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An Amazing Career on the Feminist Frontlines

How Jill Filipovic ended up as the Senior Political Writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.

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For the political primaries of 2014, Cosmopolitan ran a campaign called “Cosmo Votes”, encouraging women to get out to the polls and cast their vote. This operation included a breakdown of which politicians are doing the most for women, divided up by state. It created an interactive an easy to understand rundown of the policies the politicians making a run in the primaries were creating. It encouraged women to make their opinions heard instead of leaving it up to someone else to do.

“We wanted an idea that was smart and incisive, but also resonated with a Cosmo audience”, says Filipovic. As an extra incentive, Cosmo had shirtless male models singing to women across the country that, ‘your vote is your voice’. “Yes, we want to tell you about all the political issues going on in the county, but really the issue is that we want young women to feel like they have a voice and like they are entitled to have political opinions.”

An Amazing Career on the Feminist Frontlines

The Cosompolitan.com team celebrating their campaign

The campaign was a success, with thousands of women tweeting the Cosmopolitan Twitter account with pictures of themselves, proudly strutting the best accessory of the day: a navy blue “I voted” sticker. The articles spotlighting political figures received thousands of favorites and retweets, and were adorned with positive feedback. Filipovic couldn’t have been happier, even if she was spending her day covering the elections and not dancing with male models. At Cosmo, there’s always another opportunity.

Having the general public take you seriously as a professional writer can be difficult when you work for Cosmo. Many people still look upon to magazine as an outlet for cheesy celebrity stories and painfully inaccurate sex tips. And for the articles that don’t follow that suit? Why do they have to be looked at negatively?

An Amazing Career on the Feminist Frontlines“When the stuff that’s seen as frivolous is treated as ‘women’s stuff’, it’s treated with a greater level of dismissiveness and disdain, than when it’s ‘men’s stuff’,” Filipovic notes. “It’s not as if sports are changing the world for the better.” The double standard within women’s magazines is a severe one. Since they contain content such as fashion and beauty, they rest of the content of the magazine becomes invalid. “Women in bikinis for a whole spread, no one seems to think that’s mindless.” Filipovic’s point is being well received. Cosmo’s coverage of sex has become revolutionary in that, there are less articles are about ’10 Ways to Please Your Man’, and more articles geared towards having good sex for yourself and not having to please a man in sacrifice to that. “I think telling women that it’s okay to want and have sex, that’s helping the greater good.”

The cafeteria is now barren, the steel growing colder by the loss of the crowds. Large faced watches and delicate string of pearls are now settled back into their office, leaving only Filipovic and her cardboard cup, drained of all of its tea. Her road to the front lines of the feminist movement was full of grooves and tribulations, false paths and pitfalls. She doesn’t regret her choices regarding law school, and only wishes she’d been more open to risks when she could take them. That’s the message she has to anyone who is terrified of pursuing what they love, out of fear they won’t get anywhere in life. “Be less afraid. Take more risks. Jumping without a parachute is scary, but the ground is not as far away as it looks.” Outside, the rain has just stopped falling.

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Hi internet friends! I've had a passion for writing before I could walk and am so excited to be sharing that with you all. My goal is to not only entertain and bring humor into the magazine world, but to also empower women and raise awareness of the social and cultural issues we face. I'm an astronomy lover and a cheese enthusiast, as well as constantly hooked up to an IV of caffeine. Don't be a stranger!

Reader Discussion: 12 Comments

  1. Max Borghard

    What a great article and Jill is such an inspiring writer! My favorite part was getting women out to vote and how she provided all the information on the candidates to make women a more informed voter!!!! Cristiana and Jill thank you for all that you write!!!!

  2. This is a very inspirational interview and she is so amazing!

  3. Jessica Carlson

    There has always been a bad connotation on the word “feminist”. Most people think that it’s too much of a leftist terminology that has spawned radical movements. Thus, not a lot of people, even those who advocate for gender equality and women empowerment, identify themselves as “feminist”. But they actually are.

    Feminism is the very thought or act of fighting for the voice of the women who are marginalized, because of our paternalistic society, to be heard. It is the act of ensuring that women can vote, can go to school, have equal opportunity at work. It is when we ensure that the laws of the land gives both sides of the sexes an equal footing and the same treatment.

    So regardless of our sex, gender, orientation, classes, or social status, for as long as we are one those who ensure that none of our mothers, sisters, aunts, girlfriends, female teachers and just about every female in the face of the earth are maligned, abused, discriminated and marginalized, then we are feminists. As Malala Yousafzai had recently stated in an interview with her by another young feminist Emma Watson, feminism is equality. There is nothing about the term nor its meaning that says otherwise.

  4. Grace Stirling

    wow! that is one long interview 😀 .I didn’t get tired of reading her story. Her story is so inspiring and i love her because she also value equality. she’s beautiful, smart and any girl who’ll read this will surely get motivated. two thumbs up for her and i hope she’ll still inspire a lot of women.

  5. Ashley Moore

    Her experiences in life are very inspirational and i am happy that she have found what she wants in life and she’s proud of it.She’s right, take a risk and try what you are afraid of because that is also the time when you’ll realized what direction what you are interested in taking your life .One must not be afraid of being spontaneous and let it happen.You are the only one who will know what you really want your life to be and there is no reason you would not follow your heart and to not regret in not doing it. To go out, get outside and do something with other people, move, explore and see the world.

  6. Arabella Clarington

    I agree with Jill when she said that the general public would hardly (or not at all) take you as a professional writer when you work or write for Cosmo. There’s really a need to eliminate double standards on women’s magazine.

    I commend the success of “Cosmo Votes.” The society needs “more Jill.”

  7. Courtney Watson

    Her story is motivating! Indeed, she is independent, fearless and victorious woman! I really hope more women to be like her 🙂

  8. This article about Jill Filipovic is really encouraging! She is a living evidence that it is “possible” to recognize the equality and full humanity of men and women!

  9. I have this view on feminism: “Feminism isn’t about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength. — G.D. Anderson”

    Jill is a proof that women are strong and that we stand to what we believe is right!

  10. She is amazing! Her story is really motivating and uplifting my spirit 🙂

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