The cover of Cosmopolitan UK’s February issue has the internet chatting, and refreshingly it’s because they’ve taken a powerful stand.
A limited-edition version of the cover features an image of a distressed woman, who appears to be suffocating in plastic. It’s a protest on behalf of the victims of honour killings, more specifically the murder of 17-year-old British woman Shafilea Ahmed at the hands of her parents.
The main coverline reads, “Shafilea was suffocated by her parents in front of her siblings.”
In September 2003, after the teenager refused an arrange marriage, her parents killed her using a plastic bag, believing she had brought shame upon the family. Her younger brother and sister looked on. The couple — who in 2012 were found guilty of their daughter’s murder – are currently serving 25-year sentences for their crime.
Cosmo UK has a long-running campaign against the brutal practice, and have joined with women’s group Karma Nirvana to raise awareness about honour-based violence.
The partnership has produced a new report, Honour Killings in the UK, which will be used to lobby the UK government to implement laws to help prevent deaths of this nature in the future. The cover was unveiled earlier this week at an event to launch the report, which is part of the Britain’s Lost Women campaign.
Readers are encouraged to rip open the plastic and set the woman free (post continues after video).
For a magazine which usually features celebrities and models on its cover, to take such a powerful and confronting stance is inspiring. And pretty damn ground-breaking. It’s not every day that we see strong social activism come from the world of glossies, so Cosmo UK deserves to be applauded.
Last year Cosmopolitan also helped create a national day of remembrance for honour-killing victims, held on July 14, Shafilea Ahmed‘s birthday.
Honour killings are, by nature, extremely secretive, so it’s hard know the exact extent of the problem. The report also found that there is a severe lack of awareness about the issue in British schools and among the police force. These are issues Cosmo and its partners are aiming to address.
After a week of, er, questionable magazine antics (we are staring straight at you, In Touch Weekly), it’s remarkable to see a cover so genuinely positive and important.