Why I Canceled My Cosmo Subscription & Switched to Essence
It was a long time coming, but after 11 years and more than 100 issues issues I’ve finally canceled my subscription to Cosmopolitan magazine. I’d threatened to do so after the mainstream women’s publication declared the Kardashians “America’s First Family.” First family of reality TV? Sure. But “America’s First Family”? Nope, not MY America. I mean, have they even heard of the Obamas? But I read the issue and went about my life. Sometimes it takes too much energy to “do the right thing.” #MillennialProblems While reading the latest issue during holiday travel, however, I thought to myself “what exactly am I getting out of this magazine?” Perhaps for far too long I’ve defended my reasoning for subscribing to Cosmo: “It’s more than just sex, there are helpful career tips, too!”
And while that’s true, to an extent, it isn’t enough. In recent years, I’d noticed there weren’t many girls who looked like me and, as a result, many of the hair and beauty tips didn’t apply to me. #BlackGirlProblems It reminded me of when I was younger and subscribed to teen magazines that often didn’t reflect my melanin (side note: this is the main reason I wanted to become a journalist in the first place ... to create a teen magazine for young women of color).
But in college, it was cool to read Cosmo. You may be wondering why I didn’t read Essence then? Well, despite being a magazine for Black women, I didn’t feel as though the articles really applied to me. After all, I was 18 at the time and Essence skews a bit older, toward the more established career professional. At the time, I was more concerned with dating tips and trendy tops.
And, admittedly, there was probably some self-hate there as well. It’s the same reason I didn’t read Ebony or JET (yes, I’m aware of the irony seeing as how I ended up working there years later). I didn’t want to read a Black magazine, because I “love all races!” Yes, I realize how silly (and sad) that sounds now but again, I was young and naive.
Now I’m quickly approaching 30 and my perspective has changed. Nowadays, I crave career advice more than anything (The Muse and Levo League are among my favorite blogs) and, quite frankly, I’m tired of skipping the hair and beauty sections in mainstream magazines (try as hard as they may to be inclusive, one product for “curly hair” or “deep skin” does not diversity make).
So Essence’s February issue about #BlackGirlMagic couldn’t have come at a better time! When I saw the covers on Twitter featuring Yara Shahidi, Teyonah Parris and Johnetta Elzie, I fell in love. And when I picked up a copy from the newsstand, it felt like coming home. Finally, there were articles that pertained to ME. I thought, “this is where I belong and I'm never going back."