New ad for “Cosmo for Guys” lets you get inside a girl’s head

Some ads, such as the Summer’s Eve videos we covered recently, seem doomed to be sexist and terrible because the product they’re selling is. This new video promoting an iPad-only “Cosmo for Guys” magazine that promises to let (straight) men know “what women want” is like that.

As bad as this ad is, I’m sure the product will be even worse. In case the idea wasn’t painfully clear, the video’s director explained: “The concept and analogy here is to show a guy ‘getting inside a girl’s head’ and sort of ‘reading her mind’ by flipping through the magazine pages on the iPad. The reason for that is: it is the first magazine for men that is written by women, so for the first time women are letting guys in on what they think.

Oh boy. Well, if that’s the tall order CFG is aiming for, I think guys might find themselves more confused than ever. I’d imagine that the “hottest sexual experience” of one these women looks pretty different from that of one these women. CFG readers probably don’t even have a chance with these women. And while iPad Head Girl didn’t seem to mind when that strange guy touched her face, to this woman right here that would be a slap-worthy offense. Women: so mystifying when you treat them like a monolith.

It’s the utter uselessness of a magazine based on bullshit gender stereotypes that I find even more offensive than the sexism. The idea that trying to “read her mind” will be enough to get any woman off is almost as laughable as the notion that all women love the same gifts. Maybe instead of engaging in some equal-opportunity gender essentializing and preying “on the same fears of sexual inadequacy and relationship failure that regular Cosmo has made its bread and butter for years,” we should just replace every page of both magazines with this simple and fool-proof advice: JUST ASK.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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