Cosmo Queer!

The first thing that interested me about the zine “Cosmo Queer” is that it is a very clever commentary on Cosmopolitan and other mainstream magazines. The zine features an advice column, a quiz, an “advertisement,” and a featured cover story. However, each of these elements is meant as a parody of similar elements in Cosmo. For instance, the advertisement is meant to mock GAP ads by featuring two white men with the logo “GAY” instead of “GAP.” The print of the ad says “Can you afford to be normal? Heteronormativity. Fall into the trap.” This sort of parody is equally apparent in the other parts of the zine. What is also important about the zine is that it not only mocks Cosmo, but it also conveys information and expertise that allow queer folks to resist assimilation into the homonormative gay mainstream. For example, the “what kind of gay are you” quiz guides those who embrace a mainstream pro-gay rights approach toward more radical ends. To solidify its approach, “Cosmo Queer” even presents readers with “The New Queer Agenda” that directly states the goals for which the queer liberation movement should work. Ultimately “Cosmo Queer” highlights both the parodic effect of some zines and their political motivation.


One thought on “Cosmo Queer!

  1. Michelle -I loved this zine! In addition to the goal setting and clear social commentary, this zine co-ops and discredits the use of rhetoric used to demonize and disenfranchise the queer community. For example, in the quiz portion of the zine, one of the questions involves health care and gives the reader several options for the treatment of an ill person
    a) Tough Luck (a common narrative these days)
    b) If one is in a domestic partnership (calling attention to both the patriarchal idea that one person should be at the mercy of another and that governmental recognized relationship is necessary for fair treatment)
    c) Yes it is a human right (clearly the choice the zine wants the reader to make)
    Through questions like this, mainstream arguments shed their facades of being appropriate and are exposed in a way that empowers the reader and yet challenges said reader to alter beliefs if he/she doesn’t agree with what the zine is suggesting. Cosmo Queer navigates the boundary between the line of argumentation that queer folks are “just like” straight folks, while simultaneously rejecting this idea all together, in several portions of the zine, creating a thoughtful contradiction. My favorite part of the zine was the reappropriation of the White 1950s woman who is smiling on one of the pages; her face partially hidden by the words pervert and deviant, which use the appropriation of a cultural icon of purity and normativity and recast the symbolic value of the pure, heteronormativly assumed straight, white woman as the image that is unjustly used to abuse the queer community. Images like this confront bigotry and also remind the reader of the power at play behind discrimination. Lastly, I thought that the layout of the zine created a nice balance of text that was partially covered, but intriguing to read and politically poignant imagery (Note the play on the White Wedding Cake being redone with two grooms a penis and a banana)

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