Jailbait

TaylorLautner1

Taylor Lautner on GQ. Photo Credit: Gossip Teen

I woke up to a horrendous display of advertisement–or really, it was a rerun clip of Access Hollywood‘s Shaun Robinson interviewing Taylor Lautner in the “New Moon” premiere in Westwood a couple weeks ago. Robinson is seen showing off a shirtless Mattel doll version of Lautner’s character, Jacob Black, and asking him of his opinion. Lautner was embarrassed–seemed uncomfortable. The whole thing was sort of awkward. You could see it for yourself at the end of the entry. Over at Twitter, a female friend of mine joked about how she was counting down the day that Lautner turns legal. He is only 17, but in the words of Jacob Black, “Age is just a number, baby.”

Britney1999

Britney Spears was 17 on April 1999 cover of Rolling Stone, Photo Credit: Dolly Mix

I have to admit, I am interested in this Taylor Lautner phenomena, mainly because of the ramifications that who he is and what he’s done is steering the change of how we view masculinity and femininity today. Don’t quite follow me yet? Take for example this countdown that a fan made to countdown the days that Lautner turns 18. Now let’s go backwards in time–countdowns like this have been used to celebrate past “jail-baits” as Britney Spears, the Olsen Twins, and Lindsay Lohan. Grown men that counted down the days were seen as perverted and disgusting. Now, fast forward to 2009. It’s the women’s turn. Now, I’m all about equal opportunity, but are women getting as much flak ove their comments on Lautner and the fact that he is “jailbait?”

I don’t think so–and definitely not at the same degree as men. Actually, there isn’t much clatter about cougars eyeing the shirtless Lautner, except on sites like Just Mommies, a message board for moms. So apparently, it’s okay that a shirtless seventeen-year-old boy can pose provocatively, but when a seventeen-year-old girl (and she doesn’t have to be shirtless, i.e., Britney Spears) poses provocatively, it turns heads. Double standard?

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I discovered that they made a more realistic Taylor Lautner-Jacob Black action figure. And yep, you guessed it, he’s shirtless. I have to agree with fellow blogger,  Nobody Puts Baby in a Horner, when the blogger writes:

“I’m not saying that you can’t have him as your object of lust-eyes because you can do whatever you want, but I am saying it’s difficult to forget how, unless you’re another teenager, those lust-eyes are technically statuatory-rape-eyes.  Sure, the thought police aren’t throwing anyone in jail over the a few idle thoughts, but still: He’s only seventeen, so YIKES!!!”

Yes, big YIKES!!! With 3 exclamation marks means extreme warning. I don’t know whose bright idea it was to create such an action figure. Apparently, it was revealed in Comic Con for the Twihards (a term for die-hard Twilight fans). Poor Taylor Lautner. Poor Tay-Tay. Will he ever escape his identity of just being eye-candy instead of being an actor? I mean, that is what he wants–to be recognized for his acting talent. A Showbiz Spy article reveals Lautner’s ultimate desire:

“I worked hard to get in shape for this role,” Lautner explains. “My motivation was the movie and the fans, but I don’t want to become known as just a body. If I had to choose, I would never take my shirt off again in a movie, but I guess that’s not very realistic. I certainly won’t be asking to do it, though.”

Well, that’s a start. I’m no fortune teller, but I predict that the next few roles you’re going to get will continue to exploit you. Sex sells, eh?

Now you may be thinking, what’s the big deal? Am I advocating that it’s okay for older people–men and women–to lust over underage teens as long as there is equal flak on both sides? No. I’m just quite concerned that people forget that Lautner is still a boy with a man’s body–well, at least until February 11, 2010. People should stop and take a look at themselves. Let me repeat again, he’s 17!

jacobblackactionfigure

Jacob Black action figure. Photo Credit: Twilight Book Addicts

Now, you might be saying for me to take a look at myself, that I’m just jealous that I don’t look like him. Heck ya I’m jealous–me and every guy that doesn’t look like him gets jealous. And the men of the world felt the same way when 300 came out. But that’s exactly how Lautner is changing, or rather, adding to masculinity. Men are running to the gym again, and cougars are on the prowl. Now, women are the ones with the “lustful eyes” and men are the ones “lusted after.” As 2009 comes to a close, we find ourselves at a changing landscape: the image of “jailbait” isn’t a girl; it’s a boy…a really buff boy at that.

What do you think?

“Do not get me upset. Things are gonna get very ugly!” – Jacob Black in “New Moon”

Advertisements

36 Comments

Filed under Entertainment, Issues/Causes, Masculinity, Movies/TV

36 responses to “Jailbait

  1. TheCougar

    So now that more men are being looked at as a piece of meat by women, do you feel that men should be comfortable with being pursued instead of doing the pursuing? Some role reversal?

