The Down Low on the Up Kilt of Sam Heughan

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.


  • Jean Gobel
    Posted January 28, 2015 6:42 am 0Likes

    Thank you for this. Things have really gotten out of hand lately.

    • Melissa B
      Posted January 28, 2015 7:58 am 0Likes

      You’re welcome Jean…..and you’re right, things have gotten way out of hand.

    • Sarie
      Posted January 28, 2015 11:58 pm 0Likes

      Thank you Melissa, I was appalled to see the picture. Your eloquent and respectful article is spot on. I hope others will follow your example.

      • Melissa B
        Posted January 29, 2015 6:27 am 0Likes

        Thank you Sarie. I really appreciate your kind response.

    • Linda
      Posted January 30, 2015 11:51 pm 0Likes

      REALLY I haven’t read everything but this is way out of bounds come on you people sicko’s STOP THIS AWFULNESS. Sam doesn’t deserve any of this BS. LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!!

  • Cindy S.
    Posted January 28, 2015 4:51 pm 0Likes

    Totally agree, some of the comments I’ve seen have really crossed the line of being said in fun versus being disrespectful of another person. Fair is fair.

    • Melissa B
      Posted January 29, 2015 6:30 am 0Likes

      Thanks for writing Cindy. As a person who’s always trying to make people laugh, I’m constantly checking myself before I speak to make sure it’s not hurtful. God knows I’m not perfect, but I’d never want to be disrespectful especially of people I’d admire.

  • rynawolfe
    Posted January 28, 2015 4:59 pm 0Likes

    Thanks…there have been a couple other blogs about this very subject. On Twitter last night someone made the comment “Did you hear about what happened to Graham at ‘Through the Stones’? ” Terry had heard and said, unfortunately, he would likely be wearing pants to more things now.

    What is sad is people are placing the blame anywhere but themselves. If some guy at an event had lifted Cait’s skirt for a peek, he would likely have been arrested. People are saying this is all DG’s fault – or she has a huge contributing factor. I’d love it if people would take a little responsibility and police themselves!

    “The Word Peddler” has done some excellent articles in the last couple weeks that I highly recommend. These are thoughtful and funny – but very true. I responded to one of the articles with a bit of my own and the link is there if anyone wants to read that.

    Thank you for showing Sam (and let’s not forget the other guys! Sam takes the brunt of it but Terry said even Ron may rethink wearing kilts in public in the future with all this c**p going on!) the respect he certainly deserves.

    • Melissa B
      Posted January 29, 2015 6:36 am 0Likes

      Hi Rynawolfe or is it Beth(?), I hadn’t heard about the incident with Graham, I know I shouldn’t be surprised but I am. I wonder why the person wasn’t arrested, it’s a crime even if the victim is a man. I hope the Outlander cast knows that the majority of fans are respectful and would never behave that way. Thanks for writing πŸ™‚

      • rynawolfe
        Posted January 29, 2015 7:51 am 0Likes

        Beth is fine…Ryna is actually the middle name. I was having issues posting a comment to a site one night a while back and had to create a new spot to do it so….the RynaWolfe site is what happened.

  • Natalie K
    Posted January 28, 2015 5:52 pm 0Likes

    OMG…thank you so much for posting my exact thoughts. I’m FAR from being a prude – in fact, no one I know would EVER describe me that way (and that’s backed up by my Twitter account…which features 50 Shades of Grey (please don’t judge!!)…but I digress…when I saw that picture lightened, I honestly couldn’t believe someone posted it. I mean, do it in private if you must, but be classy enough to leave well enough alone on social media. If a celebrity posts a picture of themselves 1/2 naked (or all naked), that’s their decision, and I’m not going to argue, but editing that picture and posting it seemed so juvenile to me imho.

    • Melissa B
      Posted January 29, 2015 6:40 am 0Likes

      Hi Natalie, Isn’t it sad that we need to preface our thoughts by saying we’re not prudes? Can we please just all live by the Golden Rule? Thank you for writing.

  • Tammy Bursoni
    Posted January 28, 2015 7:23 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for sharing!

  • tealrose1
    Posted January 28, 2015 7:34 pm 0Likes

    DG’s fault ?? And how do they work that one out ??? This reminds me of victim blaming too. ‘Her skirt was SO short your honour … ‘ Yes .. well, DEAL with it like a normal and decent human being and don’t touch !!! What is wrong with people! I am so sad that these men feel they have to wear underwear instead of as tradition dictates and how they would like to wear the kilt !! I can’t understand how these woman weren’t arrested in the first place, it would have surely made the rest have second thoughts of such bad behaviour!

