Cosmopolitan: U.S. audience 2017, by platform
The history of CosmopolitanCosmopolitan’s first issue (as a literary magazine, which was the publication’s original format) was published in 1886. By the 1930s, the magazine had a circulation of almost two million and impressive advertising income, and although was not always favorably reviewed, was popular for its short stories and serials. In 1965, Helen Gurley Brown became the publication’s chief editor and in the same year changed the format completely, releasing the first issue of Cosmopolitan as a women’s magazine.
Helen Gurley Brown wrote 1960s bestseller ‘Sex and the Single Girl’, which inspired Cosmopolitan’s new format. Brown and her work came under fire more than once by those who considered her work to be anti-feminist, and opinions on the publication remain divided today. Cosmopolitan has also been criticized for running stories or printing photographs similar to those in men's magazine Playboy, a publication which has often been branded ‘pornographic’. Brown was also keen to convey her advocacy for women’s sexual freedom and empowerment, but some critics consider Brown’s approach to be simultaneously progressive and retrogressive in that respect.
Cosmopolitan has had several different editors since Brown left the post in 1996, and remains consistent with Brown’s style and ideology, albeit with a more modern focus. The magazine has begun to incorporate more content focused on female body positivity and advice for inter-abled couples, as well as political and opinion pieces covering topics ranging from abortion law and environmental topics to animal abuse and the U.S. elections.