    BTW, I think the count for how many guys were waiting until Emma Watson turned 18 is much larger than for Taylor. But I still think its creepy when 40 year old married women are lusting after him. At least I am single, and not too much older than him…

    • Gio

      I think there’s been some role reversal since James Dean and Clark Gable stepped into the scene and became sex symbols. They were “looked at as a piece of meat by women” of the time. I think what’s considered attractive has changed. I think it wasn’t until “300” that women could shamelessly do what men have always done, mainly because it was one of the first movies in history where almost all the men were half naked during the entire movie. you couldn’t escape this fact. and whereas men didn’t usually worry about how their bodies looked too much (i.e., as the saying goes, it was “the clothes that made the man”), since “300” that all changed. It was how men looked under those clothes that mattered for both men and women, thus making our image-focused society just that.

  2. Interesting topic. Good point by Gio. Well I think you should feel comfortable both as hunter, hunted, vice-versa and the reverse of the symmetric. Bacall was 19 when she appeared in “To Have and Have Not.” There were cougars when Newman, Brando, Redford, etc. started out.

    I won’t surely be running to any gym because of an underage boy-wolf. Besides, you have muscle-boys doing action b-movies (or a-movies, alright, alright) since the 1950s, I’d say.

    Op. cit. Gio, “It was how men looked under those clothes that mattered for both men and women”. Well, I’d put it like this: it didn’t really matter if they were dressed or not, they had enough character not to, tough Bogie did take his shirt off a couple o’ times!

    Well, I wish that kid the best – he’s no Max Schreck, in terms of acting – but he’s only 17 indeed. Let’s hope (for the sanity and nerves of cougars) that he doesn’t look like Schrek in 10 years!

    The only change I see is the amount of skin shown. Cheers.

    • Gio

      You’re right–I think back then (circa 1930s to 1950s), we relied more on acting–how they made the character. In my generation…well, it sometimes seems what an actor is willing to do. For example, some actresses refuse to film sex scenes, which is part of their clause if they work on a movie. I reckon it’s because the actresses want to focus on the acting and not on the sex. Which, is pretty much the same thing Lautner wants–to be recognized for his acting, NOT his body.

      And yes, the amount of skin shown has changed. More guys are showing off their skin.

      By the way, I love the Maltese Falcon–classic, mysterious, fun. Glad you’re bringing classic movies back. There was a different kind of masculinity displayed back then too.

      • Well, I don’t mean to discuss the youngster’s talent. I’m sure he deserves the part for that talent, and not only his muscle-building. Back in those days – and in terms of behaviour and clothing – things were more modest in general. Different times. You did have some “muscle parts” back then (maybe the muscle wasn’t so athletic as nowadays).

        I guess the industry (especially Hollywood) has always been demanding in general terms, whether it’s the 1940s or the 21st Century. I don’t like to say “those were the days of real acting!” – it’s unfair. Just because my personal taste converges on older flicks, doesn’t mean they are actually better.

        About the relying more on acting back then…well, partially true. I mean, we are constantly presented nowadays with fine acting from “pretty boys” such as Pitt, di Caprio…it’s a matter of taste but you can see an evolution; they can play pretty, and they can play tough.

        The “Maltese Falcon” is pure Bogie! If you dig it, and you haven’t seen “Dark Passage”, I recommend it – IMO it’s a bit underrated.

        Actually, thanks to your post I come to see that, in general terms, things haven’t changed that much. Perhaps just a bit of an increase on appearance… and that blaspheme CGI, – who doesn’t love those special effects from horror b-movies?! Hehe!

        Cheers.

  3. vodkabeforenoon

    The action figures are made for teen fans not for pedo bears. 😛 Yes, sex does sell but to younger fans. The books were written for a teen audience…

    Being almost 27 year old woman I do not understand the fuss. Taylor Lautner is ugly and too young to stimulate my interest.

    http://anlimarey.wordpress.com

  4. apocalypsecakes

    Everyone is meat. It’s nice to feel like meat sometimes.

  5. Kevin

    I find this phenomenon interesting, too. Like I mentioned in my post on New Moon (http://kevinshaw.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/new-moon-same-mood/), there was an audible reaction in the theatre when Jacob tears off his shirt the first time–and not just from tweens and teens!

    • Gio

      There was a huge reaction in the movie theater too when Bella is bleeding from her head and Jacob just happens to think that taking off his shirt would help stop the bleeding. Actually, I remember the dad’s in the theater wolf whistling–which made some people laugh.

  6. mgast94

    i am madly in love with Tylor

  7. mgast94

    I meant Taylor

  8. Pingback: Taking the Editor’s Eye to Society « Edit Everything

  9. Aw, he’s hot.

    I’m seventeen so yey, i can gape all i want.

    But on a mum site?

    Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

    I feel sorry for actors.

    Twilight sucks, however, books and films, but I’m sure I could get through it if he’s on screen.

    Nah, lol, still too much.

    ><

    http://lunckyinc.wordpress.com/

    x

  10. haha taylor lautner is sexy

  11. rantingcynic

    I would agree with this… It does feel like the “standard double standard” to me as well.

  12. I am a mom, I have read the Twilight books, and have seen the movies. I have some difficulties (Personal Values) with the books and movies, however, this series brought me closer to my 17 year old Step-daughter. It was something we had in common, and she just loved the books. So when the movies come out, we ditch the younger siblings with dad and hit the movies.

