The Growing Appeal of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

I’ve always been a fierce Megan Fox fan so, when it was revealed that Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley would replace her in the third Transformers movie, Dark of the Moon, I was livid.

While no one could accuse Fox of having irreplaceable acting chops, Huntington-Whiteley’s only credited “acting” role prior to Carly Spencer, Shia LaBeouf’s girlfriend in the film, was as a Victoria’s Secret Angel in their fashion shows, catalogues and videos.

To begin with, I couldn’t stand her. How dare she muscle in on Fox’s role as LabBeouf’s girlfriend, with her pouty lips and Jason Statham by her side?

But then I saw an interview with her on Ellen and I didn’t hate her. In fact, I quite liked her. Her accent, her personality and, yes, those lips.

So in preparation for writing this post, I watched Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Now, that’s two and a half hours of my life I’ll never get back, and Michael Bay’s continued objectification of his female lead was sickening. When Patrick Dempsey’s character introduces Sam Witwicky to a vintage sports car, describing how it was designed to mimic the curves of a woman’s body as the camera pans Huntington-Whiteley’s equally impressive body, it made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

Rosie’s probably no different than any other good looking female action star who’s graduated from modeling, but there’s something about her that doesn’t make me hate her.

How do you feel about Rosie Huntington-Whiteley?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Megan Fox Too Spicy for Transformers?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “She Just Wants Attention.”

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Beautiful, Bigmouthed Backlash Against Katherine Heigl & Megan Fox.

Image via PicPiggy.

12 Posts of Christmas: Will Boys Be Boys When It Comes to Objectifying Women?

In the spirit Christmas, I’ve decided to revisit some of my favourite posts of the year in the twelve days leading up to December 25th.

This post was one of my favourites for the year. Sure, the actual experience wasn’t all that riotous, but it’s given me loads of blog fodder and, I think, has promoted growth from the people involved, including myself. There are updated versions available here and here. The original is here, and below.

It’s been a beauty-centric week here at The Early Bird.

We’ve talked about Grey’s Anatomy and beauty as represented by Cristina Yang, and brains over beauty.

I’d already planned to post those two articles last week before a beauty-related scandal came to light at my workplace.

Apparently, two of my male co-workers had devised a “ranking system” for the hottest to nottest girls in our department.

This is sickening on four levels.

One: it’s sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender and appearance, and those who were victimised by the “ranking” could take those who were responsible for it to H.R. Just look at the Pricewaterhouse Coopers incident. Or the Duke “Fuck List”, on the other side of the coin.

Two: we interact with these men boys (as that’s what they are: one has just turned 21, and the other is 23. But age really has nothing to do with maturity) as friends, colleagues; PEOPLE. Not as objects for them to rate and pit against each other in terms of how we look and nothing else.

Three: I don’t want to have to stoop to their level, but if we were ranking them, one would be at the top in terms of looks, but both would be at the bottom in terms of personality, morals and decency, which is all that really matters. So what gives them the right to judge us?

Four: this is not the ’50s and women are not reduced to what they look like.

The men boys who devised this ranking are sexist misogynists, one of whom I am deeply ashamed to have dated for a short period. Thank god I never got naked with him, ’cause who knows what he would have to say about me then!

What gives them the right to rank us? The same right men’s magazine editors have to rank female celebrities in terms of hotness, I suppose. But the difference there is that, while it’s still pretty sexist but somewhat understandable and accepted, most of the women on the list don’t work with and consider(ed) them friends.

How can you separate the things you know about someone—their personalities, interests, history, temperament etc.—with how they look? I know I can’t.

I was taken aback recently when a coworker praised me for being close friends with a man who’s not super attractive. Unlike the two who ranked me, I don’t make friends in terms of looks. If anything, I find it easier to be myself around and make friends with men I don’t find attractive.

But my so-called “ugly” friend has an awesome personality; anyone would agree. And that makes him attractive. And at the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

As I mentioned above, one of the boys who devised this ranking is probably about an eight in terms of looks, but knowing this about him, in addition to other undesirable traits that lead to our dating demise, makes him a one in the personality department.

Now, I don’t know where I ranked on this list and, frankly, I don’t care. My self-esteem is high enough to not give a shit about what other people think of the way I look. But that’s not the point. How would someone who doesn’t have such high self-esteem feel? As much as we say looks don’t—or shouldn’t—matter, to them, it does.

So is this just a case of “boys will be boys”, as one co-worker who knows about the list put it?

I don’t think it is. You will notice that two out of about thirty were involved in this. The overwhelming majority chose not to act as boys do, whatever that means these days. Again, this is 2011: not 1951.

Another co-worker said “judging” is just what people do. Sure, I judge young mothers who leave their kids with a babysitter so they can go out clubbing, the guidos/ettes from Jersey Shore and, certainly, these two men in light of this list. But I’m judging them on their behaviours and attitudes, not what they look like. And who am I, really, to judge them based on any factor? No one. The same as the makers of this list are to judge us. Nobodies.

At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Ellen DeGeneres brought this up when she interviewed FHM AND Maxim’s Most Beautiful Woman, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, on her show last week. DeGeneres compared Rosie’s “ranking” to her own as “Most Beautiful Woman” on This Old House magazine’s cover. We know Ellen, we like her, and that’s what makes her beautiful, in addition to her physical beauty. Bitch looks good at 53!

And true beauty comes from within. Don’t ever let someone else’s “ranking” of how you look make you forget that.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Will Boys Be Boys When It Comes to Objectifying Women?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] UPDATED: Will Boys Be Boys When It Comes to Objectifying Women?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] UPDATED: Will Boys Be Boys When It Comes to Objectifying Women 2?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Beauty VS. Brains.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Cristina Yang as Feminist.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Snooki & the Jersey Shore Girls as Feminists?

Elsewhere: [Gawker] The “Top 10” Office Email That’s Scandalising Ireland.

[Jezebel] College Girl’s PowerPoint “Fuck List” Goes Viral.

UPDATED: Will Boys Be Boys When it Comes to Objectifying Women?

From “Should the Ugly Have Special Legal Protections” on Jezebel, featuring excerpts from Daniel S. Hamermesh’s article in The New York Times, entitled “Ugly? You May Have a Case”:

“… While we may disagree on who the most beautiful person in a room is, we can all easily agree on what class of attractiveness someone is in.

“Where someone fits on that scale is determined by the way they dress, how they do their makeup, their hairstyle, their personality, how they carry themselves, our personal preferences, and many other factors. Even if there are some disadvantages for people many of us don’t find attractive, that doesn’t mean we need to task our legal system with determining who’s a ‘grenade.’”

Emphasis mine.

*

From a 2009 post by The Punch and News.com.au editor-in-cheif David Penberthy on MamaMia about what men think about female body image:

“Men are much more attracted to a woman’s face than any other part of her body—68 per cent of men surveyed said they looked for a pretty face, just 8 per cent said great breasts, 8 per cent nice legs, and 16 per cent a perfect fat-free figure. In terms of ranking the importance of overall qualities, not one man said appearance was the most important—24 per cent cited personality as the most important, with 76 per cent citing personality and appearance in equal measure.”

Mia Freedman continues in her response to Penberthy’s piece:

“Interestingly, what shouts loudest to me from Penb[erthy]’s post and The Punch survey results is that men don’t really HAVE an ideal. They think we’re all pretty hot. So hot that they’re baffled as to why we’re not lesbians. How can we resist tearing each other’s close off and frolicking in all our diverse glory?”

While this piece doesn’t state the age of the male participants (a condition of the survey was that it was anonymous, so men could speak freely about what they really think), judging from The Punch’s target demographic, I’d be willing to bet they’re of the Generation X age group. From my experience, men that age formed their opinions of and preferences for women before the internet, porn and airbrushing culture were as rampant as they are now, and don’t really complain if they have the chance to get their kit off with some chick.

Hence why I go for older men…

*

It’s been a beauty-centric week here at The Early Bird.

We’ve talked about Grey’s Anatomy and beauty as represented by Cristina Yang, and brains over beauty.

I’d already planned to post those two articles last week before a beauty-related scandal came to light at my workplace.

Apparently, two of my male co-workers had devised a “ranking system” for the hottest to nottest girls in our department.

This is sickening on four levels.

One: it’s sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender and appearance, and those who were victimised by the “ranking” could take those who were responsible for it to H.R. Just look at the Pricewaterhouse Coopers incident. Or the Duke “Fuck List”, on the other side of the coin.

Two: we interact with these men boys (as that’s what they are: one has just turned 21, and the other is 23. But age really has nothing to do with maturity) as friends, colleagues; PEOPLE. Not as objects for them to rate and pit against each other in terms of how we look and nothing else.

Three: I don’t want to have to stoop to their level, but if we were ranking them, one would be at the top in terms of looks, but both would be at the bottom in terms of personality, morals and decency, which is all that really matters. So what gives them the right to judge us?

Four: this is not the ’50s and women are not reduced to what they look like.

The men boys who devised this ranking are sexist misogynists, one of whom I am deeply ashamed to have dated for a short period. Thank God I never got naked with him, ’cause who knows what he would have to say about me then!

What gives them the right to rank us? The same right men’s magazine editors have to rank female celebrities in terms of hotness, I suppose. But the difference there is that, while it’s still pretty sexist but somewhat understandable and accepted, most of the women on the list don’t work with and consider(ed) them friends.

How can you separate the things you know about someone—their personalities, interests, history, temperament etc.—with how they look? I know I can’t.

I was taken aback recently when a coworker praised me for being close friends with a man who’s not super attractive. Unlike the two who ranked me, I don’t make friends in terms of looks. If anything, I find it easier to be myself around and make friends with men I don’t find attractive.

But my so called “ugly” friend has an awesome personality; anyone would agree. And that makes him attractive. And at the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

As I mentioned above, one of the men who devised this ranking is probably about an eight in terms of looks, but knowing this about him, in addition to other undesirable traits that lead to our dating demise, makes him a one in the personality department.

Now, I don’t know where I ranked on this list and, frankly, I don’t care. My self-esteem is high enough to not give a shit about what other people think of the way I look. But that’s not the point. How would someone who doesn’t have such high self-esteem feel? As much as we say looks don’t—or shouldn’t—matter, to them, it does.

So is this just a case of “boys will be boys”, as one co-worker who knows about the list put it?

I don’t think it is. You will notice that two out of about thirty were involved in this. The overwhelming majority chose not to act as boys do, whatever that means these days. Again, this is 2011: not 1951.

Another co-worker said “judging” is just what people do. Sure, I judge young mothers who leave their kids with a babysitter so they can go out clubbing, the guidos/ettes from Jersey Shore and, certainly, these two men in light of this list. But I’m judging them on their behaviours and attitudes, not what they look like. And who am I, really, to judge them based on any factor? No one. The same as the makers of this list are to judge us. Nobodies.

At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Ellen DeGeneres brought this up when she interviewed FHM AND Maxim’s Most Beautiful Woman, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, on her show last week. DeGeneres compared Rosie’s “ranking” to her own as “Most Beautiful Woman” on This Old House magazine’s cover. We know Ellen, we like her, and that’s what makes her beautiful, in addition to her physical beauty. Bitch looks good at 53!

And true beauty comes from within. Don’t ever let someone else’s “ranking” of how you look make you forget that.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Beauty VS. Brains.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Cristina Yang as Feminist.

Elsewhere: [Gawker] The “Top 10” Office Email That’s Scandalising Ireland.

[Jezebel] College Girl’s PowerPoint “Fuck List” Goes Viral.

[MamaMia] What MEN Think About Women’s Body Image.

[Jezebel] Should the Ugly Have Special Legal Protections?

[The New York Times] Ugly? You May Have a Case.

Image via Small Screen Scoop.

UPDATED: Will Boys Be Boys When it Comes to Objectifying Women?

From a 2009 post by The Punch and News.com.au editor-in-cheif David Penberthy on MamaMia about what men think about female body image:

“Men are much more attracted to a woman’s face than any other part of her body—68 per cent of men surveyed said they looked for a pretty face, just 8 per cent said great breasts, 8 per cent nice legs, and 16 per cent a perfect fat-free figure. In terms of ranking the importance of overall qualities, not one man said appearance was the most important—24 per cent cited personality as the most important, with 76 per cent citing personality and appearance in equal measure.”

