Dakota Fanning's Racy 'Cosmopolitan' Cover: This Controversy Is Ridiculous

Fri, January 6, 2012 2:03pm EDT by 23 Comments
Dakota Fanning Cosmopolitan

Media critics should stop insulting women’s intelligence by saying Dakota’s too young to be on the cover of ‘Cosmopolitan’ magazine!

Puhleeze! Can the prudes who are in a tizzy over almost 18-year-old Dakota Fanning appearing on the February cover of American Cosmopolitan please get their knickers out of a knot?

Cosmopolitan is, by far, the largest women’s magazine in the entire world — its paid U.S. circulation is 3.032 million. I can assure you that millions of 17-year-old women read it without incident. I know this as both the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and as a mother of a 21-year-old daughter.

Dakota, with her stellar acting career and great attitude, definitely qualifies as the magazine’s “Fun, Fearless Female of the Year”!

But out-of-touch critics are attacking the magazine for putting Dakota on the cover because she doesn’t turn 18 until Feb. 23rd. Their beef is that while they admit Dakota is actually in a very demure evening gown on the cover, she is surrounded by Cosmo‘s typically sexy cover lines.

“Cosmopolitan is going overboard by putting an underage girl on its cover surrounded by such article titles,” so-called media expert Rachelle Friberg groused to FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “It is one thing to educate young women about sex and their bodies, but putting a young, underage girl on the cover of a magazine that had long been known to push the limits is sending the wrong message.”

Yes, the headline to the left of her face, says “His Best Sex Ever — Guys Describe the Mind-Blowing Moves They Can’t Stop Thinking About,” and another cover line says, “Too Naughty To Say Here! But You Have To Try This Sex Trick.”

OK, they are sexy. SO WHAT?

Have you tuned in to pop culture that 17-year-old girls have been exposed to since the 1960s? Have you seen Jersey Shore, Gossip Girl, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Pretty Little Liars and 90210  on prime time lately? Seventeen year-old girls have, and all these shows cover sex pretty explicitly and no one is freaking out about it.

Let’s talk about Dakota’s career itself. She starred in the terrific 2010 independent film, The Runaways, about the early career of  rocker Joan Jett. Dakota played the very sexually precocious member of Joan’s band,  the underage  Cherie Currie, who performed on stage in corsets and garters and had sex on screen with lesbian, Joan Jett, played by Kristen Stewart.

She also played the intensely evil vampire Jane, in the Twilight series films.

In other words, she’s been playing “very adult” roles for years. I doubt that her “morals” are being corrupted by appearing next to a few racy cover lines in an evening gown that is a whole lot less racy than anything worn by 16 year-old Kendall Jenner recently or by many teen girls going to proms.

Furthermore, Dakota is a freshman student at New York University. She’s hearing about far more explicit sex talk from her friends and classmates, I bet, than what she’s reading in Cosmo.

Neither we can equate Dakota’s cover to other “controversial” magazine or advertising photos which have featured young teens.

When Miley Cyrus appeared basically topless at the age of 15, on the cover of Vanity Fair, that was inappropriate. When Brooke Shields appeared as a sexy model saying nothing came between her and her Calvins , when she was just 14, THAT was appropriately controversial.

But Dakota is a mature young woman. And critics are insulting her intelligence and maturity by questioning her decsion to appear on Cosmo’s cover.

Can I just ask also: would there be an uproar if she appeared on competitor, Glamour magazine’s cover? I bet not, even though its January cover featured “The 2012 Sex Life Quiz,” and its February issue is called “The Guys & Sex Issue!”

It makes me feel like this isn’t just an attack on Dakota, but a veiled attack on the frank coverage of women’s sexuality in general which Cosmo’s original editor-in-chief Helen Gurly pioneered over forty years ago.

It’s ridiculous! So media critics — find something else to fixate on and back off Cosmo!

