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Children / Teens/Tweens

Selena Gomez: Is 19 Too Young for the Cover of Cosmo?

Being the mother of three elementary school children, my television rarely strays from the Disney Channel’s line-up of sitcoms.  I have seen every episode of Good Luck Charlie, Austin and Ally, Victorious, and A.N.T. Farm they have ever made.  Most of them at least 10 times.

But as for our household favorite?  Hands down:  Wizards of Waverly Place.

It’s just about the only one of those shows I can tolerate, mainly because I like Selena Gomez.  I think she’s cute, bubbly, and has great comedic timing.  My girls own her albums and we regularly bop around in the car singing her teeny-bopper tunes.

Now, I realize that Selena Gomez is not the wide-eyed girl she once was.  And that’s okay.  I can imagine it would be pretty hard to make the transition from child star to adult actress when you’re so vividly in the public eye.  In fact, my sister, just the other day, pointed to pictures in People of Ms. Gomez and her boyfriend (a little-known singer named Justin Bieber), frolicking in the surf on the vacation they took to Hawaii and said, “Where are their parents?”

To which I replied, “What are they going to do about it?  Ground them?  Tell them they can’t spend the hundreds of millions of dollars that they’re probably worth?”

It would be a parenting dilemma to say the least.

And those pictures inside People magazine didn’t bother me.  My kids don’t pick up my subscription and read it.  And to them, it would just look like they were just playing around on the beach.

What does bother me, however, is the March 2012 edition of Cosmopolitan magazine that has 19-year-old Selena Gomez on the cover with cleavage that I will admit that I envy sitting in a somewhat “indelicate” position given that she’s wearing a dress.  This copy is all pink and cute and right in my daughter’s eye-line when we check out our groceries. So, what Cosmo is about, and do you know what it says all around Selena’s face?

“50 SEX TIPS:  Readers Share the Naughtiest Moves They Discovered All on Their Own.”

“Why Guys Love It When You Bite Your Lip.”

“YOUR ORGASM GUARANTEED:  The New Trick Experts Swear By.”

And in teeny tiny letters, it says “Selena Gomez:  Secrets Behind Her Megastar Success.”

Now, Selena isn’t the first Disney star to fling herself across the bridge from teen to adult.  We all remember when Miley Cyrus did it in 2008 with the help of Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair.  And at the time, I wasn’t in the mood to get into the Art vs. Inappropriate debate.

And I’ll tell you this:  I think Selena Gomez is turning into a gorgeous woman.  And in about 4-5 years, a few years after her Disney show is finished and she’s gotten a little space from her pop-idol image…I would love to see her face on the cover of any magazine.  GQ, Maxim, whatever.  You go, girl.

But c’mon.  She’s 19- years-old.  And we all know what Cosmo is about.  We all know the articles that they focus on and how they attract their readership.  And at this point, I just wish they would do it without trying to attract my 10-year-old daughter.  Frankly, given the subject matter that Cosmo works with…it makes me wonder if there should be some sort of minimum age requirement when it comes to their cover girls.

Because at its worst it’s inappropriate.  At best…it’s just plain tacky.



Catherine Tidd is a writer, widow and mother of three. She is the founder of, a free peer support website dedicated to anyone who has lost a significant other and has a Facebook peer support page under the name Widow Chick. Along with being published in several books on grief and renewal, Catherine is also a humorous motivational speaker who focuses on “finding joy in a life you weren’t expecting.” She also writes a blog on parenting and NASCARing called NASCAR Brady Bunch.


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Author: Catherine

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  1. I was totally going to point out the Miley Cyrus transition but you beat me to the punch. Like you, I’m appalled at these young girls appearing on sexualized magazines but I guess the bigger issue would be if they were not of legal age?

    Regardless, my kids are not yet in that teen/tween market and I have yet to see their cherubic idols being less than angelic. Best to start the lesson early to not idolize anyone in Hollywood because sadly, most will let you down.

  2. When I first saw it in the store I thought she was young for the dress, but now that I know she is 19 it seems fine. I like Amber’s point about who we allow our children to look up to. They may play kids on tv but in reality she is legally an adult. My grocery store has Cosmos covered. My kids don’t watch tv but when they are allowed I hope I can teach them that programs are not real and that the actors are not their characters and neither are role models.

  3. I agree that sometimes things like this start a conversation that we all need to be having with our kids. But Cosmo is NOT covered at the grocery store that I go to. My 6-year-old is a very good reader and LOVES Selena Gomez and this magazine is right at her eye level. I guess I would rather not have her try and sound out “orgasm” as I’m loading my groceries on the belt and then ask me what that is. Another actress…my kids probably wouldn’t even notice the magazine and what it says. But their favorite Disney character? You bet they’ve noticed.

  4. Although it made me uncomfortable to see Selena Gomez on the cover when I was at the grocery store, I am reminded that both Brittany Spears and Christina Aguilera were being a lot more expressive about their sexuality by that age through their music videos and whatnot. This is nothing new… But we do need to teach girls that being expressive like that is only going to give you a false sense of self-confidence. If you truly respect yourself ad value yourself, you don’t need to flaunt anything on the outside – you can still feel gorgeous and dress conservatively at the same time 🙂

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