Cosmopolitan Lifestyle Publication and car manufacturer SEAT recently collaborated on a new car called SEAT Mii just for women.
Envision the latest in vehicle technology:
•Advanced background camera
•Night vision with pedestrian detection
Now completely forget about all those wonderful features. The SEAT Mii doesn’t have any of these options. Instead, it has perks like the exterior is shiny purple, it has a small steering wheel and is easy to park. The rims have a jewel-effect and there’s also handy handbag hook.
This is the kind of innovation that leads a company to call its product “courage”.
As a female that also happens to be a car lover, I have a huge beef with this. Rather than focus on innovation, Cosmo and SEAT instead rely on female stereotypes. This is blatantly sexist and offensive to all women, not to mention car lovers. Lest we forget a similar fiasco BIC faced when it launched a female pen called BIC for Her.
Cosmo makes a living on using these types of target market assumptions:
I wish I could say I expect more from Cosmopolitan, however, I don’t anymore. When I was in my twenties, I read Cosmopolitan magazine every month. I kept all the old editions so I could read them again.
Now that I’m in my thirties, my opinion of the magazine has significantly changed.
Why? Because I know now that everything I consume along the way changes and impacts me; literally or inadvertently. So whether it’s entertainment or education, I pick what I consume a lot more closely for my own good.
In the case of Cosmopolitan magazine, if you’re interested in knowing a lot about gossip, celebrities and beauty (what mainstream media says is beautiful btw), then it’s the right magazine for you. Otherwise, if you want real world advice, it will take you a concerted effort to find any useful advice. Seriously.
Books, videos and magazines have the ability to shape how we think and feel. Just like how eating junk food doesn’t make us feel particularly well compared to eating healthily.
“Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep; for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter.”
― Paxton Hood
To all my fellow car lovers and girls who wants to someday have a career (startup company, astronaut, lumber mill etc), I implore you to put this magazine down. I beg you even.
Instead try a unisex publication like Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur and FastCompany. Even better, get yourself an Audible subscription and soak up a new book each month based on what you love. I’m a huge fan of their business section!
To Cosmopolitan and SEAT, this is my car in case you want to know what a “woman's car” looks like: