Cosmo Woman Of The Year Award Shrouded In Controversy

Stacey Cole

Cosmo Woman of the Year, a Cosmopolitan Lifestyle magazine award, honors female achievers who have made a positive impact through their work in either show business or real life.

Various categories have been created to recognize women who have contributed to a diverse range of fields. For instance, the award is given to women who have demonstrated excellence in environmentalism, activism, business, survival, friendship and sports. Additionally, the Cosmo Woman of the Year award is also given to popular actresses, television presenters, radio presenters, fashion designers, couples, and musicians. Female celebrities who have demonstrated confidence, fun, and fearlessness are also considered for this award. According to Cosmopolitan, the 2016 finalists in the “Fun and Fearless” category include Australian radio presenters who are not only great entertainers but also influential role models for other women.

Apart from being influential in society, the women nominated for the award are expected to be modern females who appreciate the existence of cultural diversity within a community. Additionally, the nominees are required to uphold the moral values and principles that are in line with the popular magazine’s beliefs.

However, the awards have been embroiled in controversy in past years because the public not only selects the nominees, it also votes for winners in each category. In the absence of a judging panel, people have previously erred while nominating and selecting their favorite female celebrities and women achievers.

One of the most blatant examples of an erroneous decision was that of selecting Belle Gibson, the Australian health blogger, for the 2014 Cosmo Woman of the Year Award in the “Fun and Fearless Woman” section. Belle Gibson, the author of The Whole Pantry book, achieved fame by claiming to be a cancer survivor who had miraculously cured her illness by relying solely on a particular diet. The author also developed her own health program and launched a smartphone app.

However, it was later revealed that Gibson had never had cancer and that she had falsified her claims about having a troubled childhood. Despite the exposure of Belle Gibson’s lies, the editors of Cosmopolitan magazine refused to accept moral responsibility for honoring this dishonest woman with the Cosmo Woman of the Year award, saying it was the public’s responsibility because they nominated Belle Gibson for the award.

Of course, enthusiastic readers who participated in the voting process feel extremely let down because Cosmopolitan magazine has always been held in high regard, and many dignitaries, such as Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister of Australia, have held Cosmopolitan magazine in high esteem.

Recently, the controversy surrounding the Cosmo Woman of the Year award reared its ugly head again when Sonia Kruger, the Australian television presenter and a nominee of the Cosmo Woman of the Year, made a controversial statement by correlating the number of Muslims in a country to the number of terrorist attacks on that particular country.

The television presenter’s statement was followed by a huge outcry in Australia where diversity is highly welcomed and appreciated. Additionally, Julia Gillard had remarked earlier that the woman winning the Cosmopolitan award must not only be an achiever, she must also be a true representative of Australia’s diverse culture. However, Claire Askew, the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, had shrugged off the publication’s responsibility by remarking that Sonia Kruger was nominated well before she made the irresponsible comments against Muslims.

The editor did, however, state that Sonia Kruger’s comments do not reflect the values of Cosmopolitan magazine.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Claire Askew explained why Cosmopolitan is still allowing Sonia to stay in contention for the award.

“The fact is she’s one of the big TV presenters in Australia. We didn’t take her out because we thought she’s one of the big TV presenters and now it’s up to the readers to vote.”

Junkee reports that readers are now beginning to question the sanctity of the award as Cosmopolitan has previously been regarded as a symbol of hope, integrity, and equality.

[Featured Image by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]