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Shia LaBeouf: Megan Fox Is A “Spice Girl” Feminist

Here is your “What? … Wait…” moment of the day. According to her former Transformers co-star, Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox was fed up with being directed by Michael Bay because of her particular brand of feminism. A brand that he refers to as “Spice Girl.” Now, let’s hear him out first before our knee-jerk reaction to the words “Spice Girl” being applied to feminism about a decade and a half after it stopped being current pop culture reference. Because what he says makes a good deal of sense.

LaBeouf says that working on the set with Michael Bay, who shoots his movies with the adolescent boy in mind (not a secret) was hardly a pleasant experience for Fox, the object of desire for these adolescent boys. And while LaBeouf doesn’t elaborate, he says that while on a movie set with Bay, there isn’t enough time to ask someone politely “to just arch your back 70 degrees.” Which makes us wonder how pervy it could have gotten on that set since “arch your back 70 degrees” is already pretty pervy). And while her replacement, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, has had no complaints so far (that we know of), maybe the experience is a bit different for someone who was plucked out of nowhere to become a sex symbol than for someone who made their young career posing in lingerie for Victoria’s Secret (where she probably was asked to pose at all sorts of angles, acute, obtuse, right, etc.). LaBeouf says:

“Megan developed this Spice Girl strength, this woman-empowerment [stuff] that made her feel awkward about her involvement with Michael, who some people think is a very lascivious filmmaker, the way he films women … This is a girl who was taken from complete obscurity and placed in a sex-driven role in front of the whole world and told she was the sexiest woman in America. And she had a hard time accepting it.”

Okay, let’s take a look back at the Spice Girls and their “Girl Power” refrain that ruled the late 1990s, early 2000s. They were marketed as five (and then four) girls with “individual” styles who were more about banding together than seeking out boys. And those styles, while tacky-to-the-max and often risqué, were meant to reflect what made each girl feel good about themselves. They were bubblegum, they were cheesy … but this was actually not a bad message to send girls. (As long as their younger audience wasn’t trying to dress like that, then we’re all good.) They were about individuality, friendship, and fun. And once in a while, they sang about a crush.

Who’s to say that while Megan Fox forged this identity as a pinup, it was something she did willingly? She really did come out of nowhere, but she was an undeniably beautiful girl and she embraced that. Being a hot girl certainly got her a lot of attention, and while she made all those “hot” lists, she naturally tried to turn that star power into acting gigs (while occasionally mentioning that she was really a quiet geek at heart). Clearly, she hasn’t had much luck (even though I maintain that her performance in Jennifer’s Body was completely overlooked and underrated), but the girl can stand up for herself and say “I’m done with this Michael Bay tripe.”

Although it’d be nice of Shia LeBeouf himself hadn’t completely copped out on actually voicing an opinion of his own on the matter.  ”Megan developed” “made her feel awkward” “some people think,” yeah, okay Shia. Grow a pair and tell us if whether it made you feel awkward, and whether you think Michael Bay is lascivious. Don’t leave your costar of two movies out on a freakin’ limb. Even if your actual feelings on the matter might jeopardize your relationship with Michael Bay, you don’t need a fourth Transformers movie that badly.

Wishful thinking aside, LaBeouf’s message is that Megan Fox can be a hot girl in a movie without being treated like a blow-up doll. I’m sure she’d much rather work on something fun that flopped than something degrading that made millions of dollars. And can we really blame her for that?

Also, fun project for anyone with a protractor: Is this a 70 degree angle?

(AV Club)

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  • Kristin Garrett

    NO… just, NO. She is NOT the victim. She could easily say NO to being a ‘sex symbol’ (which is pretty farfetched, considering how unattractive myself and a great deal of other people find her). She could have said ‘No’ to the train wreck that was Jennifer’s Body.

    She just loves to play the martyr.

  • Martin Pelletier

    See, if the Transformers movies were about, say, robots instead of humans, we’d only have to worry about Arcee arching her back 70 degrees.

  • Sarah Rice

    I remember watching the first Transformers movie.  I had two recurring thoughts.  1) Can we please get back to the giant robots because this guy is whiny and annoying? and 2) Why does she have to end up with either guy?  I don’t like either of them.

  • Sarah Rice

    I remember watching the first Transformers movie.  I had two recurring thoughts.  1) Can we please get back to the giant robots because this guy is whiny and annoying? and 2) Why does she have to end up with either guy?  I don’t like either of them.