Mia Freedman continues in her response to Penberthy’s piece:

“Interestingly, what shouts loudest to me from Penb[erthy]’s post and The Punch survey results is that men don’t really HAVE an ideal. They think we’re all pretty hot. So hot that they’re baffled as to why we’re not lesbians. How can we resist tearing each other’s close off and frolicking in all our diverse glory?”

While this piece doesn’t state the age of the male participants (a condition of the survey was that it was anonymous, so men could speak freely about what they really think), judging from The Punch’s target demographic, I’d be willing to bet they’re of the Generation X age group. From my experience, men that age formed their opinions of and preferences for women before the internet, porn and airbrushing culture were as rampant as they are now, and don’t really complain if they have the chance to get their kit off with some chick.

Hence why I go for older men…

*

It’s been a beauty-centric week here at The Early Bird.

We’ve talked about Grey’s Anatomy and beauty as represented by Cristina Yang, and brains over beauty.

I’d already planned to post those two articles last week before a beauty-related scandal came to light at my workplace.

Apparently, two of my male co-workers had devised a “ranking system” for the hottest to nottest girls in our department.

This is sickening on four levels.

One: it’s sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender and appearance, and those who were victimised by the “ranking” could take those who were responsible for it to H.R. Just look at the Pricewaterhouse Coopers incident. Or the Duke “Fuck List”, on the other side of the coin.

Two: we interact with these men boys (as that’s what they are: one has just turned 21, and the other is 23. But age really has nothing to do with maturity) as friends, colleagues; PEOPLE. Not as objects for them to rate and pit against each other in terms of how we look and nothing else.

Three: I don’t want to have to stoop to their level, but if we were ranking them, one would be at the top in terms of looks, but both would be at the bottom in terms of personality, morals and decency, which is all that really matters. So what gives them the right to judge us?

Four: this is not the ’50s and women are not reduced to what they look like.

The men boys who devised this ranking are sexist misogynists, one of whom I am deeply ashamed to have dated for a short period. Thank God I never got naked with him, ’cause who knows what he would have to say about me then!

What gives them the right to rank us? The same right men’s magazine editors have to rank female celebrities in terms of hotness, I suppose. But the difference there is that, while it’s still pretty sexist but somewhat understandable and accepted, most of the women on the list don’t work with and consider(ed) them friends.

How can you separate the things you know about someone—their personalities, interests, history, temperament etc.—with how they look? I know I can’t.

I was taken aback recently when a coworker praised me for being close friends with a man who’s not super attractive. Unlike the two who ranked me, I don’t make friends in terms of looks. If anything, I find it easier to be myself around and make friends with men I don’t find attractive.

But my so called “ugly” friend has an awesome personality; anyone would agree. And that makes him attractive. And at the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

As I mentioned above, one of the men who devised this ranking is probably about an eight in terms of looks, but knowing this about him, in addition to other undesirable traits that lead to our dating demise, makes him a one in the personality department.

Now, I don’t know where I ranked on this list and, frankly, I don’t care. My self-esteem is high enough to not give a shit about what other people think of the way I look. But that’s not the point. How would someone who doesn’t have such high self-esteem feel? As much as we say looks don’t—or shouldn’t—matter, to them, it does.

So is this just a case of “boys will be boys”, as one co-worker who knows about the list put it?

I don’t think it is. You will notice that two out of about thirty were involved in this. The overwhelming majority chose not to act as boys do, whatever that means these days. Again, this is 2011: not 1951.

Another co-worker said “judging” is just what people do. Sure, I judge young mothers who leave their kids with a babysitter so they can go out clubbing, the guidos/ettes from Jersey Shore and, certainly, these two men in light of this list. But I’m judging them on their behaviours and attitudes, not what they look like. And who am I, really, to judge them based on any factor? No one. The same as the makers of this list are to judge us. Nobodies.

At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Ellen DeGeneres brought this up when she interviewed FHM AND Maxim’s Most Beautiful Woman, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, on her show last week. DeGeneres compared Rosie’s “ranking” to her own as “Most Beautiful Woman” on This Old House magazine’s cover. We know Ellen, we like her, and that’s what makes her beautiful, in addition to her physical beauty. Bitch looks good at 53!

