Lea Michele and the ethics of cleavage
Lea Michele, famous Glee star and fashion icon due to her recent appearances in Marie Claire and Glamour, has a lot going for her. Her incredible voice and competitive acting skills have catapulted her to the forefront of the public eye. However, in the most recent issue of Marie Claire, Michele pointed to her breasts as her true “secrets to success.”
Michele’s cleavage has received a lot of press coverage over the past few months. She posed for a photo spread in GQ magazine, and discussed her breasts in the new issue of Marie Claire: “These babies are great… They are my prizewinners,” she said.
Michele has been critiqued for not keeping things “buttoned up” on Glee by parents and organizations alike.
This Fox article reports New York mom Kim Trefcer as stating, “I think Lea Michele is sending the wrong message. She plays such a ‘good girl’ on Glee and a lot of kids look up to her persona… I find it frustrating as a parent who is trying to teach right from wrong to their kids.”
But, more importantly, the backlash Michele has received for her clothing choices certainly has some pretty prominent slut-shaming undertones. Why are breasts and cleavage so often juxtaposed with a “good girl” persona?
Michele is a prominent actress who feels comfortable in her own skin; she loves her body, and wants to show it off — and there’s no problem with that!
Saying she ought to be modest is reminiscent of a time when women were sexually oppressed, not permitted to take pride in their bodies or wear even remotely revealing clothes.
What do you think? Does being a high-profile star on a show intended for children and teens come with the obligation to keep things “buttoned up” and abstain from physically revealing outfits and magazine spreads?
Hailey Magee is a Women’s and Gender Studies and Politics double major at Brandeis University. Her foremost interests include media literacy and empowerment of young girls. Hailey hopes to one day pursue a career in the political arena and become an advocate for gender equality.