Cosmo and Porn

Theories of Popular culture and religion

“Popular culture is like pornography — in, oh, so many ways: we may not be able to define it, but we know it when we see it.”(Potter)

Magazines as written by Forbes, are popular culture, however not all magazines are are popular as others, some are focused on an age demographic, or particular interests; however they are all popular culture as the idea of magazines are wide spread and enjoyed by many. Cosmopolitan magazine is targeted to 18–49 year olds (http://www.bustle.com/…/101323-cosmopolitan-magazine-will-b…) which is a large target audience, enhancing the popular culture of this magazine. However, like with anything classified as popular culture, Cosmopolitan had some individuals who are against the magazine and what it stands for.

National Centre on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) is an organization who do not view Cosmopolitan as popular culture. The organization believes that the magazine harms minors and impressionable individuals through its content. With the magazine previously being marketed and sold directly on the shelves anyone can pick up the magazine to read and engage with popular culture. The NCSE wants to bag the magazine to be like pornographic magazine where it is covered and buyers must be carded.

Religion impacts popular culture and popular culture impacts religion. Forbes writes that popular culture reflects us, as a society and as a community. We as a society ultimately dictate what becomes popular culture and which stays out of main stream attention. Religion impacts popular culture and our choices on culture we engage with, and the attention different items gain, because certain religions forbid, ban or disapprove of certain popular culture items. Cosmopolitan magazine is more than just content discussing sexual activity and behaviour; it also teaches its readers about contraceptives, race, empowerment and much more. However, religion could dictate individuals connecting and reading Cosmopolitan based on the religions’ viewpoint on contraceptives. Although the NCSE wants to change the way the magazine is sold and presented, not for religious reasons, because they believe the content is too extreme and unsightly, religious groups could have their say in dictating popular culture by supporting the NCSE, and with different reasons for their objections religious groups would help to influence the popular culture of Cosmopolitan.

Parker uses his essay to discuss finds and beliefs of other scholars and expands on their knowledge of popular culture to give his readers more knowledge. Bennett and Storey are two scholars Parker uses to define and enhance the definition of popular culture. “Popular culture is simply culture which is widely favoured or well liked by many people” (Storey) Cosmopolitan is popular culture as it is well liked by many; if Cosmopolitan can survive over 100 years, it clearly is popular culture. The magian began in 1886 as a family magazine and then became a women’s magazine in 1965; it has defied religious and cultural backlash until now. With the NCSE pushing for the magazine to be viewed by the consumers as pornographic the readership, and popular culture surrounding the magazine could lower.

In the United States there has been a new ruling which the NCSE is pushing to have all Cosmopolitans be brown paper bagged, similarly to ’true’ pornography.

Pornography on its own is still viewed as taboo in our culture although as a Western society it is becoming more viewed and accessed by the masses, but still behind closed doors. Religion has impacted the views and stigma around pornography and with religions large impact in society and with people viewing what is popular culture, liked the most by the masses, pornography is still viewed as not apart of popular culture.

sources
Forbes, Bruce David. “Introduction: Finding Religion in Unexpected Places.” In Religion and Popular Culture in America. Ed. B. D. Forbes and Jeffrey H. Mahan, 1–20. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
Parker, Holt N. “Toward A Definition Of Popular Culture.” History and Theory 50 (2011): 147–70
Potter Stewart, Concurring Opinion, Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184 (1964).
Storey, Cultural Theory, 4; Bennett, “Popular Culture,” 20. See also John G. Nachbar and Kevin Lausé, Popular Culture: An Introductory Text (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992), 10

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