Browder, a Cosmopolitan magazine writer for 20 years, describes what she wrote as “propaganda.”
The goal? To sell women on the idea that sexual liberation is the path to the single woman’s personal fulfillment.
I suppose it was an easy sell. Lots of short term fun. Seemingly unclear long term costs. But what is fulfillment?
“Propaganda is very sophisticated,” Browder tells The Daily Signal. “It’s half-truth, selected truth, and truth out of context.”
It is all of that. But is it all that sophisticated? There are those who delicately don’t want to see through it and those who just don’t have the intelligence. In such cases, maybe it doesn’t need to be sophisticated.
Still, half-truth, selected truth, and truth out of context go a long ways with the above types.
Taking cues from Playboy magazine, Brown turned the struggling magazine into an international empire. She gave her writers a printed list of rules to follow, which included instructions about how to make up parts of their stories to sound more convincing.
Well, yes. Find a winning formula, ruthlessly apply it, and watch the money flow in.
Unless you are a recognized authority on the subject, profound statements must be attributed to somebody appropriate, even if the writer has to invent the authority. …
By planting salacious stories about women having extravagant affairs in places such as Cleveland and Des Moines, Browder says, “the magazine spread its mores throughout the country and throughout the culture by pretending that they were much more widespread than they actually were.”
Apparently “Sex and the City” started in New York and spread outward via lies. Deception can work very well. People should be more careful, but they aren’t.
“When you start betraying the truth, it will come back to haunt you,” she says. “It will get you in the end. And that’s why even though I knew we were making up stories, I still got sucked in and thought abortion would be OK.”
“I don’t want to take more credit than I deserve for all this evil, but I think that I—I was certainly part of the evil empire, if you will,” she tells The Daily Signal. “And what I would like … for young women today [is] to tell them the truth so they could see how my generation got it wrong, why we got it wrong, and how they can do better. How, how your generation can do better.”
You know, some people don’t even consider that they are being sold a bill of goods. Especially young people. I wonder why.
“Why was Cosmo so successful? Because it attracted advertisers. Why did it attract advertisers? Because it worked. When a young woman, an insecure young woman, reads these magazines and thinks that she has to have perfume, cosmetics, hair products, beautiful clothes, singles travel … abortions, contraception, when she thinks she has to have all of these things, she’s going to spend a lot of money.”
Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. Perhaps the people involved had some type of agenda they maybe believed in. But it would seemed to have been subsumed by making money. OF course, making money is perfectly fine in most cases, but is it fine when doing so creates such misery?
They’re telling you on the one hand, ‘Be yourself;’ on the other hand, they’re saying, ‘You’re not good enough the way you are, buy all this stuff to be beautiful.’ Why aren’t you beautiful just the way you are?
‘Here’s the perfume. Oh yeah, you stink too. Oh, by the way, your hands don’t look very nice either. And your hair color is wrong. Oh, and when you’re tired of hearing about that, have some ice cream and a little booze to go with it, because then you’ll be too fat and then we’ll have to put you on a diet.’
Well, I suppose that there is money to be made. An honest buck would be better. Still, even if these people were called out, would that have stopped women from buying into what they were selling?
Exit question: How does one convince a woman to not believe something that she wants to believe?