Did We Fail Megan Fox?
Jennifer’s Body is for the girls and the gays.
(@meganfox / Instagram)
When you think of Megan Fox, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? For many, it’s the scene of Megan in a fitted tank, toying under the hood of a vintage car in the Transformers franchise — One of the only moments in her career that received an outpouring of attention. Unfortunately, that famous image catalyzed two years where she consistently dealt with oversexualization and misogyny.
Directly before getting cut from the Transformer’s universe, Megan talked candidly about working with director Michael Bay, citing that he was a ‘nightmare to work with’. Bay responded by calling her some horrendous names. To name a few: “thankless, classless, graceless, and shall we say unfriendly bitch.” And with that, Hollywood wrote off the actress as a girl with a pretty face and not much else.
Recently, however, the internet is reexamining whether this was a fair verdict. In a resurfaced interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Megan talked about how Bay made her do incredibly inappropriate things on camera at the age of 15.
Jimmy responded with, “That's really a microcosm of how all of our minds work, but some of us have the decency to repress those thoughts and pretend that they don't exist,” and proceeded to gift her a cartoon drawing of them in bed together. Gross. She’s visibly uncomfortable and the whole interaction is difficult to watch knowing nobody ever stood up for her.
It was as if the world refused to accept that she had it all. Stunning, smart and ridiculously talented. Megan was bold enough to bring up the injustices she faced within a climate where she knew she may not receive any support. And she didn’t. Although she should have been praised for speaking out, she was punished by the media and the industry. There was no #MeToo movement to back her up. Just classic, early 2000s bitchification.
"I was sorta out in front of the MeToo movement before the MeToo movement happened,” Megan said in an interview with Jennifer’s Body costar Diablo Cody. “I was speaking out and saying, ‘These things are happening to me and they're not okay.’ And everyone was like, ‘Oh fuck you, we don't care you deserve it… because of how you talk, because of how you look, because of how you dress, because of the jokes you make.’”
She was ridiculed for how she embraced her sexuality and her dry sense of humor. Nowadays, we’ve gotten a lot better at celebrating these attributes, but not too long ago, it was enough to destroy a deserving woman’s entire career.
Megan Fox is so much more than the hot girl next to Shia LaBeouf. She’s iconic mean girl Brianna in Holiday in the Sun and she’s the cold yet lovable Reagan on New Girl. And my personal favorite, the girl who eats boys for breakfast, Jennifer.
Jennifer’s Body, a 2009 horror flick about a virgin sacrifice gone wrong, is possibly one of the most misunderstood films of all time. Eleven years later, it’s finally being reclaimed as a feminist classic.
The sapphic representation between Jennifer and Needy was never meant to be fetishization, but instead an unapologetic depiction of a queer babe! On top of that, it was an interesting angle where Jennifer Check’s sexuality saved her from the satanic members of Low Shoulder, and in turn made them pay. It’s a powerful story for the girls and the gays, disguised behind a mocking lens of the male gaze.
Where did the film go wrong, then? In the marketing.
Although director Karyn Kusama and writer Diablo Cody made the film for young women, the marketing team relied on using Fox as a sex symbol, even suggesting that she ‘host an amateur porn site’ for promotion purposes, completely going against the creative intent of the movie.
Needless to say, when you market to teenage boys, the complexities of a monstrous, blood-thirsty Fox will be overlooked, and the reviews aren’t going to be great. While this should have been a next step in Fox’s career, sexist viewership missed the point. Jennifer’s Body is a camp masterpiece, that was always intentionally gauche.
Megan has recently spoken out about recent news coverage in an Instagram post.
Don’t let internalized misogyny trick you into not supporting and applauding Megan Fox just because a sexist narrative told you she can’t have it all.
Madeline Murphy is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She’s currently studying Journalism with a minor in Women’s Studies. Madeline can be found making Apple Music playlists, trying Nigella Lawson recipes and binging SATC. She’s fiercely passionate about social justice and the power of words.