It won’t be long before you hit the checkout line at Walmart only to find one magazine staple no longer on shelves.
The retail giant has made the decision to remove Cosmopolitan from its checkout lines at 5,000 stores across the country following pressure from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a lobby group that likened the magazine to men’s lifestyle and entertainment publication Playboy in a press release.
A Walmart spokesperson shared in a statement to FN: “As with all products in our store, we continue to evaluate our assortment and make changes. Walmart will continue to offer Cosmopolitan to customers that wish to purchase the magazine, but it will no longer be located in the checkout aisles. While this was primarily a business decision, the concerns raised were heard.”
Owned by Hearst Communications Inc., the women’s fashion and lifestyle magazine describes itself as “a bible for fun, fearless females” featuring the latest in fashion and beauty trends as well as advice on relationships and sex. Walmart’s decision to cut Cosmopolitan from its checkout lines comes amid a national outcry against sexism and gender discrimination reinforced by the growing #MeToo movement, which has emboldened women and girls to speak out about their experiences with sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse and rape.
NCOSE executive director Dawn Hawkins hailed Walmart’s move as a victory for the anti-pornography organization. “This is what real change looks like in our #MeToo culture,” she said. “Women, men and children are bombarded daily with sexually objectifying and explicit materials not only online but in the checkout line at the store … Customers should not be forced to be exposed to this content.”
“Walmart’s removal of Cosmo from checkout lines is an incremental but significant step toward creating a culture where women and girls are valued as whole persons rather than as sexual objects,” she added. “We are grateful for Walmart’s cooperation and for Walmart leadership’s recognition that corporations must do their part to change [the] #MeToo culture.”
Despite its recent decision, Walmart hasn’t remained unscathed amid the #MeToo uprising. The retailer still faces a challenge with gender diversity, as it continues to shoulder lawsuits from women who claim they were denied opportunities for a promotion and weren’t paid an equal salary to male colleagues.
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