Oh, Cosmopolitan magazine. My feelings for you can be summed up in those three exquisite words:
We have a somewhat complex relationship. It is aimed at faux-professional women with non-specific job titles who believe the most important things in life are handbags. I am a poor English literature student, I think Marx and Engels were BAMFs, and I carry my stuff around in a succession of worn-down plastic carrier bags. We were never going to get on.
As I’ve been off the interwebs and VFM for a while now (Dealing with coursework and student house slug infestations takes time, okay?) I thought I’d ease my toes back into the blogoverse via the nightmare that is Cosmo.
I was going to rip apart the December edition of everyone’s favourite monthly rag, as it’s previously been pretty fun and incredibly easy. Ripping apart any Cosmopolitan magazine edition is fun and incredibly easy. Previous instant zero-effort jokes have included a massively-oversized pastel-pink £300 statement handbag with glitter and parrots on it, a breast cancer awareness campaign featuring fluffy bras containing puppies, not to mention their LOLtastic and sexist section entitled ‘Men vs Fashion’, where twenty-something men accuse Anne Hathaway of not looking cuddly enough when she’s walking down the red carpet. The jokes write themselves, people.
I’d planned to write a quickie post consisting of obvious Miley Cyrus jokes and infuriating keyboard-mash about handbag porn, and thus potentially ruin any valid chance of me ever getting an internship at any magazine ever. So I handed over the necessary petty cash at my local newsagents, and ripped open the rag, when what should sadly flump out of my magazine and onto the carpet like so much flaccid yuletide mincemeat, but a Cosmopolitan Christmas Gift Guide.
SWEET SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR, IT’S A FEMINIST CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
A few scientific-feminist observations:
1) The first thing I notice is that, in true Cosmo fashion, the gift guide has a buzzword for this collection of stuff – “Lust-haves”. I could go on a rant about the sexualisation of shopping and commodity fetishism but it’s Cosmo and Christmas so I let them have their awkward puns. By the time they’ve used it three times within two pages, though, I start quoting Mean Girls, and demanding that the poor unpaid intern who wrote this crap be sacked immediately.
2) There is a lust-have (*GROAN*) personality list.
The first question is “I’ll always invest in”: followed by the following options: a pair of heels, a handbag, some make up a dress or underwear. Because nuclear fusion research, stocks in SONY and industrial sized packs of chocolate oranges aren’t an option to invest in, I write “NONE OF THESE THINGS” in big cartoonish letters like I can stick it to the man. Or Cosmo intern.
Also, because “the cinema” or “that all you can eat Chinese buffet place across the road” aren’t options, my ideal date is either a BLOODY CRUISE ON A PRIVATE BOAT. Or a gig in Paris. Or a candle-lit dinner in a Michelin starred restaurant. Nandos is not an option. I am disappointed.
When it comes to shoes, there’s no option for “Doc Martens” or “sensible pumps I bought from Schuh when they were in a sale”, so I can either choose from “Louboutins” or “Jimmy Choo” and other crap I don’t have the time or money to even pronounce let alone buy, so I decide that Cosmo doesn’t want me to buy any gifts this year and I skip the exercise altogether.
3) There’s a section called “Perfectly Pink”, and I love the idea of a clueless significant other purchasing presents purely based on what colour they are. This is before I turn the page and see the “Glory of gold” section, which contains so much sparkly rubbish I have to shield my eyes Raiders of the Lost Ark style.
4) The only non-outfit or perfume related gifts are an expensive radio that costs TWO HUNDRED QUID, and a stocking filler section containing a digital camera that costs £100. Which, considering the earlier questions asked me about travelling on a goddamn yacht, is no surprise really.
By this point, after thorough research, I’ve deducted that Cosmo thinks the exhaustive list of gifts suitable for women are the following:
Uncomfortable and skimpy lingerie that will inevitably give any lady a massive wedgie
Essentially, this entire gift collection should be called Things Not To Get For Your Significant Other Unless You Can Afford The Cool Vintage Radio On Page 5.
Hoo-bloody-ray. Christmas is cancelled.