– Bonnie Fuller


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Posted at 9:58 AM on July 9, 2012  

first of all How is this cover pic racy?? She is more covered up than half the people you see on this so i dont know what you all are complaining about. The only reason you people are getting so offended by this is because you are jealous of the people in/on this magazine, get over yourself already and go get a sex life.

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Posted at 4:09 PM on January 9, 2012  

Whew! Photoshopped to death!

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Posted at 5:52 AM on January 9, 2012  

Nothing there. where’s the lingerie? bikini?

Nope. Prude america.

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Posted at 3:56 PM on January 8, 2012  

If you want to read a magazine like Cosmo, I say go for it – totally your decision. What I am NOT okay with is bringing my kids to the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk and having Cosmo right smack dab in their face. Our local Lucky has Cosmo front and center at the checkout, right at my 8 year old girl’s eye level. Just last month, my daughter learned about ‘100 Best Sex Tips of the Year’ and ‘The Fierce Sex Every Couple Must Try’ and ‘When He Shouldnt See You Naked’ and ‘Sh*t My Guy Says’. She has to try very hard NOT to look, as she reads and understands that the cover alone expresses many sensitive topics that are developmentally inapproriate and can be damaging to a child her age. At least we have the choice to turn off the t.v. at home… I guess we have the choice of where to shop too, but I have no doubt that Cosmo will be censored at the grocery stores very soon. No self respecting parent with young children would ever justify this garbage being shown to their kids.

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Posted at 12:35 AM on January 11, 2012  

I agree. Cosmo is a magazine for sluts and it disgusts me when I shop at Ralphs and discover that “pornography is good” and “sex before marriage is good” from the front cover of Cosmo.

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Posted at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2012  

I agree with you. I am a teenager and I can tell you that they should keep the sexy stuff off of the cover. I think that Cosmo is a hugely successful magazine partly because of the sex tips, but clearly something is wrong when borderline pornographic material (and I am not talking about Dakota Fanning- I have no problem with her being on the cover. she is very talented and looks beautiful) is being exposed to children grocery shopping with their parents. They should put a sheet over the cover so that people who want to see the magazine can, but the cover material is not damaging children’s minds.

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Posted at 3:41 PM on January 7, 2012  

I think Dakota looks stunning! Clearly she is covered in areas that should not be revealed at her age so what’s the big deal? She is an amazing talented girl who has a great future ahead. There are plenty of girls her age who I’m sure read the magazine. I mean hello they are TEENS!! Like I said, Dakota looks stunning on the cover of cosmo. :)

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Posted at 9:02 AM on January 7, 2012  

I “fell in love” with this young woman when she was just a little girl in the movies…and I’ve watched her mature, on screen, over the years. She is younger than my youngest child, and in a way I have a maternal pride for Dakota’s success. She has accomplished so much more than many kids her age and she is now receiving a higher education.

So for those of you who are criticizing her career, why don’t you write about how many wonderful things you’ve accomplished in your life and let’s see what the world has to say about that!

As for this cover, are you CRAZY??? She looks absolutely stunning, and it is appropriate! I’ve seen Prom dresses that were more risque. How about a less negativity and a little more optimism, people…This beautiful young woman deserves her Cover on Cosmo…At least she is not on the cover of Playboy!!!

Dakota, you are beautiful and I am so excited for you! Do well in school, and maintain your dignity!

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Posted at 11:51 PM on January 6, 2012  

The sad thing is that Dakota’s career is actually winding down. The last 3 films she made were all indie flics…with budgets of $10M or less.

She’s getting no big roles in any movie with any kind of budget.

For you haters consider this: Even she said that she’s feels like it (her career) could end at any moment.

She was a great child actress, but it’s not translating into an adult movie career. She’s up against too much talent and to be honest…they’re all way better looking.

She’s not ugly, don’t get me wrong, but that Cosmo shot was WAY photoshopped.

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Posted at 11:53 PM on January 6, 2012  

And no, Twilight was a cameo role.

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Posted at 11:39 PM on January 6, 2012  

she is beautiful and i think its appropriate enough.

