After writing my previous post on men’s fitness, I started thinking about how their bodies are exposed the media in comparison to women’s. You’d have to live in a cave (or coffin) to avoid all the Eclipse hoopla this month. And, you’d have to be in denial to be unaware of all the drooling over Taylor Lautner who plays Jacob Black, a werewolf and love interest for Bella Swan in the Twilight series.
Yet, I have to say, even though I think he’s attractive and the movie creators knew what they were doing to cast him without a shirt for most of the film, I’m a little creeped out by all the sexual exploitation this guy is facing.
I mean, yeah, women go through this stuff all the time, but it’s very interesting how much sex, his body and his character (and therefore him, in real life) are connected (which is funny because his character doesn’t have sex).
In fact, so far, no one is having sex in the Twilight films — and maybe, it’s this presence of desire without fulfillment that make people think it’s ok to objectify him? Hmm… I’m not so sure it’s works that way.
Anyway, what got me thinking was the Twilight special on Jimmy Kimmel. Every question from the predominantly female audience was about the male characters’ sex life or bodies. One girl even asked Taylor Lautner to lift up his shirt so she could see his sixpack. Kimmel said it was probably sexual harassment, but I couldn’t help but wonder how difficult it must be for Lautner to be a male sex object at such a young age and with such a fierce following.
Lautner can’t even get away from it on set. According to some quotes by co-star Robert Pattinson, he even gets teased while wearing spandex. I’m sure it’s all in good fun, but how far will it go among his fans and in the film industry? Will he forever be typecast as Jacob Six Pack? At least people aren’t throwing blood on him like Pattinson experienced last year, but that doesn’t discount the crazed attention he receives. Is this the new sexism? Or are we tipping the scales toward balance?
Even Jezebel found reasons why they think it’s alright to objectify men in a piece about World Cup players. Yet, I’m still not convinced this is a step toward equality.
Not sure how men can be treated as objects? For a look at some pretty intense instances of sexual objectification of men’s bodies, look at this slide show by Trend Hunter.