Culture of sex: sexual linguistics and discourse of Cosmopolitan editions in the United States, France and India
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Cosmopolitan is one of the most popular magazines for women, both domestically and internationally; it is published in 28 languages in 45 countries. However, Cosmopolitan, especially its sexual content, is subject to change by cultures who maintain social norms and standards different from the United States. This study compared the approaches Cosmopolitan, Cosmopolitan France and Cosmopolitan India used in presenting sexual information. A total of 12 magazines were content and textual analyzed to determine whether their sexual linguistics and discourse differed. This study also examined whether Cosmopolitan and its sister magazines promoted normative behavior or pushed pre-existing social norms and values. The findings showed that all three magazines used a distinct approach to sex, but not in the way hypothesized. Cosmopolitan and Cosmopolitan India used a prescriptive discourse, one designed to educate the reader and establish a mentor-protégée relationship. Cosmopolitan India was also found to have an explicit, straightforward approach to sex to accommodate an evolving readership. Cosmopolitan France used a descriptive discourse and focused on the self-perceptions and body confidence of the reader. These findings provide insight into how Cosmopolitan and its international editions could accommodate readerships according to established or developing cultural standards.