Fug File: Fug The Cover

Well Played Cover: Miley Cyrus on Marie Claire, September 2015


She’s maybe a bit dead-faced, and her lips are flavorless, but I STILL think Miss Miley actually looks quite good on this cover. Inside, she throws a little shade with regard to Taylor Swift (but not AT Taylor Swift). With regard to the “Bad Blood” video, she said:

“I don’t get the violence revenge thing.  That’s supposed to be a good example?  And I’m a bad role model because I’m running around with my titties out?  I’m not sure how titties are worse than guns.”

I CANNOT TELL YOU how much I HATE the word “titties.” From a man or a woman. It’s the most infantilizing word. I honestly think I prefer every single other slang term for “breasts” to that one. Anyway. I see where Miley is going, and it’s a clever way to try to make people stop and think while also guaranteeing herself a headline. Miley, in fact, often says things that are so bluntly self-aware that they make me like her. But as much as I get that she’s gesturing at a larger point about society’s reaction to nudity, the context feels like a stretch. The “Bad Blood” video is silly — all those celebs in it for 2 seconds each, and the nicknames; nothing really HAPPENS – but I don’t think it’s a YAY GUNS YAY VIOLENCE affair. It’s a wannabe sci-fi movie. It’s a video made to illustrate a song about a feud, set in a futuristic world. I didn’t hear Miley complaining about herself with regard to Mad Max when everyone was all up in Charlize Theron as a female-empowerment hero, and I certainly don’t think anyone’s citing “Bad Blood” as a reason Taylor Swift might be a role model (more that she is articulate and well-dressed and seems to have her head on relatively straight, and I personally like that she’s a musician who actually plays multiple instruments). To me that bite basically exposes that Miley IS defensive about how she’s perceived, even though the rest of the time she pretends she’s totally FINE about people not liking her insistence on nudity, because she’s TESTING US with it, and she doesn’t care, and she’s happy with herself, and it’s OUR PROBLEM, and yada yada yada. Also, “Bad Blood” is just one video; Miley’s boobs are like three years of repetition. It’s just interesting when a person who really doesn’t want you to think she cares what people think, exposes that she totally cares what people think.

[Photos and story: Marie Claire]

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Fug the Cover: Demi Lovato on Cosmopolitan, September 2015


This cover has caused a bit of a stir, I gather, as there are some people who think it’s too racy for Cosmo’s usual place in the grocery store shelves and have been trying to cover it up, or turn it over, or just get it stricken altogether.

Demi Lovato on Cosmopolitan, Sept 2015

Demi released the following statement about it, which I saw on Instagram when Joanna Coles reposted it:

What these individuals who are protesting don’t understand is that for the first time in a long time I feel incredibly EMPOWERED and the MOST BEAUTIFUL I’ve ever felt on this magazine. [...] It took soul searching and a bit of time before I learned to embrace my body therefore I could not have been more excited to do this shoot. I think what’s more important is showing women there’s NOTHING WRONG with embracing their bodies and sexuality.

I have thoughts. The first one being, yes okay, you can see a lot of her cleavage, but how is this any MORE scandalous than Nicki Minaj’s cleavage-baring onesie, or a cover with SEX SEX SEX written all over it, or Madonna in bondage gear biting a string of what could be pearl anal beads for all anyone knows? Yes, it’s a gynecologically short dress, but honestly, her modeling it sideways actually takes AWAY a lot of the shock value of that, and sincerely, we’re seeing less of her cleavage than 90 percent of America has seen in Us Weekly or on a Jenndashian’s Instagram feed. I’m not saying we need to start sticking Penthouse down in the trenches with Cosmo and Glamour, but I do think this is a situation where people are going too far to try and shield the world from anything remotely challenging.

