Glee star Lea Michele is experiencing more growing pains after posing for the March cover of Cosmo in a little black dress with a wide neckline that plunges to her belly button. FoxNews.com interviewed a mother who claims her 12-year-old son was “confused and offended” by Michele, who plays Glee’s good girl Rachel, posing this way next to a cover line that says she has “naughty secrets.” Cosmo publisher Hearst is using the same defense GQ did last year: “Michele is a grown woman and Cosmopolitan is a magazine for adults.”
I haven’t seen the inside shots, but assuming they’re not showing her frolicking in a high school locker room or hallway in this ensemble (which forces the connection between her and her character), I don’t have a problem with this shoot. For both the reasons Hearst offered and the fact that Cosmo is a magazine for adult women. This photo shoot feels more like Michele choosing to “sex up” her image for herself, not for men – which does make a difference to me, whether or not it should.
There are two other issues here that I find more interesting: FoxNews quotes Cult of Celebrity author Cooper Lawrence as saying, “Lea Michele may be an adult, but to pretend that she doesn’t know her fans are 11 is just ignorance…. Now she is just turning off the parents of these kids who are her future consumers.” I know Glee has a lot of young fans, but let’s not pretend they’re all tweens (or even teens). That aside, I hadn’t thought about the parents of young Glee fans becoming “offended” enough by its stars’ efforts to break out of their typecasting that they might stop footing the bill for their children’s Glee iTunes purchases. I’m not a parent: Could a magazine shoot really do that?
Secondly, this dress on Michele isn’t anywhere as drastic as the gown Olivia Wilde is wearing on the cover of Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue, but the just-have-enough-material-to-cover-the-nipples design is a theme in both. In a poll last week, women found these suspender-bodice gowns to be “annoying” 15-1. (Not surprisingly, men found them to be “sexy” 2-1.)
So, is this Cosmo shoot different from GQ’s because it’s not set in a high school? Is it okay for Glee actresses to look or talk naughty when they’re clearly promoting themselves?