And true beauty comes from within. Don’t ever let someone else’s “ranking” of how you look make you forget that.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Beauty VS. Brains.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Cristina Yang as Feminist.

Elsewhere: [Gawker] The “Top 10” Office Email That’s Scandalising Ireland.

[Jezebel] College Girl’s PowerPoint “Fuck List” Goes Viral.

[MamaMia] What MEN Think About Women’s Body Image.

Will Boys Be Boys When it Comes to Objectifying Women?

It’s been a beauty-centric week here at The Early Bird.

We’ve talked about Grey’s Anatomy and beauty as represented by Cristina Yang, and brains over beauty.

I’d already planned to post those two articles last week before a beauty-related scandal came to light at my workplace.

Apparently, two of my male co-workers had devised a “ranking system” for the hottest to nottest girls in our department.

This is sickening on four levels.

One: it’s sexual harassment and discrimination based on gender and appearance, and those who were victimised by the “ranking” could take those who were responsible for it to H.R. Just look at the Pricewaterhouse Coopers incident. Or the Duke “Fuck List”, on the other side of the coin.

Two: we interact with these men boys (as that’s what they are: one has just turned 21, and the other is 23. But age really has nothing to do with maturity) as friends, colleagues; PEOPLE. Not as objects for them to rate and pit against each other in terms of how we look and nothing else.

Three: I don’t want to have to stoop to their level, but if we were ranking them, one would be at the top in terms of looks, but both would be at the bottom in terms of personality, morals and decency, which is all that really matters. So what gives them the right to judge us?

Four: this is not the ’50s and women are not reduced to what they look like.

The men boys who devised this ranking are sexist misogynists, one of whom I am deeply ashamed to have dated for a short period. Thank God I never got naked with him, ’cause who knows what he would have to say about me then!

What gives them the right to rank us? The same right men’s magazine editors have to rank female celebrities in terms of hotness, I suppose. But the difference there is that, while it’s still pretty sexist but somewhat understandable and accepted, most of the women on the list don’t work with and consider(ed) them friends.

How can you separate the things you know about someone—their personalities, interests, history, temperament etc.—with how they look? I know I can’t.

I was taken aback recently when a coworker praised me for being close friends with a man who’s not super attractive. Unlike the two who ranked me, I don’t make friends in terms of looks. If anything, I find it easier to be myself around and make friends with men I don’t find attractive.

But my so called “ugly” friend has an awesome personality; anyone would agree. And that makes him attractive. And at the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

As I mentioned above, one of the men who devised this ranking is probably about an eight in terms of looks, but knowing this about him, in addition to other undesirable traits that lead to our dating demise, makes him a one in the personality department.

Now, I don’t know where I ranked on this list and, frankly, I don’t care. My self-esteem is high enough to not give a shit about what other people think of the way I look. But that’s not the point. How would someone who doesn’t have such high self-esteem feel? As much as we say looks don’t—or shouldn’t—matter, to them, it does.

So is this just a case of “boys will be boys”, as one co-worker who knows about the list put it?

I don’t think it is. You will notice that two out of about thirty were involved in this. The overwhelming majority chose not to act as boys do, whatever that means these days. Again, this is 2011: not 1951.

Another co-worker said “judging” is just what people do. Sure, I judge young mothers who leave their kids with a babysitter so they can go out clubbing, the guidos/ettes from Jersey Shore and, certainly, these two men in light of this list. But I’m judging them on their behaviours and attitudes, not what they look like. And who am I, really, to judge them based on any factor? No one. The same as the makers of this list are to judge us. Nobodies.

At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Ellen DeGeneres brought this up when she interviewed FHM AND Maxim’s Most Beautiful Woman, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, on her show last week. DeGeneres compared Rosie’s “ranking” to her own as “Most Beautiful Woman” on This Old House magazine’s cover. We know Ellen, we like her, and that’s what makes her beautiful, in addition to her physical beauty. Bitch looks good at 53!

And true beauty comes from within. Don’t ever let someone else’s “ranking” of how you look make you forget that.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Beauty VS. Brains.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Cristina Yang as Feminist.

Elsewhere: [Gawker] The “Top 10” Office Email That’s Scandalising Ireland.

