Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


American Studies

First Advisor

Laura Grappo




This thesis is divided into three different sections. The first examines how Cosmopolitan sexually exploits women through its images, content, and advertisements. It argues that these images and content subordinate women by resembling pornography and depicting women as sex objects for men. The second section analyzes the messages Cosmopolitan sends to women about beauty, thinness, and class. It will look at how the magazine portrays the use of cosmetics, style, and fitness to boost women's sexual desirability. The third section will analyze the magazine's depiction of female sexual pleasure, sexuality, and how women should act in heterosexual relationships. It examines the messages the magazine permeates about men having control in both sexual situations as well as more emotional, romantic situations as well. Over all, this thesis finds that the sexual exploitation of women, depiction of beauty, class and thinness, and messages about female sexual pleasure, sexuality, and women in relationships perpetuate the idea that women are subordinate and inferior to men, a notion conditioned in society that leads to the magazine's manipulation of women.