Condemn Lighthearted Coverage of Domestic Violence


Target: Joanna Coles, Cosmopolitan Editor-In-Chief, and Dara Adeeyo, Cosmo writer

Goal: Condemn Cosmopolitan magazine for making light of domestic abuse.

In a recent article that ironically begins with the sentence, “Domestic abuse is no joke,” Cosmopolitan made light of domestic abuse, using text lingo and ‘hilarious’ asides throughout. Condemn Cosmo for this atrocious and tasteless coverage of a very serious issue, and demand Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles retract the article. Cosmopolitan, as one of the nation’s most successful magazines, owes its predominantly female readership much more than this.

The controversy surrounding the iconic women’s-oriented magazine concerns an article it recently ran by Dara Adeeyo, which discusses two recent instances where men used pizza as a weapon against women. Contrary to the puerile and text lingo-peppered language of Adeeyo’s article, one of the two cases is particularly extreme. As Adeeyo herself summarizes, “a South Carolina man grabbed his girlfriend by the neck, slammed her into a kitchen counter, and pummeled her with pizza.” The man in question, 47 year old Jimmy Ray Poage, “was charged with domestic violence and jailed.”

Adeeyo makes the point that “[she is] angry that these men exhibited physical violence towards [women],” but immediately segues into a diatribe against their “[wasting] of precious pizza slices.” Whether Adeeyo’s efforts were designed to elicit laughter or not, her parting lines are unconscionably ignorant and demean the experiences of the abused: “I can’t imagine the horror these women must have felt as they had such a delicacy thrown at them. If I were in that situation, I’d not only be scared, I’d be sad that my man was [expletive] wasting food.

“Sigh. Now I want some pizza.”

Sign this petition condemning Cosmo’s decision to publish this tasteless and ill conceived article that, intentionally or not, dismisses the severity of domestic violence crimes. Urge Editor-in-Chief Coles to retract the article and use the remarkable platform of her magazine to promote a more serious discourse on a critically important issue.


Dear Joanna Coles,

Your decision to run an article by Dara Adeeyo making light of domestic violence is reprehensible. Whether it was Adeeyo’s intention or not, decrying “the wasting of food” in a few, recent domestic violence cases dishonors the victims of these crimes, and turns attention away from the critical issues at hand: the prevalence of domestic violence in contemporary American society, and the dwindling resources available to women, in particular, to escape cycles of violence.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that, of the 3.5 million crimes against family members reported between 1998 and 2002, almost half were crimes against spouses. Furthermore, the “majority (73%) of [all] family violence victims were female,” and women “were 84% of spouse abuse victims and 86% of victims of abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend.” Although family murder instances are very rare, women comprised 58% of all family murder victims.

Women have fewer and fewer resources to escape violence in the home. Given two years of steep budget cuts to social programs under the auspices of nationwide sequestration, women’s shelters and relief centers provide fewer and fewer services to women and children. Publishing an article that tastelessly makes light of such issues does a disservice not only to your predominantly female readership, but to the many women among them that may have suffered from violence in their homes. No one’s laughing at your article, Ms. Coles.

We the undersigned condemn your magazine’s thoughtless callousness, and we urge you to retract the article. You have an incredible capacity to use your platform to promote smarter discourse on this subject, and we insist you do so.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: thebrandery, via Wikimedia.

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  1. J Davidson says:

    If the authors and publishers of this article were the victims, it would be a very different story.

  2. When people make a joke around a serious subject like disability we laugh…unless we are disabled. When the joke s about someones religion…we laugh unless we happen to be of that particular religion. When the laugh is centered around domestic abuse….we laugh unless we have had black eyed, broken bones, a broken heart. You see people will always laugh about things that for whatever reason they find funny. Domestic violence is no joking matter…but then neither is anything else of serious or hurtful consequence. The person who wrote the article meant no badness I feel,naive yes but not offensive in deliberation. Next time you hear a joke about Jews….etc., and you laugh …. Just remember…. be not too hard…for life is short…. And most people are not malicious but maybe just a little ignorant.

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