    Men for a long time have been oogaling young stars, mature stars, the media playing into this, Demi Moore photocrop horror….. This is where we are letting society go, its the people driving this. Now its just not young girls and women being pressured to look perfect. Now we start seeing young boys with eating disorders.

    I don’t think its ever been so much the “lusting” after young good looking stars. Its just that with a gym and and good diet, who at 17, can’t look good?

    With the awkardness of puberty over, and the wrinkles still a ways off. This age group has become an ideal 17-25.

    Society is obsessed with staying and looking young, so, it becomes natural to “lust” after that young, buff, non-wrinkley, non-saggy, minus beer gut and hairy belly.

    Young is always beautiful… but lets just hope when the youth fades there is something there behind it.

    • Gio

      Thank for sharing this. Some psychologists think the number of male eating disorders are higher, because it often gets unreported. Eating disorders tend to be stereotypically female so sometimes males with the disorder go unchecked.

  13. I find your points hold merit and there has definitely been a role reversal here. However, what really strikes me is the whole double standard. A while back when Miley Cyrus posed provocatively for a magazine she, her father, and the magazine were scrutinized and whole topic of pornography came up. Yet, when under-aged boys, such as Taylor pose shirtless, which is no less provocative, in various magazines there is no outrage or controversy. He is not labeled a “bad influence” as Cyrus was.

    What does this say about our society? That women and girls are sole the vessels for honor, chastity, and responsibility but not men or boys? That a woman or girl’s innocence should be protected even against her will but not a man or boy’s? Why does the topic of pornography not come up with Taylor’s magazine photos as it did with Cyrus’?

    Though, I do not at all advocate the sexualization of young girls and boys in the media, or think that Cyrus is a deserving example of greatness (thought she serves her purpose here), I also find the above stated double standard to be ridiculous, narrow-minded, and infuriating. Children, including Taylor, because that’s what he is, are children and wheatear or not they are girls or boys the exploitation of children, especially sexual exploitation (even if they are actors), is distasteful. Adults should know that and stop perverting themselves over these disturbing countdowns.

    BTW, I found Taylor’s acting to be far better than that of his peers in the movie, though it is still a bit amateur. He, however, does show potential.

    • Gio

      Thank you so much! That was the whole point of why I wrote it. And your Myley Cyrus point was dead on. I remember the controversy too, especially when she was dancing on an ice cream pole at the Nickolodeon Choice Awards. That stirred waves.

  14. This new fad is NOT an indication of any basic change at all, especially not of a change in the double standard. The double standard just IS. It is because men and women are different.

    Many surveys have shown that it’s men who lust after having a body like that shirtless muscleboy toy. Women may respond to his beautiful, intense eyes but will not be trying to take advantage of him. He’s perfectly safe among women. Among men, maybe not so much.

  15. To be completely honest, as a Twilight fan, a Lautner fan, and an eighteen-year-old, Taylor’s half-nudity did not bother me at all.

    However, I’m bothered by the fact that his physique has become such an issue. People should love Taylor for his acting skills and values, not the shape of his biceps. And though there is nothing wrong with admiring someone’s beauty (female or masculine), the bodies of celebrities like Britney Spears and even Taylor have become much too popular. There is a fine line between admiration and lust, and society is definitely jumping it.

    I watched New Moon because I love Jacob Black’s character. And I love Taylor Lautner because he embodies Jacob’s character so well. Would I date him if he asked? Heck yeah, but it’s not just because of what he looks like. And I refuse to take it as far as others are.

  16. If you are going to pose in the public eye showing off your body (male or female) people are going to look at you and think cooor what a body!

    Human nature that’s all…

  17. Blade

    I hate vampires.

  18. JD

    Nice read… good thing i’m not that older than him. 🙂

  19. eva2ava

    I suppose feminists really should be blamed for a lot of the buillshit that involves equality. Men have a fascination with girls turning 18 (or 16 in 3 states I believe) because the US justice system has pounded into them that this statutory line must not be crossed. And until the recent surge of teachers taking full advantage of their boy students and getting jailed for it, there has always been a double standard when it comes to who men should and shouldn’t screw, and who women should and shoudn’t screw. [The caveat for the female teacher thing, btw, is that it is more about power and vanity, than it is about sex.]

    If men objectify women, and it can be a good thing, or bad. Being objectified isn’t always bad. Seriously, I don’t always need someone to like me for my mind. And I don’t have a problem with the road going both ways.

    The line that is drawn for statutory rape is fairly arbitrary. The key is that, on a case by case basis, should lusting after a 17 year old, or 16, or 15… be ok. Would I personally date/sleep with a 17 year old? Unlikely. But if he showed the same qualities that I like in older men, then I don’t see the problem.

  20. New moon syndrom is huge.
    Why do people cazy about vampire and wolfman?

  21. Pingback: Live Free or Twi-Hard: A Guy’s Perspective On Women’s Perspective of the Twilight Series « Identity Revealed

  22. Pingback: Disenchanted « The Grrl in the Moon

  23. Pingback: Destiny according to “Twilight” « 4th Point

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s