Entertainment And News

What We Got Wrong About Megan Fox & Why We Owe Her A Huge Apology

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Megan Fox

In the era of #MeToo and #FreeBritney, righting wrongs with female stars is something we’re becoming increasingly familiar with. But there’s one woman whose apology is long overdue: Megan Fox.

Fox is having something of a renaissance these days, celebrated now rather than sexualized and critiqued. 

The script has flipped and women are finally able to object to being objectified. But we forget that Fox was one of the authors of this script, we just weren’t willing to listen to her.

In an interview with InStyle, Fox has discussed her reemergence into the spotlight, thanks to her high-profile relationship with Machine Gun Kelly, and opened up about what pushed her out of the limelight in the first place.

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Megan Fox saw Hollywood’s mistreatment of women before we did. 

In 2009, Fox was on a press tour for “Jennifer’s Body,” a film that was misrepresented as a smutty horror film for men before it eventually resurged as a feminist classic.

Fox, already in the midst of sexist press, became the victim of intensified abuse after she labeled “Transformers” director, Michael Bay, a “nightmare to work for.”

Bay enlisted the help of male crew members to target the then-23-year-old in a scathing, misogynistic letter that would end any director’s career today. 

“Megan really is a thankless, classless, graceless, and shall we say unfriendly b****,” the letter read. “Maybe, being a porn star in the future might be a good career option.”

The same year, Fox appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” discussing working with Bay for the first time when she was just 15. 

Fox opened up about Bay’s idea for a scene involving her “dancing underneath a waterfall getting soaking wet." 

"At 15, I was in 10th grade. So that’s sort of a microcosm of how Bay’s mind works,” she said.

Fox, clearly trying to explain an uncomfortable, deeply inappropriate experience is met with laughter from Kimmel and his audience. 

In the aftermath of the public feud with Bay, Fox was fired from the third installment of “Transformers” and only appeared in a handful of movies during the 2010s.

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The #MeToo movement left Fox behind.

Her disappearance from our screens was the kind of thing that would make a problematic star cry “cancel culture” these days, but Fox wasn’t in the wrong here — she was just ahead of her time.

By the end of the decade, calling out the kind of mistreatment Fox experienced was not only accepted but encouraged. The #MeToo Movement has trained us to keep a critical eye on stories like hers. 

But the movement left behind women like Fox. In 2018, she revealed that she feared she wasn’t “likable” enough for people to believe her #MeToo experiences.

“I just didn’t think based on how I’d been received by people, and by feminists, that I would be a sympathetic victim,” she said. 

Fox’s lack of “likability” betrays a weakness in modern feminism. Physically, Fox resembles all that men desire so, inevitably, women despise her. 

She challenged both ideals of feminity and powerful men in a way that her era did not really know how to process.

"I was brought out and stoned and murdered at one point," Fox said recently. "And then suddenly everybody's like, 'Wait a second. We shouldn't have done that. Let's bring her back.'"

A shift in culture has vindicated her somewhat, but we ought to acknowledge how we failed her in the past. 

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Fox is still targeted for mom-shaming. 

That said, Fox still has not been let off the hook entirely. Returning to the spotlight as a 35-year-old divorced mother-of-three has opened her up to a whole new brand of criticism: mom-shaming.

Fox is still as disruptive as ever, breaking the new boxes people insist on putting her into. How the critics represent her now entirely exemplifies the Madonna-whore complex.

They want her to be sexy so she can’t possibly be a good mother. Fox says she can’t escape questions about where her kids are whenever she goes out in public with MGK.

“You don't expect a dad to be with the kids all the time, but I'm supposed to not be seen and be at home with my kids. They have another parent,” she says. 

Ironically, Machine Gun Kelly is also a father but doesn’t receive any of the same criticisms. 

Fox also opened up about the backlash she received for dating a younger man, yet another unfair double-standard she has been subjected to. "You want to talk about patriarchy?" she said. "The fact that he's four years younger than me, and people want to act like I'm dating a younger man.”

Keep in mind, Brian Austen Green, Fox’s ex, was 12 years older than her and is now dating a 36-year-old — all without receiving backlash. 

Like most criticisms of Fox, these ageist comments say more about those making them than they do about her. Perhaps if Hollywood had not hyper-sexualized Fox since she was 15 years old, we would be more aware that she’s far from being a “cougar.”

Though we don’t deserve her forgiveness, an apology for Fox is definitely necessary for the wrong of the past and present.

As per usual, Fox is being unapologetic in how she takes up space in an industry that has not always welcomed her. Maybe someday we’ll catch up.

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Catch her covering all things social justice, news, and entertainment. Keep up with her Twitter for more.