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The "Cosmopolitan" Ideology and the Management of Desire

Kathryn McMahon
The Journal of Sex Research
Vol. 27, No. 3, Feminist Perspectives on Sexuality. Part 2 (Aug., 1990), pp. 381-396
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3812809
Page Count: 16
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The "Cosmopolitan" Ideology and the Management of Desire
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Abstract

This paper analyzes the text of "Cosmopolitan" magazine through a reading of a selection of articles from thirty-eight issues spanning twelve years, 1976 through 1988. The study discusses how gender and class antagonisms are coded as sexual fantasy in the text of "Cosmopolitan." The text acknowledges women's sexual desires and subjectivity and subverts them by subsuming sexuality under codes for rationality and control. Mutual desire and recognition between equal partners is precluded through a structuring of relations between subjects as domination and subordination.

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