  • Shannon Halliwell

    I don’t know how I feel about this. On one hand I do feel that being thrust into a situation like this must be very challenging (sex symbol, celebrity), there are as we all know far too much weight put on the level of sex appeal a woman generates in the media. However, what is being implied here is sexual harassment by the director. Just because someone is or is not used to working in the industry does not make it ok on any level to do that. But I’m not sure if that is what is being said here either. If she was being sexual harassed in that way, would we not have heard about it sooner? Could the people around her be so unaware of the verbal abuse that it has taken this long to hear about it? That is why I have my doubts as to the validity of this information. 

  • Frodo Baggins

    Come on. I know beauty’s in the eye of the beholder and all that shit, but ANYONE can see she’s proportionately even, toned, curvaceous and smooth-skinned. Are aesthetic standards not ridiculously high enough, that we need to start calling Megan Fox ugly?

    Most people who say that just hate her vapid, uninteresting persona and complete lack of acting talent (which I totally agree with), and want to assert their superior taste by criticizing her looks.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Would it be giving The Beef too much credit to interpret his statement as a commentary on Megan Fox’s particular understanding of feminism as epitomized by the Spice Girls, rather than an evaluation of the movement as a whole?

  • Anonymous

    I’m frankly baffled by this attitude.  A lot of us work in industries that need to change.  Does drawing a paycheck mean that we’re not allowed to criticize them?  Does taking a job you’re not proud of nullify your right to show awkwardness at that job?

    Which, remember, is exactly what’s purported to have happened here.  Fox isn’t running to the newspapers to call Bay a sexist.  This is something about Fox that somebody noticed.  But, even if it was her making the complaint, she shouldn’t have to pass some kind of pin-up purity test before she’s permitted to call out a creepy letch of a director.

  • Anonymous

    Could the people around her be so unaware of the verbal abuse that it has taken this long to hear about it?


    If it’s pervasive in the industry and they’ve just gotten used to it.
    If they’re afraid of pissing off a director with a lot of power.
    If they find excuses for it (“That’s just how Michael is”).
    And, my
    personal favorite, if they just think she’s asking for it by virtue of
    being a sex symbol.

  • Emma Jones

    I read the comments LaBeouf made on another website, which bashed him for his word choice, making him out to be criticizing her, and I immediately thought ‘Honestly, he sounds sympathetic, more than anything.’ Yeah, he isn’t coming out and saying ‘This made me uncomfortable, and it was understandable why she felt this way,’ but he does seem bothered by it, nonetheless.

    I’m glad this article isn’t jumping to conclusions. I think he just chose the wrong way to express those feelings; we all make wrong word choices from time-to-time. We just don’t always have them recorded.

    And yeah, that looks about 70 degrees. It’s about halfway between 90 and 45, from what I reckon.

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  • Wesley Smith

    True. She could have easily turned down the incredible amount of money, power and prestige which were thrown at her. Everyday millions of people decide that the possibility of becoming an international superstar just isn’t for them.

    I’m not the president of the Megan Fox Fanclub, but to say that she could have chosen not to pursue the easiest path to stardom–when that was her goal in becoming a movie actress–is kind of like saying you can choose to not swim toward the surface of the water when you’re drowning.

  • Anonymous

  • Mo Jiwa

    It’s nothing new to do work you don’t want to do for the sake of pleasing the boss, or making money etc… Any of you with 9-5 office jobs will have probably lost count of how many times you’ve stayed till 7-8 or even 9pm because you felt it was “expected” of you to get work done – even though that’s complete rubbish. But you don’t want to upset the boss, because work is not easy to come by. And for a new starter like Megan Fox was, upsetting a huge director like Michael Bay would not be the wisest move. Now that she has her fame, she can also make a stand and say “no, I don’t want to do that any more”.
    Also, I stand by Jamie on his comments about Jennifer’s Body – highly underrated. 

  • Anonymous

    This actually gives me some respect for Megan Fox. Yup, some people will just say ‘why’d she take the role if she hated it so much?’, but it isn’t easy for a struggling actor, particularly for women – she had to take what she could get. And yes, she made lots of money from the Transformers movies, but she also became the most hated woman in America in the process (for some reason I’ve never understood).

    Kudos to her for saying no to a third one. I hope now she can make the kind of films she really wants to make.

  • Anonymous

  • Anonymous

    If ya wannabe Meg’s lover, ya gotta get with her friends.

  • Anonymous

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t she just say NO to being a ‘sex symbol’, as well as ‘No’ to the train wreck I have to assume* Transformers Three is?

    What part of anything was martyrdom?

    *not to say it can’t be enjoyable, or won’t be successful, but it doesn’t look like a good movie to me.

  • Jessica Awad

    I love her. And Jennifer’s Body was an awesome movie.

  • Shannon Dixon

    good on her!