading Cosmo:

  •  “By shifting your focus to things that actually make you happy, you’ll cultivate an authentic grin that enhances your mood”
  •  “Warm weather and sunshine have been proven to improve mood, boost memory, and inspire more creative thoughts.”
  •  “A just released survey of over 6,500 women found that 53% of American females report being stressed ‘most of the time’…experts say that turning into a major b*tch is a side effect of stress in women.”
  •  “Exercise has been found to ease depression by releasing feel-good neurotransmitters and endorphins.”
  •  (from a list entitled “6 Bad Money Habits to Break”) “Bad Habit: Not sticking to a budget. Bad Habit: Splurging on stuff you don’t need”

Was anybody truly unaware of any of this knowledge? Please, let me know if any of this actually is news to anyone out there. I know I sound like a cynic, but the sad thing is, I will probably continue to read the magazine, every issue of it, in its entirety. Is it wasting my time? Probably. Does this upset me? Slightly. Much like watching the same movie over and over again, despite having memorized all the lines and scenes, my sporadic sessions with this smooth, polished literary source of everyday trivia have become a fixture in my life, and I struggle to find excuses even to myself as to why I must continue to read it. It must be that I’m addicted to the lingering smell of the perfume samples, or that I find the sarcastic comments of the celebrity fashion police uncommonly brilliant. No matter how many lists entitled “The Only Hair Products You’ll Ever Need” I have to endure, all I can really say about Cosmo is bring it on.

-Emily Digiovanna

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