The image: Vanity Fair has declared tween idol Justin Bieber, who graces its February cover, "the adorable, inescapable face of 2011" (actually, he was the "adorable, inescapable face of 2010," quips a blogger). The shot (see photo below) depicts a lipstick-smeared Bieber, a hand pulling suggestively on his tie, while a photo spread inside the magazine shows the sixteen-year-old singer as a '50s-style pop idol in Buddy Holly-style glasses, surrounded by ecstatically enamored girls in poodle skirts. (Watch a behind the scenes video of the shoot)
The reaction:
"Thank god he didn't take his shirt off or there would have been some Miley-style outrage!" says Brian Moylan at Gawker, referring to the magazine's controversial 2008 images of Miley Cyrus, in which she appeared partly naked. Though the shots are less overt, says Michelle Castillo in Time, Vanity Fair has once again, created a "sexualized image of a young teenager." The fact that it hasn't sparked the same reaction as the Cyrus photos speaks to a double standard. "Society is outraged at the mere suggestion that a girl might be desired, yet it is willing to say that the intentions are innocent when it comes to the opposite gender." Here's the much-discussed cover: