Two of the ladies from “Glee” have caused an uproar with their racy photo shoot for men’s magazine GQ. Dianna Agron and Lea Michele posed with castmate Cory Monteith for the mag’s November issue, wearing not very much, while Monteith remains mostly clothed. Critics have blasted the shoot, although the actors are all in their mid-to-late 20s, for deliberately trying to project underage sexuality.
One of the largest media watchdog groups, the Parents Television Council, has weighed in on the photo shoot, releasing a statement on Wednesday condemning the photos. Their objection centers around GQ’s focus as a men’s magazine, which they claim makes the photos, sexualizing high school characters, borderline pedophilia.
Probably one of the most iconic instances of teenage sexualization is Britney Spears’ photo shoot for Rolling Stone in 1999. The then-teenager posed for the cover in bra and boy-short panties on satin sheets. A parental uproar quickly followed, and the media went on a feeding frenzy. Her over-sexualization at a young age and the ensuing public pressure are said to be major contributors to her health issues later on.
Rolling Stone continued its controversial streak into last year, when Twilight‘s Taylor Lautner posed in a wet t-shirt for the November cover. Lautner was 17 at the time, and while many took no issue with the photos, others called them exploitative.
Miley Cyrus has courted her own share of controversy the last couple of years, as she strove to break away from her Disney show character Hannah Montana. Iconic photographer Annie Liebowitz took photos of the then-15-year-old for the magazine Vanity Fair in 2008. The cover caused the most controversy, as it featured the teenager with her naked back to the camera, dressed in a sheet with wet hair. Parent groups and others were furious with both Liebowitz and Vanity Fair for sexualizing someone so young, who was looked at as a role model for millions of young girls.
While the characters they play are high school teenagers, the fact of the matter is that the ladies (and gentleman) from “Glee” aren’t even close to being ones themselves. It remains to be seen if that ultimately separates the controversy over this photo shoot from earlier ones involving actual teenagers. In the meantime, it will bring this already wildly popular show even more media exposure, and probably some new viewers along with it.
MLive.com, “Poll: Is ‘New Moon’ Star Taylor Lautner’s New Rolling Stone Cover too Beef-Cakey?”
Mawuse Ziegbe, “‘Glee’ Stars’ Racing GQ Photo Shoot Stirs Up Controversy.” MTV.com
Alex Pappademas, “Glee Gone Wild.” GQ.com
BittenandBound.com, “Britney Spears’ Two Rolling Stones Covers ‘Then and Now.'”
Sarah Phillips, “That Miley Cyrus Photograph: Artsy or Outrageous?” Guardian.co.uk