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Posted at 12:12 AM on January 7, 2012  

Dakota is doing what all girls in “the biz” do who have sinking careers…sex it up.

It won’t be long before she’ll be doing anything, and I mean anything, to keep it going.

Everyone talks about how “grounded” she is. Well, I suppose that’s true…if you’re a 17 yr old with a net worth of $16M.

While that may seem like a lot of money, and it is, it’s peanuts compared to her age-related colleagues who make, in a single year, around $25+M per year.

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Posted at 10:46 PM on January 6, 2012  

I find her to be a very beautiful & talented young lady. You don’t see her face plastered from being arrested or getting caught doing something she’s not suppose to like Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan. So in reality, what’s there to b**** about? Rather see her on Seventeen than Playboy!

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Posted at 9:50 PM on January 6, 2012  

Dear Bonnie:
“OK, they are sexy. SO WHAT?” you’re such an hypocrite fake beatch!!! “This Controversy Is Ridiculous” it’s this the same “person” who slammed every move Miley Cyrus done? Everyone though THIS CONTROVERSY IS RIDICULOUS when your website tried SO many times over and over again to say something nasty about Miley and tear her down…she was a teen Bonnie!!! A teenager!!! And you guys were horrible to her expecting to she act like an adult when she was 15 years old! C’mon!!! It was all that s*it neccessary? Really?! You are mean, pathetic and a horrible person to do that – Please stop it. Why do you guys want a next Lindsay??? You can get an amazing artist of Miley but you’re just looking for the next Britney trainwreck and she isn’t like that, sorry but we, the fans, will never let that happen. By a dissapointment ex-hollywoodlifer

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Posted at 7:55 PM on January 6, 2012  

She turns 18 years old next month just in time for this issue to come out. I don’t find it “inappropriate”.

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Posted at 5:00 PM on January 6, 2012  

Dakots Fanning is very mature for her age. Get over it, Bonnie. Seventeen year olds do read the mag, as you said, so why not put a seventeen year old on the cover. Just because her face is on it doesn’t mean that she does, agrees with, or condones anything the mag says.

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Posted at 1:36 PM on January 8, 2012  

Super did you actually read the article? Bonnie is not the one who has issues with Dakota being on the cover. Rather, she is making the same point that you just did against the people (NOT Bonnie) who do have issues with Dakota being on the cover.

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Posted at 4:36 PM on January 6, 2012  

When are they going to realise that some people mature quicker than others. It should be based on the fact that Dakota is mature enough to do this magazine cover and she is not being exploited in anyway. Do people really think there is a single thing on the front of the magazine which she will only learn between now and her birthday I don’t think so!!! It’s only a month for goodness sake…It’s not like she is under 16….The age of sexual consent in some states is 16 for crying out loud.

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Posted at 4:03 PM on January 6, 2012  

Remember Traci Lords in the 1980’s, she was only 16 years old when she became a porn star, before she was bust by the feds for child porn. Traci Lords only did one film which is filmed two days after her 18th birthday. So the feds were forced all video stores to remove all of Traci’s videos due to the violation of child porn laws.

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Posted at 3:27 PM on January 6, 2012  

If this were Miley Cyrus at the same age your blog would have said something slutty about her. I do think that Dakota is a little young to be on the cover of this mag. aren’t we supposed to protect children from being sexualized and away from porn until the age of 18

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Posted at 6:50 PM on January 6, 2012  


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Posted at 3:02 PM on January 6, 2012  

Anyone know that the Cosmopolitan magazine is targeted for 18+ audiences? I’ve never seen any teen girls under 18 featured on Cosmopolitan.

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daniel shelby

Posted at 2:49 PM on January 6, 2012  

I think that the cover is perfectly tasteful. I cant see why she shouldnt be there. People need to realise its not the 50s anymore. Id say 75% of 17yr olds have experianced sex of some form. l know l did at that age. Dakota is far more mature than her years, give her some credit.

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