When it comes to sexualization in Hollywood, Megan fox He knows what he’s talking about. She won’t have Oscars in her windows or premieres at prestigious film festivals, but she has experienced first-hand the basic stereotypes of her industry. And it is that Megan Fox is an icon of the 2000s. She illustrated dozens of magazine covers as a result of the success of transformers in 2007 while his name was on everyone’s lips and his photographs flooded the searches on networks. Whether she wanted it or not, the sex symbol label was installed in her professional life, giving more weight to her appearance and image than to her words.
Because Megan spoke loud and clear about the discomfort around her, but it wasn’t given the same attention it would have been now. And she knows it and has just rightly pointed out how ahead of her time she was.
“I think I was ahead of the #MeToo movement by almost a decade.” recently told the UK version of the magazine Glamor. “He was always speaking out against some of the abusive, misogynistic, patriarchal stuff that was going on in Hollywood in 2008 and 2009, long before people were ready to accept it or tolerate it. And I was actually ridiculed for doing it. I think people have had time to review that, in hindsight.”
“I have never felt completely included in the feminist community and I still think it is terribly complicated” he added. “Whatever I provoke is not something they can digest very well. And then that comes back to me, since I get rejected for those reasons. And I just don’t think she was a very compassionate victim.”
“I was not allowed to be human, because it was a topic of conversation, of gossip and jokes. I was essentially in hiding for several years of my life” sentenced.
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And indeed, if we search the newspaper library of the networks or even in our memories of those years, we can find how accurate his words are. Fox was 19/20 years old when she got the role of Mikaela Banes in transformers jumping to stardom immediately, but not precisely because of her skills as an actress, but as a sex symbol. The furor around her beauty that we lived at that time with her photographs and poses sweeping the search engines demonstrate it. And it is that her character was practically designed for it, with shots that highlighted her physical beauty every time she appeared on the scene.
The film was a success as was its sequel, however it was dropped for the third installment after he compared working for director Michael Bay to Hitler. Bay blamed the dismissal on Steven Spielberg (executive producer of the films) and he denied it. But the truth is that the saga continued without her, with another actress and sweeping the box office, while Fox’s career began to decline.
However, what always struck me about Megan Fox is that she never mince words. Just as he criticized Michael Bay’s way of working (albeit with an ill-advised comparison), he also pointed to the uncomfortable sexualization that she lived with 15 years working as an extra on the set of Bad Boys II from the same director. She did it in an interview on the Jimmy Kimmel show in 2009, saying that they made her dance in a bikini, with a cowboy hat and heels, under a rain of water.
The revelation generated headlines, but the social and global questioning did not fall on Michael Bay as it would now in the post #MeToo era, but instead remained one more anecdote in the life of a sex symbol. Even the interview resurfaced a year ago causing the networks to ask for the cancellation of Jimmy Kimmel for not reacting with empathy to Fox’s statements, while many tweets questioned that there was no repercussion for Michael Bay. But more than ten years had passed since the interview.
When transformers disappeared from his life, Fox starred Jennifer’s Body in 2009, a film that received mixed reviews and disappointed at the box office, but which gained a cult following over time. Without going any further, it is currently considered a feminist classic that was underestimated at the time. And it is that the stereotypes had already been accommodated in the public profile of Megan Fox, creating a distorted reflection on her figure that left her professional work in the background.
So much happened with Jennifer’s Body as well as her courage to raise her voice before a Hollywood that had not yet experienced the greatest uncovering in its history, reflect a young actress who tried to express herself and be heard. But instead, she was banished from the big productions and forgotten for a while. Years later, the sexual and power abuses perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein were uncovered, opening the darkest Pandora’s box in Hollywood with anecdotes and victims coming out from under the stones. This is how the #MeToo movement was born as a platform to give victims a voice, defending the equal position of women in Hollywood with countless stories about abusive castings and actresses banished for being victims or raising their voices, as Rose McGowan, Mira Sorvino or Ashley Judd.
However, today, if Millie Bobby Brown or Ella Purnell talk about what “disgusting” that turns out to be sexualized as an adolescent, headlines are generated that give one reason to think, analyze and comment. If Cole Sprouse exposes the strong sexualization that his fellow Disney Channel teenagers experienced, too. But not when Megan Fox was talking about her experience more than a decade ago.
Even in 2019, the actress spoke of the hypersexualization experienced in a joint meeting to Entertainment Tonight with Diablo Cody, the screenwriter of Jennifer’s Body. At that time she revealed having suffered a “genuine psychological collapse” as a result of being sexualized to the extreme in the film’s marketing campaign. “I didn’t want them to see me. I didn’t want to have to take a picture, pose for a magazine, walk a red carpet. She didn’t want to be seen in public at all“, she said after pointing out that this sexualization and her daring to denounce it were possibly the causes of her ostracism. In addition, the actress said that it was even difficult for her to have the support of other women and to be part of the conversation about feminism.
The truth is that the recent words of Megan Fox do not seem wrong. She had already raised her voice long before other actresses pointed out the sexualization she suffered in the industry, becoming a sexual object that she preferred to look at but not listen to.
And while it is true that Megan Fox has opted for a professional profile that expresses her ‘sexy’ image, and continues to do so, through movies, posing and promotional images, she knows how to make a difference. “There is no problem with being sexy” he said in an interview a while ago. “The problem is that facet was so loud that it silenced who he was.”
As Megan says, it was an advance, revealing the same reality that the case of Britney Spears already exposed. That the world looked the other way when they lived a media exposure focused more on the image and superficial judgment than on the personal consequences of the experience. Without going any further, last year, Megan Fox talked about insecurities “deep” that she carries as a result of the effects generated by being subjected to so many media trials at the beginning of her career. And now she adds that she believes that her psychological crisis is more related to having felt “constantly dehumanized, criticized and judged”.