The March cover of Cosmo features Glee's resident "good girl" Lea Michele in a top that's cut nearly to her belly button. Cue the parental hand-wringing!
Lea's followed up her controversial GQ photo shoot with another racy magazine cover, and moms are pissed! Or at least, the moms who Fox News interviewed are pissed. New Yorker Kim Trefcer says:
I think Lea Michele is sending the wrong message. She plays such a ‘good girl' on ‘Glee' and a lot of kids look up to her persona. Then she poses very provocatively on two magazine covers which makes my almost-13-year-old son very confused and offended ... I find it frustrating as a parent who is trying to teach right from wrong to their kids and then you have things like this happen which is showing middle schoolers things like sex sells and all that goes along with that.
Yes, "I'm offended" is certainly the first thing that will pop into every 13-year-old boy after seeing this month's Cosmo. And it gets worse: The Huffington Post reports that in the magazine, Lea says her idea of a perfect night is, "Take a shower, put on a robe, pour myself a glass of wine and Skype with [boyfriend] Theo. That's the best." What a little strumpet!
Fox News responds:
Of course, Lea Michele is 24-year old adult woman, allowed wine, Skyping, and whatever sartorial choice she wants, from flashing her skimpy panties to revealing her cleavage on the cover of a magazine.
But that doesn't mean parents have to like it.
What's not to like? It doesn't get much more tame than having a single glass of wine while your boyfriend isn't there to manhandle you, and elsewhere in the article Lea says she's proud that she never did drugs. Not that young Glee fans would even know that. Presumably the moms who are worried about their middle schoolers learning that sex sells aren't leaving the latest issue of Cosmo lying around. Most of what Lea says in interviews is unbelievably PG when compared to other stars her age, so basically the issue at hand is just what she chooses to wear.
Like most actresses who star in shows popular with the kiddies, Lea has to toe the line between being a alluring-yet-virginal high schooler and an adult woman in control of her sexuality. Of course, what sets the stars of Glee apart from the Miley Cyrus types is that they actually are adults. Someday Glee will wear out its welcome, and after another two seasons and possibly an ill-advised "college years" special, the show will be canceled. It's a smart career move for Lea remind everyone from time to time that she's not the innocent and uptight character she plays on TV. Sure, it's unfortunate if she feels she has to sex up her image. Unlike many starlets whose career is based mainly on sex appeal, Lea has an incredible talent and managed to rise to fame while wearing Rachel Berry jumpers and wooly knee socks. But considering that she starred in Spring Awakening on Broadway, it seems she is comfortable with her work having a sexual element. It's just the Glee fans who think she should be her character on and off screen.
Cult of Celebrity author Cooper Lawrence tells Fox News that Lea should be concerned about turning off Glee parents at this point in her career, saying:
You can be sexy without looking ridiculous, and she just looks ridiculous. It's not genuine. Lea Michele may be an adult, but to pretend that she doesn't know her fans are 11 is just ignorance. Why take the risk that even one teenager will get the wrong message of from her idol? Now she is just turning off the parents of these kids who are her future consumers.
It's unlikely that seeing Lea's sternum is going to warp young Gleeks minds, particularly because the show actually isn't as squeaky clean as its made out to be. Many of the kids on the show are sexually active and parents should probably be more upset about their 11-year-old asking what Santana meant when she used the term "scissoring." There's definitely a "trying too hard" element to the new issue, since Lea's outfit is a bit more revealing than the average Cosmo cover. However, unlike the GQ photos, it isn't playing on school girl imagery and Lea isn't being groped by her co-stars.
Plus, as Hearst pointed out in this statement:
We're thrilled to feature Lea Michele on the March cover of Cosmopolitan magazine and think she looks stunning. Michele is a grown woman and Cosmopolitan is a magazine is for adults.
The magazine is aimed at grown women, who are actually a large part of Lea's fan base too. Glee does have many young viewers, but it's one of those rare shows that appeals to both kids and their grandmothers.
Yes, some children will probably see the cover while walking past a newsstand, but it's doubtful that this issue alone will lead to the crushing realization that sex sells. The GQ cover was tasteless and the Cosmo cover may appear a bit desperate, but it isn't as if Lea's doing Playboy. Ten years ago, parents were losing it because Britney Spears delivered sexed-up performances, seemingly with no regard for the little girls who idolized her. Britney summed it up well (and ridiculously) with her song "Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman." In American pop culture, this dichotomy is nothing new, Lea Michele is just our current scapegoat.
'Glee' Star Lea Michele's Sexy Switch Has Moms Mad [Fox News]
Lea Michele In Cosmo: 'Glee' Star Shows Skin (PHOTO) [HuffPo]