so the dilemma i have found myself in all started when i went to the showing of the vagina monologues my first weekend here.  the show i saw had been the last in their series of three showings, so the organizers took the time for pictures and to thank all their sponsers after the show.  along numerous innoculous sponsers and calls to support the local center on violence against women, the girls mentioned cosmopolitan mongolia… 

cosmopolitan mongolia??? so the multi-million dollar women’s magazine teaching women 25 ‘miracle’ ways to loose their nonexistant bodyfat, to focus on pleasing men’s sexual desires (instead of their own), and to stare at over-sexualized female body images that are 23 percent thinner than the (american national) average has decided to help fund the vagina monologues in mongolia. uh huh.

furthermore, the vagina monologues were collecting money for the v-day effort, a global campaign trying to fund centers for violence against women in a move to eradicate violence… you know because oversexualized female bodies and violent sexualized advertising in media do not play a role at all in the culturally acceptance of violence towards women (note: this is largely pertinent to the west, but is spreading worldwide with globalization).

anyway, this reminded me of a facebook post from my friend jessica a few months back, where she posted stephen colbert’s hilarious rant on cosmopolitan mongolia:


so, initially I was shocked to hear that cosmopolitan helped finance the vagina monologues, and was curious to know if the mongolian version of the magazine fits my perceptions shaped by its european and american sister publications.  and after meeting and talking to some of the members of the women’s club who had put on the vagina monologues (who are, simply stated, kick-ass women), as well as club members who work for cosmopolitan mongolia, i wondered if this magazine’s role here was different than in the west. 

and then ‘fate’ came knocking.

the head of irmuun multimedia, the largest publishing and multimedia company in mongolia, called the national university foreigner’s office to say that they needed an english speaking production assistant to help with, amongst other things, cosmopolitan mongolia.  and yjin thought of me… so the next time i went in, she asked me if i would be interested in working for cosmopolitan mongolia………

well, my first instinct was of course no, but my curious half got the better of me, and i decided i wanted to do some ‘investigative journalism.’  so yesterday i went with yjin to irmuun’s office to figure out what cosmopolitan ment to mongolia.  and i left with a stack of magazines and a job offer.

they want me to be an english production assistant, working together with the heads of all their magazines and photo and movie production industries (yes, that is right, movies.) as well as do research and possibly write articles for their english political magazine.

although, i was ecstatic at first, and thought I would be able to handle everything (job and research and women’s magazine and article writing), the side of me that says I am going to turn down this offer is starting to win out.  after returning from my research in the gobi this summer, i am supposed to help the Equal Step center create a magazine for young women in support of positive body ideals.  i thought i could possibly get some expertise while working at irmuun, but after looking indepthly through mongolica (their english language political magazine) and cosmo mongolia, i am no longer so enthusiastic.

‘mongolica’ is full of international relations development advice, as well as reports on mining, which of course, i do not support.  and cosmopolitan is, as we all probably expected, a clone of the european and american publications, except in mongolian, with a few (like 2) pictures of mongolian women.  i wonder how that makes mongolian women feel, when they open a women’s magazine full of thin white women… but (luckily or unluckily, depending on who’s looking) at the steep price of 7,000 tugriks ($5 or €4 in a country where the average salary is $250 or €200 a month), most mongolian women haven’t had this pleasure yet.

so, thanks for the magazines, now i know how to get a flatter stomach, if i so choose (and in case that sentence doesn’t sound sarcastic enough: i won’t).