• Wed, Jan 4 2012

Dakota Fanning On The Cover Of Cosmo: How Do You Feel?

I take back everything I said about the vague creepiness of Dakota Fanning’s Elle UK cover. The February cover of Cosmopolitan marks the official next phase in young Dakota’s efforts to assert her burgeoning, grown-up child star sexiness. If Phase One involved being a little girl in women’s clothing, Phase Two involves being a developing adolescent in women’s clothing. Sorry pedophiles, it’s the ephebophiles’ turn.

I would argue that this particular image’s creepiness comes not from Dakota’s slinky little dress, which is not so different from something she might wear on the red carpet, but everything else: the sassy pose, the sex-oriented cover stories, and the over-use of Photoshop, such that it looks like her head has been enlarged just a tad and pasted back onto her body.

It also represents a departure from “high fashion” to a more quotidian women’s mag, which begs the question: are we more willing to accept sexualization of children when it’s presented in an artsy, “couture” context than, say, a “magazine full of sex tips for women waiting to get their pap smears” context? Is that even a question?

Some of you might think I’m being a prude, and if you do, you can tell me in the poll. But before you vote, I want you to take a second to consider how you’d feel if your 17-year-old daughter appeared in a slinky little dress on the cover of a magazine with headlines like “His Best Sex Ever” and “Too Naughty To Say Here! But You Have To Try This Sex Trick”? I imagine it’s something akin to how I’d feel if my nice, R-rated nudes appeared on an X-rated site alongside some tawdry caption like “Barely legal sluts who like it up the poop chute!” It’s all about context, people.

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

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  • Nicole

    Hi everyone my name is Nicole Weider- Cosmo is aggressively and actively marketing pornographic material and tips to underage teens, which is a crime. They encourage girls to try anal sex, lesbian sex, three-somes, watch porn (with specific sites listed in a past issue!.) Join me in my Anti Cosmo mission to get this porn magazine sold to only adults. The FTC secretary Donald Clark has taken on this case, and demanded a letter back from Hearst on their business practice. They have the right to print extreme graphic and explicit tips, but not to minors. Let’s take Cosmo down together, I need your signature!!

    http://www.projectinspired.com/tell-me-that-selena-gomez-wont-be-on-the-cover-of-cosmo-feb-2012/

  • oh whatever

    I read this magazine in high school yet never tried anal sex or lesbian threesomes…it’s fun to pretend to be grown up when you’re 16…who cares?? What 17 year old DOESN’T read Cosmo?? I feel like you stop once you’re over 18, I don’t know anyone who reads it anymore…we all stopped like 3 years ago once we moved away to college and realized that growing up actually doesn’t involve the perfect bj and sticking your fingers up guys’ butts (sry it’s graphic but cosmo actually always tells you to try it…HAHA) I think that Dakota is too young because she’s officially under 18 …by like a month…but cooomeeee on Nicole relax. If parents and educators take the proper steps to educate 12 and 13 year old girls about sex like they do in the fabulous state of CA, girls will know that everything Cosmo spews is to be taken with more than a few grains of salt. and if said young girls are dumb enough to try Cosmo’s advice, it’s sexual/common sense survival of the fittest, they’re clearly idiots anyway. No one with an ounce of brains blindly follows what magazines say

    • Nancy

      Totally agree. I think they probably shouldn’t be putting underage girls on their covers if they want to claim to be aimed to the 18-30 crowd. I read some Cosmo when I was underage, too, but I WASN”T ALLOWED TO BUY IT. Not yelling those words, just wanted to reinforce your point about parents educating their kids. We had to sneak into my friend’s older sister’s room and look at hers! But my parents both had sex talks with me at different ages. They gave me a book on the basics when I was like, four years old.
      Also, Cosmo isn’t porn.

  • Christal

    So Dakota is 17, nearly 18. I don’t find this one creepy at all. She wears a dress that covers her up and does a completely normal pose for a magazine cover. I don’t see any problems. Even her make-up can be described as natural. Cosmo is known for writing articles about sex but did you ever look through pretty much any magazine that is not high fashion? I do not think that these things are harmful for even younger persons. Where I live there is a very popular magazine for young teens and it is so much about sexuality. It was never my style but many people read it. And they are all normal young adults now.

  • Fabel

    I think it’s fine– I mean, how old are Cosmo’s readers anyway? I would guess most are teenagers. And the last time I flipped through one, I remember a lot of the ages of women in the “Confessions” section were 18 or nineteen (which means the readership age might skew even younger)