Thursday, 31 March 2011

Cosmopolitan Launches in the Middle East?!

I am surprised to hear that Cosmopolitan have launched a new edition of their magazine in the Middle East. These will be sold in Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Lebanon, as well as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

This is the magazine that screams ‘SEX’ louder than any other and the thought of it being sold in a Muslim region does not sit comfortably with me at all. It sells itself by talking very openly about sex with husbands, partners and strangers. Now, I don’t wish to come across as some bearded preacher but the Middle Eastern culture is so rich that I worry introductions of the Cosmopolitan and such will only pollute it. Sure, there needs to be change in these countries when it comes to gender equality but NOT through this magazine.

The women of the Middle East deserve equality and respect. They need real change such as access to education and jobs, financial and political rights. They don’t need images of super models in hip skimming dresses to show them what is beautiful; bedroom tips to tell them what they should be doing or the notion that they should be reading this magazine to be considered a fashionable, cosmopolitan female.
The Middle East has its faults, and many of them, but the one thing they have retained (to a degree) is their modesty and morality. This is why the Cosmopolitan magazine fits in so perfectly here in the West - because society is so broken already.


  1. I read Cosmo on a monthly basis and I find it actually has a lot of articles on how to empower yourself as a woman. How to get further in life be it in work or with your partner or friends. Yes there is a lot of sex in there but sex isn't haraam as long as its with your husbands. Perhaps they will gear this towards women who are married or perhaps they will leave out most of the sex articles.

    I don't think society in the west is broken I just think there are a lot of problems as there are in many other societies in the world. People could look at the Middle East and think it horrific that women aren't even allowed to drive somewhere like Saudi.

    Cosmo above all is a fun mag with lots of tips on fashion, make up and lifestyle. It actually has the highest rate of multicultural models and it isn't pretentious like many other mags out there!

  2. Thanks Sana - I think because I got all heated up I forgot to write that I think if it was tailored to suit the market out there then I wouldnt have a problem with it! Sure sex isn't haram and I have no problems with them writing about it as long as its with husbands! I have just seen the cover and they seem to have left it out (well, on the cover in any case)

    As you rightly pointed out, the magazine does have some articles that are worthy of notice... but again, if they can cater for the Middle Eastern market without importing the editions we have in Europe then I think it should be fine.

    Regarding society - i think yes, every society has its problems. You've mentioned a ban on women driving in Saudi and there's plenty more (honour killings, stonings etc) but that is precisely why I think women in the Middle East need real, strong change. Perhaps this is something they can address?

    I do hope it is being received well and I really hope that they tailor the magazine for their audience....

    Thank you for your comment :-)

  3. Assalaam Alaikum Rohima,

    I've read Cosmo magazine before as well, and noting the demographic the magazine caters to, can completely agree with your conclusion, it does not belong in the Middle East.

    In flipping through Cosmo it's apparent to any reader that the majority of articles are written on the subject of sex and what women can do to enhance their lives inside the bedroom. There are seldom articles geared toward female empowerment or addressing the realities of what's going on around the world, most specifically in this case regarding the lives of women in the Middle East.

    The crux of the articles center around make-up, sex, fashion, sex, and there's a small section in the back about female medical issues. The problems that Muslim and non-Muslim women face in the Middle East carry far more weight than personal appearance or finding Mr. Right. For example, seeking and fighting for a voice in the midst of highly controlled patriarchal secular governments.

    Lastly, I definitely agree that introducing Cosmo will only cause further detriment to the degree of modesty and morality Middle Eastern nations have thus far retained in comparison to their Western counterparts.

    Thanks for sharing this shocking news. And lovely blog by the way! =)