My second thought,though: While I have a lot of admiration for the head-on and bluntly honest way she’s dealt with and addressed her struggles, and am thrilled to see Demi saying that she to feels good in her own skin and proud of her body, this hardly LOOKS like her body. What’s more, it feels very specifically posed to show us as little of that body — aside from the cleav — as possible, which defeats the extremely inspiring and rousing purpose of celebrating a girl who’s come out the other side of eating, drug, and emotional issues. At first it felt like her head slapped on someone else’s form, but honestly, her face also looks significantly photoshopped. Look at her here, or even here because it’s a similar angle, and then check the cover again. Lord knows I’m not criticizing anyone for getting retouched; if Hell ever sprouted ice castles and I got put on a magazine cover, I would be like, “Great, FIX ME, make me blurry if that’s what you have to do.” But I’m not someone whose face is my brand, or who is trying to be a positive role model for young kids. Demi Lovato trades on her authenticity and honesty. If I were Demi, I’d look at this and sigh and say, “Yes, that girl is pretty, but I am ALSO pretty, and that girl is only barely ME.”

The situation inside is a little better and honestly, could’ve been a less troublesome cover all-around:

Read More

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Fug the Cover: Iggy Azalea on Seventeen, September 2015


I wonder how far ahead these magazines really plan their cover. Because back in June, after tour cancellations and racist tweets and other controversies, people were writing stories about whether Iggy Azalea’s improbable high-speed career was already kaput; Vulture even went so far as to suggest she needs to try and save it, and fast. She has virtually disappeared from sight, and although she claims she’s working on a 2016 album, I’ll be curious to see if she makes an appearance at the VMAs or stays underground. And I’m wondering if the team at Seventeen has been gnawing on its nails for the past three months, trying to figure out how to get through September without anyone being enraged at them. At best, this exposes that they plan far enough ahead to risk dating themselves.

iggy azalea seventeen

Amusingly, she doesn’t even really look like herself anymore (she addresses having had plastic surgery in the article), which I guess is one way to try and hide. This cover is very… even back when it was shot, it might’ve been a too-desperate attempt to preppy her up for its audience, because nothing about this seems to dovetail with anything Iggy has ever worn, or any vibe she has ever presented. I guess for someone who’s had her authenticity questioned ever since she first opened her mouth on a stage, that’s weirdly fitting. The effect, though, is alien. I don’t connect with who or what this is, or what anyone is peddling with it. Then again, seventeen is but a distant blot in my rearview at this point, so maybe it’s a backward compliment.

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Fug or Fab the Cover: Kristen Stewart on Elle UK, September 2015


This cover has a lot of elements that are weird, but add up to a win.

Kristen Stewart: Elle UK, September 2015 cover

For example, Kristen’s hair looks like she spent three days in the ocean and then got in a convertible. Yet she looks smashing nonetheless. I am not a red-and-pink person, generally, but this is extremely eye-catching and fashion-y in all the right ways. And why is she dressed for a night at the theater in the middle of the jungle? Hakuna matata. Doesn’t matter. Her face sells the story that she maybe blew off that corporate bonding retreat because she met a surfer who gave her three days of unpredictable passion, before they had a huge fight and he pulled over in his pickup and let her out and now she’s trying to walk home and forage for snacks.

The lone flop is the position of her right hand — specifically, why is it pointing at her throat as if trying to beguile the reader into giving her an emergency tracheotomy. “Here,” she is saying. “Right here is where the Bic will go. You’ve seen it on ER. You can do it.” I assume THAT is not the one thing badass women do that makes them smarter. Speaking of, what are they saying there? That badass women only do one thing to improve themselves — OBJECTION — or that there is only one thing that makes a badass woman smarter than a regular woman? I would suggest they could’ve avoided that thorny situation, but they can’t even keep their cover model out of the weeds.

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Well Played, More Or Less: Taylor Swift on Vanity Fair


With the caveat that this is so 80s, it could be outtakes from a secret project where T.Swizzle reboots the collective works of Judith Krantz. OMG TAYLOR, PLEASE DO THAT.

[Photos: Vanity Fair]

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Well Played Cover: Nicole Kidman on Vogue Australia, September 2015


We just saw Nicole Kidman on Vogue U.S., photographed by Patrick Demarchelier no less, looking pinched and cranky — the opposite of how flowy and charming she was in their “73 Questions” video (in the same post). Now Vogue Australia has one-upped the Mothership with what I think is a gorgeous shot of her chilling at Uluru in her native land. In sum, the American cover makes you think, “Remember when Nicole Kidman was one of the great beauties of her time?” THIS reminds you that she still IS.

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