Actress Dakota Fanning appears on the cover of the February issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. She was named Cosmo's Fun Fearless Female of the Year. The petite blonde starlet wears a glimmering (and plunging) J. Mendel pink dress and smoky eye make-up, looking quite glamorous.

Despite being just 17-years-old, Fanning, who is currently in her freshman year at New York University, exhibits a decidedly mature persona. Since I was young, I've always known who I was, the actress told the magazine. I never really had to go through finding who I am. I've always felt really secure.

However, some eyebrows rose when Fanning's Cosmo cover debuted. Cosmo is a magazine geared towards adult women and Fanning is a 17-year-old. In the cover photo, the youngster is surrounded by cover lines like His Best Sex Ever, Too Naughty to Say Here, and Um, Vagina, Are You Okay Down There?

Fanning's centerfold article, Welcome to Your Cosmo Years, Dakota, features a photo of the teen wearing bunny ears with the caption: Two years ago this would have been cute. Now it's hot.

Writer Jonah Weiner noted that Fanning has always seemed much older than she is, and the magazine remains satisfied with its choice.

We're thrilled to feature Dakota Fanning on the February cover of Cosmopolitan magazine and she looks stunning. Dakota, who turns 18 this month, is a mature, fearless young woman and we are proud to honor her as our Fun Fearless Female of the year, a Cosmopolitan rep told us. We applaud her unprecedented accomplishments which will continue in 2012 with her four upcoming movie roles.

Though, some media outlets still did not deem it appropriate.

Cosmopolitan is going overboard by putting an underage girl on its cover surrounded by such article titles, media expert Rachelle Friberg told FOX411's Pop Tarts column. It is one thing to educate young women about sex and their bodies, but putting a young, underage girl on the cover of a magazine that had long been known to push the limits is sending the wrong message.

New York Magazine added in two cents as well, We don't mean to be prude, but isn't she like, 17?

Although some might express shock over Cosmo's choice, others remind critics that the magazine is not X-rated.

Aside from being totally freaked out that wee Dakota Fanning in nearly 18 -- which thus affirms that I have suddenly become quite old -- I'm generally not all that worked up about the still-17-year-old actress appearing on the cover of Cosmopolitan, said Amelia McDonell-Parry of TheFrisky.com. Generally the actor/actress interviews in Cosmo are nothing more than puff pieces accompanied by cheeky Q&As, not all that different from the type of questions Fanning would get from Teen Vogue.

This is not the first time a Hollywood celebrity has been sexualized at a young age. Britney Spears is probably the most pertinent example. The pop singer entered the scene in 1999 with her hit song Hit Me Baby (One More Time). She writhed in a schoolgirl uniform and pigtails at just 16-years-old.

Spears posed for the cover of Rolling Stone in April 1999 on a satin-sheeted bed in her underwear clutching a Teletubby. Since Spears was still a minor at the time, this cover received quite a bit of flak.

Fanning herself has been in hot water before. An ad campaign for Marc Jacobs' Oh Lola! perfume featured the actress in what was deemed a sexualized position. The ad was banned in the UK, as the Advertising Standards Authority stated, We noted that the model was holding up the perfume bottle which rested in her lap between her legs and we considered that its position was sexually provocative.

Fanning turns 18-years-old next month.