When I write about Outlander, I try to keep the blog light and funny and I think I succeed most of the time. But lately something’s been bothering me that I can no longer hold down without risk of a stroke. It’s been the talk of Twitter and Facebook, so I’m sure many of you have seen the latest photo of Sam Heughan released by Starz. I don’t have an opinion on, nor do I want to make assumptions about, their motivation other than it’s simply a great photo, but I do want to discuss the fan reaction to that photo.
Someone has lightened the image in an attempt to get a clearer view up his kilt and this lightened image has been making the social-media rounds. Along with posting this newly edited version, women are posting juvenile and degrading remarks about him and his underwear or lack thereof.
I can’t believe I have to preface these statements with the following, but here goes. I’m not a prude. I’m a normal woman who enjoys looking at good looking men. In fact, I’ve been looking at and admiring good looking men for years, for decades even! This is not that. This is an attempt to objectify and demean a fellow human being by attempting to see and discuss his genitalia. Is this what we’ve become? Do we now completely lack any moral compass or hint of decency? Ladies, we are better than this! Just because you have the anonymity of the internet, does not mean it’s okay to make these remarks. In plain English, it is wrong.
Imagine for a moment that the same thing had been done to Mr. Heughan’s female co-star. Can you begin to grasp the size of the uproar that would have occurred if a male viewer lightened a photo taken up her skirt then posted it on line along with degrading comments? It would be bedlam as people of both sexes jumped to her defense and demanded the invasion of privacy be halted. So why is it okay to do this to him? Because he’s a man? Are men no longer allowed dignity and privacy? Are there no boundaries or decency left for someone who’s in the public eye? (Shall we just tell him, ‘Congratulations, you’re a good looking, skilled actor who for years has sacrificed and worked yourself to exhaustion to get to this level and now that you’ve arrived, we’ve decided to reward you by degrading you and taking away your humanity?) Ladies, is this how we want to be perceived? Have we become people who will do or say anything despite its disrespectful and prurient tone? I know we can be better than this; we need to set the bar higher and not behave like the lowest common denominator.
This does not mean we can’t tease, flirt and be silly in tweets and on-line discussions. I have it on good authority that God made Twitter for that purpose, so we can interact and flirt with people we have no chance of ever meeting in real life. Many actors have worked very hard on their physiques, as it is part of their trade, and it’s normal to admire them. Admire them all you want, tell them they’re handsome or beautiful, but do it with respect. Hold back on the creepy tone and if you truly don’t know if you’re being creepy, err on the side of caution and keep it to yourself cuz chances are, you’re being creepy.
So how about we make an agreement? The next time we see one of these photos, can we pause, take a few moments and think before we post degrading and disrespectful remarks? And for God’s sake, this includes all the talk about the kilt and what is worn underneath. It’s tacky, immature, lacks imagination and no one, especially the person in the kilt wants to hear it. The global rule of thumb should be, ‘would I post tacky remarks or alter a photo if the person in the photo could see or read it?’ If the answer, is no, then please follow your best instincts and resist the urge to do so.