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Women's Magazines: Teddy Roosevelt Was a Cosmo Girl


From The Frisky:

Women’s magazines weren’t always a medium for recycled, superficial news, nor were their readers always in the market for it. They used to be (dare I say it?) thoughtful, provoking, political … something completely different from what we pick up today. So since when did scouring the literature in the checkout line become a guilty pleasure rather than an intellectual pursuit? When did the literature turn guilty?

Believe it or not, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Good Housekeeping were all once the epitome of social activism and sophistication. Teddy Roosevelt himself used to be a Cosmo Girl, so to speak, contributing lengthy stories to its pages before they were filled with frills and celebrity fanfare.

At the time of its incarnation, Good Housekeeping was about more than putting women back in the kitchen. It advocated for pure food at the turn of the twentieth century, leading to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. It started an anti-cigarette campaign twelve years before the Surgeon General’s warning was even printed on cigarette packs, and endorsed the Ludlow Amendment in the 1930s, which required that any declaration of war—with the exception of an invasion—be ratified by a direct vote of the citizenry. Today, however, its readership is used largely by businesses as their primary target for consumer studies. While it’s not fair to stereotype all Housekeeping subscribers as apron-clad homemakers, the magazine’s history of political activism does feel far from the headlines we see on its covers today—dominated by baking and how to entertain houseguests.

Full article here.