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The granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst doesn't like what's become of one of her grandfather's publishing company's enduring magazines. In fact, Cosmopolitan magazine so disturbs Victoria Hearst that she is leading a somewhat successful effort to get retailers to use modesty panels to shield the delicate eyes of children from sexy women and headlines.
Hearst writes in a press release issued by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (formerly known as Morality in Media) that putting the fashion and lifestyle magazine behind blinders will "protect underage children from being exposed to the magazine's sexually explicit covers showing scantily clad female celebrities and article titles with the words 'sex' and 'orgasm'!"
So far, two chains are totally on board: RiteAid and Delhaize America, which owns Hannaford stores and Food Lion.
Hearst cites a study conducted by the NCSE that found 67 percent of respondents believe the magazine cover is not appropriate for all ages, 55 percent think it should be removed from children's view, 47 percent thought it shouldn't be sold to minors and 65 percent thought the magazine itself was inappropriate for all ages.
As Slate points out, the magazine recently underwent a feminist upgrade and now covers topics about attacks on Planned Parenthood and birth control. It was awarded a national award for journalism on the birth control piece.
Of course, women's magazine covers like Cosmo have long been met with concern from moms on behalf of their daughters—mainly for the language around beauty, which tends to focus on fixing supposed shortcomings, or sex, which has been centered on pleasing men. But sexist messages like that aren't only in Cosmo. And sexy models, screaming orgasmic headlines and similar cover content features heavily across many titles on the newsstands.
Covering Cosmo with a plastic shield is like a first hit on whack-a-mole. One magazine down, the rest of the newsstand, billboards, movie posts, doctor's offices, TV commercials, pop-up ads, etc., to go.