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#MeToo impact? Walmart criticized for pulling Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines

#MeToo impact? Walmart criticized for pulling Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines
Walmart is banishing Cosmopolitan magazine from its checkout lines, in a decision that was both hailed as empowering women and criticized for doing the opposite. Amid the #MeToo movement, the retailer says it heard the concerns.

The retail giant's decision to pull the magazine – one of the most circulated in the world – from its checkout lines followed years of lobbying by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), an anti-pornography organization.

"The truth is, women are more than a collection of body parts, and women are worth more than their sexual functions! But you wouldn’t know that using only Cosmo as your guide," the NCSE wrote on its website. It said it had been in "collaborative dialogue" with Walmart about the magazine, which it claims “sends the same messages about female sexuality as Playboy."

Walmart insists that the move was "primarily a business decision,” while still noting that "the concerns raised were heard." It will also still be offering the magazine in its designated magazine area.

While some are hailing the move as a great step in the era of #MeToo, others say it’s insulting to women. “Removing Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines at the behest of a Republican censorship organization that hates female sexuality is not a victory for the #MeToo movement. It’s a severe perversion of it,” surgeon and scientist Eugene Gu wrote on Twitter.

Author Lenore Skenazy also wasn’t impressed, saying that Walmart has totally missed the point of the #MeToo movement. “Confusing. Walmart is going to remove @Cosmopolitan Magazine from its checkout lines, in part as a response to the #MeToo movement...but Me Too is about harassment, not sex, and certainly not women enjoying sex. Everything is being thrown into the panic blender.”

Adult film actress Ava Addams also chimed in, calling Walmart “ridiculous.” She said the popular magazine is not against the #MeToo movement, and asked the retailer what is wrong with pornography and women being empowered sexually. “Walmart you’re part of the problem - not Cosmo!” she wrote.

Others took the move as an opportunity to imply that Walmart should perhaps shift its priorities. 

However, others have praised the move as children will not be exposed unintendedly to its sexual materials. 

One woman praised the decision while suggesting that Walmart should now tackle Teen Vogue. “These companies...deserve to be bankrupted for exploiting the youth,” she wrote.

Cosmopolitan has not yet responded to the move by Walmart, but it’s unlikely that the magazine – which refers to itself as a “bible for fun, fearless females” – will agree with the decision. The publication has long been known for its provocative and sexual content, with Helen Gurley Brown, the magazine’s editor from 1965-1997, being largely credited as the first to introduce frank discussions of sex in women’s magazines.

First launched in 1886, Cosmopolitan reaches 17 million readers a month, while its website reaches almost 30 million. It publishes 61 print magazine editions around the world.