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.”
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!
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?