Cosmopolitan is an international fashion magazine for women, which was formerly titled The Cosmopolitan. The magazine was first published and distributed in 1886 in the United States as a family magazine; it was later transformed into a literary magazine and eventually became a women’s magazine (since 1965). Often referred to as Cosmo, its content as of 2011 includes articles discussing: relationships, sex, health, careers, self-improvement, celebrities, fashion, and beauty.
Published by Hearst Corporation, Cosmopolitan has 64 international editions including: Croatia, Greece, Romania, Estonia, UK, Norway, Australia, Spain, Sweden, Malaysia, Singapore, The Middle East Region, Latin America Region, Hungary, Finland, Netherlands, South Africa, France, Portugal, Armenia and Russia and is printed in 35 languages, and is distributed in more than 110 countries.
Cosmopolitan began as a family magazine, launched in 1886 by Schlicht & Field of New York as The Cosmopolitan.
Paul Schlicht told his first-issue readers that his publication was a “first-class family magazine”, adding, “There will be a department devoted exclusively to the concerns of women, with articles on fashions, on household decoration, on cooking, and the care and management of children, etc. There was also a department for the younger members of the family.”
Cosmopolitan magazine was officially titled as Hearst’s International Combined with Cosmopolitan from 1925 until 1952, but was simply referred to as Cosmopolitan. In 1911, Hearst had bought a middling monthly magazine called World To-Day and renamed it Hearst’s Magazine in April 1912. In June 1914 it was shortened to Hearst’s and was ultimately titled Hearst’s International in May 1922. In order to spare serious cutbacks at San Simeon, Hearst merged the magazine Hearst’s International with Cosmopolitan effective March 1925. But while the Cosmopolitan title on the cover remained at a typeface of eight-four points, over time span the typeface of the Hearst’s International decreased to thirty-six points and then to a barely legible twelve points. After Hearst died in 1951, the Hearst’s International disappeared from the magazine cover altogether in April 1952.
Cosmo was widely known as a “bland” and boring magazine by critics. Cosmopolitan’s circulation continued to decline for another decade until Helen Gurley Brown became chief editor in 1965.Helen Gurley Brown changed the entire trajectory of the magazine during her time as editor.Brown remodeled and re-invented it as a magazine for modern single career women. Completely transforming the old bland Cosmopolitan magazine into a racy, contentious and well known, successful magazine. As the editor for 32 years, Brown spent this time using the magazine as an outlet to erase stigma around unmarried women not only having sex, but also enjoying it.Known as a “devout feminist”, Brown was often attacked by critics due to her paradoxical views on women and sex. She believed that women were allowed to enjoy sex without shame in all cases. She died in 2012 at the age of 90. Her vision is still evident in the current design of Cosmopolitan Magazine. The magazine eventually adopted a cover format consisting of a usually young female model (in recent years, an actress, singer, or another prominent female celebrity), typically in a low cut dress, bikini, or some other revealing outfit.