In the mid- 2000s, Megan Fox was basically every single straight teenage boy’s crush, and who could blame them? Fox had her main claim to fame in the Transformers movies, however, she also had been modeling since she was a young teen. She also appeared in Bad Boys II as an extra in a strip club at the age of 15, something that would probably not be approved of today.
Fox’s role in Transformers catered perfectly to the ideal image that appealed to the heterosexual male. She was pretty, wore revealing clothing, had nice features and arguably attracted a lot of people to watch the Transformers movies. After this role, Fox was then hypersexualized in the industry, became a victim of typecasting and was likely harassed on multiple occasions.
Typecasting occurs when actors or actresses are unable to break away from the image that a casting director has in their head. In Fox’s case, she was often offered roles as the “hot girl” or placed in a film as “eye candy.” When she was offered auditions for different roles, some of these became sexualized as well. Fox tried to branch out and take on a few more serious roles like in Passion Play or Jonah Hex, however, the movies themselves didn’t do that well. Although, instead of having the opportunity to try again and do another movie or two, she was unable to change the perception people had of her: that she was only good at being a sex symbol and not at genuine acting, even though it was the movie content that made the films do poorly, not her acting.
When Fox publicly stated her love-hate relationship with her role in Transformers, many people came for her neck for being ungrateful or labeled her as stuck up. It’s no surprise that the entertainment industry can be very sexist, but it is still shocking to see the drastic comparison in reactions from the public about similar situations. For instance, Robert Pattinson has explicitly stated his regret for taking on the role of Edward Cullen in the Twilight movies yet was still respected by the industry. He even went on to make many more movies after Twilight and was successful in breaking away from that image. Fox, on the other hand, faced a lot of outward hate, specifically from Michael Bay who directed Transformers. He suggested that she was being ungrateful and that “nobody in the world knew about [her] until [he] found her and put her in Transformers.” On several other occasions, Bay stated how Fox was arrogant and hard to work with. However, despite the tension between both of them, Fox defended Bay when there were rumours about him sexually preying on her, which goes to show how the statements she made were never a personal attack but rather an explanation for why she left the films.
While Megan Fox has expressed her discomfort with the over-sexualization of herself and has hinted at her own experiences of harassment, no one ever seemed to care. Some men thought that she should just look pretty without talking and some women were envious of the attention that other males would give her. Despite the persona that is associated with Megan Fox, she is quite different in real life. When revealing stories from her past, she would crack jokes or lightly brush off her less than okay experiences. However, people don’t realize that not being an openly distraught victim is not an excuse to think that her experiences were okay or justifiable by any means. Fox once stated that she didn’t feel as if people would ever be sympathetic to her experiences based on the ways she’s been treated by both men and women. As a result, she actually hasn’t shared many explicit examples of her past because of this, as well as the intense amount of exaggeration and changing of stories by the media.
When I say that we failed Megan Fox, I mean everyone: the film industry, males, females and the general public. Despite the fact that Megan Fox is a pretty woman, she is also a human being, yet she was barely treated as such. People thought that her prettiness made her life easy when it was actually quite the opposite. Sure, she may not be a perfect individual or even someone that you personally like or find attractive, but she deserved to be treated with respect.