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The sex and shopping gland

The director of a top modelling agency has accused women's magazines of being obsessed with sex. But Hilary Burden, former deputy editor of Cosmopolitan, says they have already been destroyed by the advertisers

By Hilary Burden   November 1995

When Marcelle d’Argy Smith left the editorship of Cosmopolitan suddenly this summer, the world of women’s magazines was rocked to its high heels. Her departure stimulated more column inches than that of Andrew Neil’s from the Sunday Times. Cosmo staff reacted to the news as if there had been a death in the family. The embodiment of Cosmopolitan had packed up her soul with her Dorothy Parker wit, and left.

For me, Marcelle’s departure coincided with the culmination of ten years work in women’s magazines. Newspaper journalists have rarely taken women’s magazines seriously. Yet it was once a world to…

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