Cosmopolitan is getting covered up.
Two American retailers plan to place Cosmo behind “blinders” to shield minors from its sex content, reports Women’s Wear Daily. Pharmacy chain Rite Aid and grocery chain Food Lion are requiring Hearst, the magazine’s publisher, to provide U-shaped covers that conceal the salacious headlines that Cosmopolitan is famous for. The blinders will not cover the magazine’s masthead or cover model.
The August 2015 issue of Cosmopolitan features Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker on the cover with the phrase “HOT SUMMER SEX” splashed across her abdomen.
The decision comes after months of lobbying from Victoria Hearst on behalf of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. The granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, who founded the Hearst media empire, she has publicly called Cosmopolitan a “sex rag.”
“If I was queen of the Hearst Corporation, this magazine would no longer exist and the editor-in-chief and all the people there would be on unemployment,” she said in a press conference in April. “But since I don’t have that power, all we’re saying is, look—you want to print this junk, then print it. It’s adult material. It’s clear it’s adult material. Label it as such.”
Cosmopolitan wasn’t always about sex, but that became what it was known for when William Randolph Hearst appointed Helen Gurley Brown as its editor in 1965. Under her direction, Cosmopolitan started featuring risque headlines (and often scantily clad women) on its cover and began offering diet tips and sex advice.
Hearst, a born-again Christian, has tried unsuccessfully for years to get the magazine to change its direction. She’s hoping the blinders will lead to a drop in sales and force Cosmopolitan to rethink its editorial content.