[Jezebel] College Girl’s PowerPoint “Fuck List” Goes Viral.

Image via Rosie-Huntington.

Movies: Megan Fox Too “Spicy” for Transformers?

A few weeks ago I caught a snippet from a Shia LaBeouf interview in the back pages of Famous, claiming that “Megan [Fox] developed this Spice Girl strength, this woman-empowerment [stuff] that made her feel awkward about her involvement with Michael [Bay] who some people think is a very lascivious filmmaker, the way he films women,” but wasn’t able to locate it again til this week.

Love her or hate her (personally, I lurrrrve her!), you’ve got to admire Fox for her outspokenness and, if that means, in this day and age, that she’s “Spice Girl”-esque, then so be it.

It’s kind of sad, actually, that to stand up to a cretinous misogynist and say “actually, no, I don’t want to be involved in a film where all my character does is lay about on a motorcycle while you direct the cameraman to get up-skirt shots of me” equates to being a caricature of pop-feminism from fifteen years ago.

I think LaBeouf was trying to remain loyal to both sides of the coin, but he has been critical of Transformers director Bay in the past. It’s just that he’s a guy and the star of the film, so they look the other way, whereas Fox is an apparently replaceable sex object who’ll never work in this town Hollywood again.

At least, that’s according to this week’s Famous, which has a somewhat-outdated story on Fox’s firing from the franchise, her replacement with Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and her allegedly anti-Semitic remarks against Bay. The article references a 2009 interview with Wonderland magazine, and an open anonymous letter posted on Bay’s website, which was written at least a year ago.

When talking about the release of the latest Transformers flick with a male friend, he said Fox was an idiot for trash-talking Bay and expecting not to get fired for it. (There is no evidence to suggest Fox did think that, FYI.) I wondered why Fox is the scapegoat to illustrate not biting the hand that feeds you in standing up for herself and refusing to be objectified in such a “way that appeals to a 16-year-old’s sexuality”, while Bay is lauded for his special effects and partnership with Steven Spielberg.  He said he didn’t care; having a car with a button that you could press which turns it into your very own gigantic friend was cooler. Right: who cares how horrible the people making movies are, as long as the end product is good fulfills some boyish childhood fantasy, right?

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Beautiful, Bigmouthed Backlash Against Katherine Heigl & Megan Fox.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “She Just Wants Attention.”

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Gay Chicken: Latent Homophobia in “Why Would You Go Gay For?”

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “With a Gun Between Her Legs”: Why “Strong” (AKA “Sexy” Whilst Being “Strong”) Female Characters Are Bad for Women.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Minus Two & a Half Men.

Elsewhere: [IndieWire] Shia LaBeouf Claims Megan Fox’s “Spice Girl Strength” Got Her Fired From New Transformers Movie.

Image via Semaj Blogeater.

Magazines: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Dares to Bare for British Vogue.

I’ve found a few rogue British Vogue’s floating around the staff room in recent weeks, and while I’m not a huge fan of the March cover image of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the photos on the inside are stunning, if a little risqué. The rest of the mag is worth a flick, too.

Images via R-Patz News, Twilight Whisper, Beauty is Diverse.

Mag Covers of the Year.

As 2010 draws to a close, what better time to look back on the year’s best magazine covers (according to yours truly; feel free to add your favourites in the comments)?

This blog began back in April, with “Mag Cover of the Week” going live at the end of May, so it’s not an exhaustive list of all the best covers, but rather a selection of those that have featured here, plus a few extras thrown in.

You will notice that there is a lot of skin-baring and suggestive imagery amongst the covers, which goes to show that sex still sells in the current progressive magazine environment (Yen, Peppermint and the late Notebook: come to mind as Aussie titles that buck this trend), or at least it sells to me.

Without further ado, let’s begin the list with those such covers: Lara Stone for the October/90th Anniversary issue of Paris Vogue; a nude Christina Aguilera for German GQ; the new Bond Transformers girl, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, for the September issue of LOVE; a machine gun-wielding and “Alejandro”-inspired Lady Gaga for Rolling Stone; andwho else?Who’s Sexiest People cover, featuring the always stunning Jessica Marais in pin-up-style garb, Jennifer Hawkins and the most impressive cleavage I’ve seen in a long time, and the vanilla (but also impressively chested) Natalie Imbruglia.

