Victory: Walmart pulls Cosmopolitan Magazine from checkout aisle after campaign

By Jonathon Van Maren

Some of you might remember that I attended a conference in Houston last year put on by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), where thousands gathered to hear lectures on the poisonous impact pornography was having on our culture and get equipped to push back. NCOSE has been on the front lines of the war on smut for decades, battling tirelessly to protect children from the pernicious influences of material that sexually exploits women. This week, they won another significant victory. From NPR:

The nation’s largest retailer has bounced Cosmopolitan from the coveted checkout aisle following a years-long campaign targeting the women’s magazine for its “hyper-sexualized” covers and content. Walmart said Tuesday that it was removing the magazine from checkout lines at its 5,000 stores across the country.

“Walmart will continue to offer Cosmopolitan to customers that wish to purchase the magazine, but it will no longer be in the checkout aisles,” the company said in a statement. “While this was primarily a business decision, the concerns raised were heard.”

Those concerns were raised by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which compares Cosmo to porn and has waged a campaign for years to get it removed from store shelves. It had previously succeeded in getting Rite Aid stores and Delhaize America (which owns Food Lion) to put Cosmopolitan behind blinders, according to USA Today.

“Cosmo sends the same messages about female sexuality as Playboy,” NCOSE, which changed its name from Morality in Media three years ago, said in a statement.

“It places women’s value primarily on their ability to sexually satisfy a man and therefore plays into the same culture where men view and treat women as inanimate sex objects,” the statement said. “Further, Cosmo targets young girls by placing former Disney stars on its covers, despite the enclosed sexually erotic articles which describe risky sexual acts like public, intoxicated, or anal sex in detail. Customers should not be forced to be exposed to this content when they are trying to check-out at the store.”

Many people might roll their eyes and say that the campaign to kick Cosmopolitan out of the check-out aisles is an example of panicky prudes getting far too worked up again, but that is simply because most people do not understand that these sorts of magazines are genuinely dangerous. They encourage dangerous sexual practices that have some doctors reporting that young teenage girls are needing to come in and get stitched up after sexual encounters—encounters that were pushed and promoted by magazines like Cosmopolitan. As I noted last year, we underestimate the influence that these so-called “teen magazines” have on young girls at our peril. They are fundamental part of a pornified culture, and responsible parents should do their best to keep them out of the house.

Congratulations to my friends at NCOSE. It’s nice to see a victory in this never-ending fight.


For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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