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The Schmooze

Will Cosmo Mag Get Un-Sexy for New Middle East Edition?

Whether they’re Arab or Jewish, women in the Middle East will soon have one more thing in common: access to Cosmopolitan magazine.

Hearst Magazines announced Wednesday that it is launching an Arab-world version of Cosmo, which will join 60 other editions selling in 100 countries. Despite headlines like one on MediaBistro.com that announced, “Cosmopolitan to Roll Out Middle East Edition in March,” the new magazine will not be the first Cosmo in the region. Israel already prints a Hebrew version, which in December featured singer Katy Perry on its cover and informed readers about what types of men are attracted to certain perfumes. (It also provided them with “3 Reasons to Be Happy You’re Bootylicious.”)

The announcement of the Arab-world edition quickly sparked speculation about how the sex-obsessed magazine might be edited to meet the region’s cultural sensibilities. “Judging by the U.S. version of the Web site, the Cosmo formula will probably need a bit of tweaking to land well in the region,” noted the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog, citing an article entitled “A Girl’s Guide to Oral Sex” as a potentially problematic topic.

At least initially, the potential for outrage will be limited: Cosmo will print its Arab-world edition in English, and will restrict its initial print run to 15,000 copies.

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