I went to see the epic summer blockbuster Transformers 2, in the epic Imax this week. To put what I am about to say in context this was a big deal for me. I love this stuff: robots, action, love, goodies, baddies, and well unexpectedly lots of doe-eyed ridiculously attractive mouth-slightly-ajar 18 year old girls. And it was here that I actually started to feel slightly uncomfortable.
For those of you who have not seen the film, let me briefly paint the picture. The cast mainly consists of some robots (all lead ones male); a lead teenage boy; two parents; lots of ‘average’ college boys; and, the aforementioned teenage girls. Our lead male goes to college, where, it appears that to gain entrance as a women you need to have taken a very different kind of exam. One akin to working at Abercrombie and Fitch. Literally nearly every woman said nothing, but looked exactly like she had stepped out of the 2007 FHM calendar.
The most perfect scene to highlight my point is a college lecture. A geeky, cocky lecturer type (played by an ‘average’ looking US comic, who I vaguely recognised), talks to a room full of geeky boys, and the spawn of Cindy Crawford, Giselle and Kate Moss, all sitting, gorgeously, doe-y eyed, mouth slightly open (you get the picture). The lecturer takes a bite of his apple, then drops it suggestively to the floor, at which point we cut to the class full of young women as they pant and gasp as if Brad Pitt is doing unmentionables to them under the desk, to which he responds “you can eat that later”. WTF!?
“Hold on”, I hear you cry. What about the second lead in the movie, the side-kick, power woman that is Megan Fox. Now, for those of you who saw the first movie, she was a tough, fighting, side-kick cookie. Well it seems as she was deemed so ‘successful’ to the audience in that movie, that they now perfected her into the perfect character … a blow up doll, but one that miraculously runs in her heels while a 100 ton robot chases her. (And keeps her lipstick on her perfectly always puckered lips even whilst having running 15 miles through the desert.) She is so gratuitously shot by the filmmaker that in her opening scene, as she leans over a motorcycle, whilst the camera travels up her leg to her short skirt, that at least 80 per cent of the cinema audience crossed their legs.
Now admittedly as a 30 year old women I am not in the 13-23 yr old young male demographic that Dreamworks and Paramount are aiming at. And don’t get me wrong I loved the movie. But come on guys (and it sadly was guys who would have made every part of it … but that’s another blog)! I know 16 year old boys are gonna literally wet themselves over this, and you’ll make tons of Disney dollars, but surely there has to be a line. Even if young women are not the intended audience what is this saying to young men? It’s sex on a stick, it’s verging – at points – on pornographic. The sadder point is that if Hollywood has chosen to put ‘normal’ girls in the college scenes, they would probably wear glasses and fall over in the corridor holding a pile of big books.
It takes simple measures: lose the lecturer scene, please. Don’t so blatantly objectify one of Hollywood’s most rising young stars (it’s sad that Megan Fox is basically manipulated to become the porn pinup for the wii generation.)
If we don’t draw a line on the representation of women in these movies somewhere, the big issue is how far will it go until it stops?
Transformers I love you dearly, but please realise the power you have to talk to a mass audience and give young women some dignity and respect, because at the end of the day that’s what this film has a huge lack of.