Cosmopolitan is the most successful women’s magazine1 because every cover is virtually identical.
Far from being a poor advertising choice, I’m convinced that these repetitive covers are the genius behind the publication’s marketing strategy. The editors at Cosmo know exactly what they are doing. Supply and demand, baby! Month after month, year after year, we have the same old questions. Millions of women flock to Cosmo because it acknowledges our universal hunger for loving and passionate relationships and announces that it contains all the answers that we seek.
Cosmopolitan attempts to tackle some of the most intimate questions in our lives. Take a look at any issue’s cover; I’ll bet the word “sex” is in a font that’s larger than the font of all other visible writing (except perhaps for the title of the magazine). Some of the most personal and difficult questions we have about sex involve questions about family planning. Cosmopolitan tries to answer these questions in both their articles and in their advertisements.
We have questions about family planning because family planning matters. We yearn for healthier bodies and desire successful relationships, and it is important that we do so. Thus, it is often with a great amount of care (and hopefully an equally great amount of research) that we choose what family planning method we will use. When making this decision, our minds are full of questions. Which pill has the least carcinogens? Which device leaves the smallest environmental footprint? Which insert causes the lowest risk of future infertility? Which procedure can I afford? Which method has the least destructive impact on my libido? We continue to ask these questions and hope to find the answers.
But doesn’t the fact that we continue to have the same questions mean that we aren’t hearing satisfactory answers?
Maybe we don’t need new answers. Maybe we need to reframe our questions. After all, the questions we have been asking are pretty lacking. Let’s be honest. It’s pretty discouraging when you think your only option is to settle for the “least harmful” choice. Can you imagine a world where we transform the questions we have been asking into the questions we have been wishing we could ask?
In this world, we could ask if there was a method that doesn’t use any chemicals or drugs. We could search for a method that doesn’t leave an environmental footprint whatsoever. We could find out if there is a method that actually fights infertility rather than causes it. We could ask whether there is a method that preserves, and even increases, our libidos.
Good news: that world is here. I know this because I already live in it. I have asked these questions and I have found the answers. My husband and I plan our family without chemicals or drugs. I have zero side effects, and the method we use is 99% effective. Our choices don’t leave an environmental footprint, and I know that I am taking care of my fertility. (Mama and Daddy raised me to be a lady, so I’m going to leave the answer to the last question to your imaginations…) I use Natural Family Planning, and you might be interested in learning more about it!
To get started with your research, check out these wonderful resources:
Fertility Care (Creighton)
Pope Paul VI Institute (NaPro Technology)
Couple to Couple League
Billings Ovulation Model
Teen Star International
First published by The Guiding Star Project: http://theguidingstarproject.com/stop-settling-ask-the-questions-you-didnt-think-you-could-ask/