Dear Cosmo, You'll Never Convince Us Obesity Is Healthy

I’m old enough to remember when girls in their teens and 20s were starving themselves because they wanted to be skinny like Kate Moss on the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Remember that Moss quote? I used it quite a bit when I was motivating myself to lose weight as an awkward teenager.

By Pardes Seleh3 min read
dear cosmo you'll never convince us obesity is healthy shutterstock

But that was the ‘90s and times have changed. Now, according to Cosmo, being morbidly obese is both beautiful and healthy. Kate Moss is “out” and 5’5” 340 pound Tess Holliday is “in.” The arbiters of mainstream beauty culture have decided celebrating skinny is no longer trendy. 

It’s not because they’re worried about girls starving themselves to death, by the way, even though Cosmo will tell you that’s the reason, and you might even convince yourself of that. The truth is only about 0.5% of women in developed societies will develop anorexia nervosa. Obesity, on the other hand, affects 42.4% of our population and counting, and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. (You might even say obesity is THE leading cause of death, since heart disease is number one and obesity is the leading cause of heart disease.) 

So why are mainstream magazines so obsessed with convincing girls like us that being obese is beautiful and healthy? 

Mainstream Magazines Have To Compete with Social Media Influencers

The real question should be: Why DO mainstream magazines think they can convince us that being anorexic OR obese is beautiful and healthy? It’s not, and they can’t — at least not anymore. Ever since the internet and social media allowed independent content creators to go viral without Vanity Fair’s help, simply pushing “pretty” models isn’t going to be profitable for a costly mainstream magazine anymore. They’re now competing for “pretty” with all the healthy, normal-sized independent online creators who don’t charge a subscription fee and aren’t bogged down with all the politically correct stuffiness you see in mainstream media content. And best of all, they’re authentic.

Simply pushing “pretty” models isn’t profitable for a costly mainstream magazine anymore.

They’re competing with YouTubers and writers like me and my friends, who barely spend any money on content yet can be just as influential, if not more. One thing that was incredibly shocking to me in my time working in cable tv is just how much these established media outlets spend on things like hair, makeup, and studio sets. I couldn’t understand how they were turning any profit…unless, they were being funded top-down, which is increasingly the case for a lot of established media outlets these days.

Cosmo Is Trying To Redefine Beauty and Health To Stay Culturally Relevant

So, being simply “entertaining” or “aesthetically pleasing” is no longer profitable for an established fashion magazine like Cosmo. Mainstream beauty magazines need to convince their audience that they are still worth reading over an independently-run website like Evie Magazine, for instance. So they’re going to remind you why you’re really choosing their magazine: not because you’re looking for beauty or entertainment, but because they are Cosmo and Cosmo is still the arbiter of how “beauty” is defined. Nobody can compete with that.

It kind of reminds me of when I was very little and would ask my religious teacher at school why I needed to wash my hands with the special religious washing cup, when my hands would be just as clean if I washed them directly under the faucet. My teacher’s response was always, “it’s not just about keeping your hands clean, it’s about doing what God wants.” Back then, I didn’t understand why God would want me to choose the less efficient hand washing method. But now I know that the washing cup wasn’t about being clean, it was about reminding me that God was in charge.

Cosmo wants to redefine the essence of beauty and wellness, and thereby remind you that they’re still the mainstream.

Cosmo is God in this scenario. Their job is not to tell you how to be objectively beautiful or healthy; it’s to redefine the essence of beauty and wellness, and by that means to remind you that they’re still the mainstream. They’re still in charge — for now, at least. And they won’t disappear into oblivion without a last ditch attempt to assert their dominance and change the culture before they go. 

Cosmo and Its Funders Are Working against Human Nature

And since mainstream magazines like Cosmo are becoming increasingly less reliant on the public for profit, they’re becoming increasingly more reliant on their billionaire grantors who live in New York City and run in heavily progressive social circles. The culture that you’ve been seeing so much lately in mainstream magazines, the relativist culture that says ugly is beautiful, obese is healthy, men are women, and so forth — that’s not a culture that’s based on natural public preference or “bottom-up”, it’s one that’s injected “top-down.”

In other words, if not for magazines of any kind, if you took an island caveman and asked him to differentiate between a man and a woman, he would be able to do it. He’d be able to pick out a healthy woman from a morbidly obese one. These are preferences that are built into our DNA and have helped us survive for years as a species. 

Mainstream beauty magazines (and all establishment media, for that matter) are going to keep trying their hardest to inject their top-down, anti-reality culture, not because they genuinely believe it to be optimal, but because they need it in order to survive as cultural influencers. But there’s only so much you can train a cat to act human; at some point, a mouse will come along and the cat will be a cat again. A woman will appear and the caveman will be a man again, and so forth. Nature and reality will prevail, and fashion queen Anna Wintour will be just as irrelevant to geopolitics as the Queen of England. 

Closing Thoughts

No matter how hard they try, fashion magazines will never convince humans that a man wearing flowy dresses with bulges for breasts is “masculine.” They’ll never be able to convince us that men can get pregnant, or that Mother Theresa is a 12-year-old boy. No matter how hard they try, and no matter how much we pretend to entertain the idea, Cosmo will never be able to convince me or my friends that being obese is beautiful.