When uttering the word “sexy”, few TV shows come to mind before True Blood, which takes out two of the top spots with their blood-spattered (Jezebel noted that you can practically see Anna Paquin’s tampon string!) Rolling Stone appearance, and their Entertainment Weekly cover, which is worth it for Alexander Skarsgard’s penetrating stare alone.

Lindsay Lohan made the cut twice, too, with her bikini (or is it lingerie?) covers for German GQ and Maxim.

In the less sexy/more high fashion department, Madison borrowed Kylie Minogue from UK Elle for their September issue; Katy Perry was inspired by vintage Vogue for the US Harper’s Bazaar subscriber cover; Jennifer Aniston joined the ranks of celebrities channelling other celebrities by getting her Barbra Streisand on (also) for US Harper’s Bazaar; model-of-the-moment Constance Jablonski on the cover of German Vogue; and Industrie celebrates Marc Jacobs in drag, while V hails he and Lady Gaga as the crown jewels of New York City.

Lastly, Lady Gaga on the cover that launched a thousand meat bikinis (okay, no. But it did launch the meat dress, which was the fashion moment of the year), Japan’s Vogue Homme.

And considering Terry Richardson shot the aforementioned cover, it brings me to wonder which covers would be considered the worst of the year. Glee getting their gear off for GQ, anyone?

Magazine Review: Cleo, September 2010.

Cleo’s September issue is an issue of mourning, as it marks the last under the editorship of Sarah Oakes, who’ll be heading to Sunday Life magazine (at least we’ll be able to get our Oakes fix for free [okay, $2] every week, instead of $7.40 once a month).

Under Oakes’ tutelage, Cleo has grown into one of my favourite magazines, and it employs the aesthetics and ideology of fellow favourites Nylon and Frankie.

As a send-off, this issue falls a bit flat, claiming to be an “It” issue, with the likes of “It girls” Alexa Chung, Rosie Huntington Whiteley et al, but add a “Sh-” to the word and that’s the feeling I get from all this “It girl” nonsense.

I feel Cleo is a bit behind the eight-ball in featuring the “It girls”, most of whom were touted as such some two years ago. But in a cheeky, poking-fun-at-themselves move, Cleo runs a feature entitled “Why We Love an ‘It’”, about our culture’s short-lived obsession with all things “it”. This is why I love you, Cleo.

Elsewhere in the mag, destiny is questioned and somewhat proved by Alex and Donna Voutsinas story of looking through old photos to share at their wedding, when one picture of Donna with her family at Disneyland when she was five piqued Alex’s interest, BECAUSE HIS FATHER AND HIS 3-YEAR-OLD SELF ARE IN THE BACKGROUND (p. 92)! How serendipitous!

Cleo is clearly on Lady Gaga’s side in “Lady Gaga. Discuss: Musical genius or marketing ploy?” (p. 98). And regular readers of this blog will know which side I’m on, too.

“A Beginner’s Guide to Forgiveness” (p. 102) is a case-in-point article as to Cleo’s substance over some other monthlies. Forgiveness is something I struggle with, and The Forgiveness Project founder, Marina Cantacuzino says that “… forgiveness is a journey, not a destination. I wanted to show that some people don’t get there.” And Cleo says that’s okay. They also say that men love your body just the way you are and hate it when you put yourself down, in “What He Thinks About Your Body Issues” (p. 150); reassurance and warm fuzzies for all!

I would be mortified about revisiting my past diaries, let alone sharing them with the world. That’s what Oakes, art director Liz and photo editor Jess have done in “Dear Diary…” (p. 104).

Cleo seem to have taken a leaf out of contributor Rachel Hills’ book in profiling “A Brief History of the Girl-on-Girl Publicity Kiss” (p. 108), and have also taken inspiration from Sex & the City 2 and Big and Carrie’s “Part-Time Lovers” arrangement (p. 152).

In terms of eye-candy goodness, there’s a spread with Gossip Girl boy Ed Westwick (p. 112), jewel tones and painterly prints (p. 124), and beauty across the ages (p. 142).

All in all, not the best issue of Cleo ever.