Megan Fox on Feminism, Sexuality and How Hollywood Treats Women

by Melissa Silverstein on July 14, 2009

in Actresses,Sexism

megan_fox4I basically dismissed Megan Fox as a pretty, not very smart young woman trading on her sexuality to become a movie star.  I saw the first Transformers film and thought she and the film were terrible.  But I did get interested when she was cast in Jennifer’s Body the new film written by Diablo Cody and directed by Karyn Kusama that comes out this fall.  On the surface it looks like a horror movie, but I hear it’s really funny so I am getting interested in seeing it.

I was kind of wrong about Fox.  She is clearly is trading on her sexuality to become a big movie star but she is far from stupid.  In fact, from this interview in Entertainment Weekly she comes off as a smart young woman who knows the rules of Hollywood and is using them to her advantage.  Lots and women and men play the Hollywood game but few are honest and vocal about how they go about it.

But, I am still conflicted.  Just by virtue of her platform and exposure to younger and impressionable girls and women the message she gives off if that you need to use your sexuality and sell yourself to be successful in Hollywood (especially big mainstream films.)  That’s not a great message.

But on the other hand she does call herself a feminist and is honest about what she is doing.  I guess that people are put off by her because he is confident in herself, comfortable in her sexuality and is gorgeous.  It also seems that the media plays up that aspect of her and she makes it easy because she is complicit and sells it big time.

Here are some of her quotes from the interview.

How did you feel about being sexualized like that when you were 15?

I thought it was awesome. I was going to a Christian high school and I wasn’t a feminist yet. I hadn’t sat back and analyzed society yet. I was 15! I just did what I was told to do.

What did your parents think?

My mom was with me! I was always übersexual, so she wasn’t shocked. I was always wearing the smallest clothes I could find. I would go to the mall like that — in a short, short skirt and a giant wedge heel. That’s what you do when you’re a teenage girl in a small town.

You up for a third Transformers?

Sure. I mean, I can’t s— on this movie because it did give me a career and open all these doors for me. But I don’t want to blow smoke up people’s ass. People are well aware that this is not a movie about acting. And once you realize that, it becomes almost fun because you can be in the moment and go, ”All right, I know that when he calls Action! I’m either going to be running or screaming, or both.”

Then why are people so obsessed with you and hiring you for movies?

I can’t figure that out. I mean, Transformers made $700 million and that opened a door to introduce this ”new girl,” and I happened to be such an outrageous personality that people wanted to start writing about me because it was deemed controversial. I think if I had been a typical Hollywood actress and I said all the right things and I had been a publicity android, it wouldn’t have escalated to this level.

You’ve only done a couple of movies, so you’re still mostly known as a sex symbol rather than an actress.

It doesn’t bother me. I don’t know why someone would complain about that. That just means that the bar has been set pretty low. People don’t expect me to do anything that’s worth watching. So I can only be an overachiever. I think all women in Hollywood are known as sex symbols. That’s what our purpose is in this business. You’re merchandised, you’re a product. You’re sold and it’s based on sex. But that’s okay. I think women should be empowered by that, not degraded.

You also said that when you go to Hollywood parties you feel like chum to these creepy older guys…

I notice them circling me and deciding what their plan of attack is going to be, and I think that’s because I have this image of this little sex kitten — this oversexed wild child. So they think that I’m ready to throw down. And so everybody wants to try and, like, get in there. And I’m actually not that way at all.

I love the comment about how older guys look at younger women.  I have to say that I am impressed with her honesty about the misogyny in Hollywood and how younger women are treated.  They are like bait being dangled in front of sharks.  I have never read another young woman in her position ever being this honest about her work and the business.  She gets points for that.

I hope she is given opportunities to act in ways that are not only focused on her looks.  I’d love to see if she can actually act cause as of right now, I have no clue.

Megan Fox: Fallen Angel (EW)

Megan Fox Q&A: Her comic-book obsession, her raging libido, and more... (EW)

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kellie July 14, 2009 at 10:16 AM

I totally agree that this is refreshing but I wonder what she’ll say in an interview in 30 years time when she’s having to accept the fact that actually she never got the chance to overachieve, the low bar stayed pretty low because no one ever took her seriously enough to let her bring any of her intelligence to the screen. I’m not convinced by this sass. I think she has already been wrapped up in the “women as decoration” package and will crash and burn because of it when the next hot young thing comes along. I think Katharine Hepburn would be turning in her grave.

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! July 14, 2009 at 10:39 AM

yeah, I think she’s got some interesting things to say. I heard that she got casted in Jonah Hex and Fathom, so I look forward to what she’ll bring to these roles.

but I am afraid that she might be pigeon-holed into sex bombshell roles, and she keeps doing these racy photo shoots in a bikini. That’s not going to help her land good roles. She will have to prove herself. Maybe she might become the next big (female) action film star. who knows.

Karen July 14, 2009 at 10:33 PM

I appreciate her bluntness about the industry and wish her all the best in her career! That article was a good read.

ALLISON July 17, 2009 at 9:08 AM

Sorry, but I still don’t think much of this actress. She actually bashed Wonder Woman:

http://justjared.buzznet.com/2009/05/28/megan-fox-wonder-woman/

sally July 17, 2009 at 9:34 AM

Megan has some shame in her past. Do a search on news and you’ll find that part of her audition for the part in Transformers was her agreeing to washing the director’s car and being filmed doing it for his pleasure. Now the tape is missing. And the director had to admit it exists…and he’s lost it. I guess so when it shows up on the internets, he can avoid being called a liar.

deb July 19, 2009 at 6:27 PM

i must admit I like megan. I have seen quite a few of her interviews example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaRDoCiIWEI&feature=related and she comes off intelligent and self aware.

Although I do not necessarily see her as a feminist, she speaks her mind and that to me, for an actress in her position, is refreshing.

Laura July 21, 2009 at 8:18 AM

Sure she is confident about herself, but I still think that is outweighed by the message that she sends. The message that you have to be hot, sexy, and exploit your sexuality to be successful in Hollywood and to gain approval. I think Megan Fox is going to do a lot more than this interview to change my mind about her. But who knows, maybe I’m just stubborn.

Jennifer’s Body does look interesting though. I’m still debating whether it is feminist or not. I will probably go see it to support movies made by and starring women, but I’ll have to wait til I see it to once and for all decide if it is feminist. I wrote about the feminist implications of the trailer for Jennifer’s Body on my blog. Here is the link: http://youngfeministadventures.blogspot.com/2009/07/if-women-make-movies-is-it.html

Chris July 23, 2009 at 6:45 AM

She should meet the now 60 year old Meryl Streep, currently experiencing a huge box office wave, if she actually believes that sex appeal is the foremost thing an actress needs nowadays to achieve box-office success.

I don’t like Fox but the sad thing I’ll admit to is that she most likely won’t be given any opportunities to ‘overachieve’ as Hollywood ensures that the sex symbol tag for women is a hard one to eradicate. And ironically the problem is that they push the likes of Megan (and once upon a time Demi Moore for example) who audiences, when they stop drooling, find that they have no real emotional connection with.

Kayleigh September 18, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Kudos to her for admitting something that’s completely obvious. I don’t see that as evidence of intelligence.

Atom September 19, 2009 at 6:28 PM

I love that M. Fox’s self titling of “feminist” is enough to buy you cred in that political movement. Because she is exploiting herself, and is well aware of it-somehow it’s to be commended? Wouldn’t it be a real statement if she didn’t take these roles that require her to just be pretty?

iese and jordana December 24, 2009 at 2:51 AM

i want to fuck you megan fox.i have a really big dick just for you……………

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