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28.8.11

"Cosmopolitan" in Armenia: How to Sell Sex and Beauty and Not Die in the Attempt

Vartan Matiossian
 
If Armenian bankers have their own connection to the world through "Forbes Armenia," why young women would not have one of their own? In March, the popular magazine “Cosmopolitan” launched "Cosmopolitan Armenia," which according to a recent report of RFE/RL appears to have become the best-selling glossy publication in Armenia less than seven months after its launch. The international magazine is currently printed in 36 languages and distributed in more than 100 countries.
It sounds quite strange that a conservative society like Armenia would receive with good tides quite a "daring" (for local standards) publication like "Cosmopolitan," but the fact is they claim to print about 5,000 copies per issue and sell them! This is more than any other Armenian magazine, and higher than the print runs of most of the daily newspapers.
The magazine, as expected, carries articles similar to its U.S. sister publication, but indeed it seems to have some contents especially developed in Armenia.
“Sex was a very scary topic for us because starting to speak about it in Armenia as openly as ‘Cosmo’ does elsewhere in the world was not an easy thing,” Hrachuhi Utmazian, the magazine’s young editor-in-chief, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.
Indeed, the headline "Orgasm Together: Coveted Secrets" on tthe American edition of "Cosmopolitan" would not scandalize anyone in New York, but it would not be the same to read «Օրգազմ միասին. ցանկալի գաղտնիքներ» as cover title of the first issue of "Cosmopolitan Armenia," near the ubiquitous picture of Kim Kardashian telling us, most predictably, that «Իմ աչքերն են հայկական...» ("My eyes are Armenian...").
By the way, that is the same cover picture of the Armenian-American reality star that appeared in the March issue of the Turkish "Cosmopolitan." It triggered a widely-publicized backlash from the Armenian National Committee of America, which was actually dead letter in the same afternoon (and this was not publicized enough, of course), when the reportedly "upset" newly-wed socialite signed with "Cosmo" to continue providing her coveted photos. 
“Sex is a must-have headline at ‘Cosmopolitan Armenia,’” explained Utmazian. “It must be in the upper left corner of the magazine cover, it is considered the most important headline. The front page must also have a headline on beauty.”
Some other cover headlines for March:
-- «Ամենից սեքսուալ շուրթերը կարող են քոնը լինել» ("The most sexy lips may be yours"); so, we learn that «սեքսուալ» does not  mean "sexual," but "sexy."
-- «Cosmo-ն քո party-ներին մասնակից» ("Cosmo Participates in Your Parties"); it seems they have not been able to come up with a word for "party" in Armenia (they have not found one for "sexy" either).
-- «Դարձիր նրա համար հաճելի զրուցակից» ("Turn Into a Good Talker for Him"); we guess it's "him," right?
-- «"Նրա կինը գողացաւ իմ սէրը...". իրական պատմութիւն» ("'His Wife Stole My Love...': Real Story"); does this mean what we think it means?
-- «Մարտի 8. մեր օրը վայելելու չորս տարբերակ» ("March 8: Four Ways to Enjoy Our Day"); this is related to Women's International Day, one of the two celebrations for women in Armenia.
And here are a few ones for May, with a sensual picture of Cameron Diaz on cover defiantly telling Armenian women (go and tell that to those who are victim of domestic violence): «Ես ապրում եմ, ինչպէս ինքս եմ ցանկանում» ("I Live As I Want"):
-- «Սէր & Sex. այն շատ կը մտերմացնի ձեզ» ("Love and Sex: It Will Make You Much Closer"); the fact that the word "sex" does not have an equivalent in this sense in Armenian means something, doesn't it?
-- «Քո սիրոյ գաղտնի զէնքը» ("Your Secret Love Weapon")
-- «Չորս քայլ, եւ դու աւելի գեղեցիկ ու հմայիչ ես» ("Four Steps, and You're More Beautiful and Attractive")
-- «Առաջին Cosmo girl-ի գաղտնիքները» ("Secrets of the First Cosmo Girl")
-- «50 լաւագոյն սիրային խորհուրդները» ("50 Best Love Advices")
In July, with Shakira on the cover, the headline is... «Գտիր քո G կէտը. խենթացնող հաճոյքն ապահովուած է» ("Find Your G-Point: The Maddening Pleasure Is Sure"), because «Այս բիկինիներով դու կը փայլես» ("You Will Shine With These Bikinis"), since women have to learn «Ինչպէս լրջացնել յարաբերութիւնները» ("How to Make Relations More Serious").
“I would not go as far as to claim that ‘Cosmo’ is changing the whole society,” said Shushan Harutiunian, editor of the magazine’s online version. “But the fact there is some change is obvious, at least among people who have joined our virtual community.” According to her, the magazine’s readers --predictably-- are mostly women aged between 18 and 35.

(Special for "Armeniaca")




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