    • Melissa B
      Posted January 29, 2015 6:42 am 0Likes

      Hi Susan, I hadn’t heard people were blaming DG. That’s five kinds of crazy. Thanks for writing.

      • rynawolfe
        Posted January 29, 2015 7:54 am 0Likes

        Look at the articles on The Word Peddler site I linked above. The comments section has some interesting comments about DG and her ‘role’ in the objectification of Sam….in their opinion. Hogwash. They are jealous end of. I think the relationship between DG and Sam is awesome!

  • gingerlovinmind
    Posted January 28, 2015 8:28 pm 0Likes

    This is really sad. Sad that actors are treated like a hunk of meat.

    It is also really sad that we feel the need to justify our own reaction to this. We have to preface our opinions by assuring others that we aren’t prude, that we understand that men can be attractive, and that (no, really!) we are okay with that. If we disagree with the objectification, we are labeled as prude, or judgmental, or a killjoy.

    If woman want to be valued as more than a pair of boobs or a nice bum, they should extend the same courtesy to others. We can’t demand to be treated one way and treat others another way. And, for the love of all that is holy, we can’t try to justify bad behavior by pointing to the bad behavior of others.

    Thank you for adding your voice to this topic.

    • Melissa B
      Posted January 28, 2015 9:07 pm 0Likes

      Terri, When I prefaced my comments by saying I wasn’t a prude, in the back of my mind I was thinking how much I resented saying it. Why has our society gotten to the place where we feel the need to do that? Let’s just all practice the Golden Rule or as Miss Aretha Franklin says R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

      • gingerlovinmind
        Posted January 28, 2015 9:10 pm 0Likes

        I agree wholeheartedly! It seems like every discussion must be prefaced by a disclaimer, and it can be exhausting!

      • rynawolfe
        Posted January 28, 2015 11:50 pm 0Likes

        Preface comments then steel yourself for the name calling: “policing” people, being ‘judgmental’, a ‘hater’ of others and fun. Guess I need to develop a thicker skin because I want to keep standing up for the right and decent thing. Hopefully more and more of this will do this and either get others to think before committing something to public view or just find other mediums to post in that cater to their type of ‘fun’.

        • Melissa B
          Posted January 29, 2015 6:28 am 0Likes

          I was bracing myself for a backlash, but so far it hasn’t happened. I am so grateful for the overwhelmingly positive response.

  • Sandra
    Posted January 29, 2015 10:29 am 0Likes

    Absolutely agree with all you have said! Thankyou

  • penny
    Posted January 29, 2015 1:08 pm 0Likes

    Thank you so much for your excellent article. I have been appalled at some of the comments (and actions) I have seen, by people who apparently think they’re being cute or clever. The Outlander cast deserves better.

  • bettysunflower
    Posted January 29, 2015 1:14 pm 0Likes

    Thank you for doing what has needed to be done! ….or said. I hope that it is shared on every one on the many fan sites. Sam is such an awesome actor and has been so generous to his fans, as have the rest of the Outlander cast. How sad that a few attention seeking individuals could ruin that for everyone.

  • gensmith88
    Posted January 29, 2015 2:37 pm 0Likes

    Use your imagination and keep it to yourself. Enjoy the pictures put out by Starz but don’t alter them for your own perverted imagination. Have some class, ladies! I guess you can all call me an old lady but I don’t think class ever goes out of style! Raunchy and demeaning behavior just shows a lack of education and taste.

  • Theresa
    Posted January 29, 2015 4:43 pm 0Likes

    Amen a thousand times! I voiced the same reaction and was floored by the complete lack of objection by fans. I even wrote a commentary piece for publication, but couldn’t put words on what I was feeling. You said what I tried to say. Thank you!

    • Melissa B
      Posted January 29, 2015 8:24 pm 0Likes

      Thank you Theresa. I am so relieved at the outpouring of support for this blog and what it represents. I was fearful I was in the minority, but I’m not. There are more intelligent people out there than I knew (you’re one of them) and thank God for that. Thanks again for writing.

      • Theresa
        Posted January 29, 2015 8:27 pm 0Likes

        Melissa, i sent you a DM on Twitter regarding the second I’m writing. Hoping you might consider me quoting you and your blog.

        • Melissa B
          Posted January 29, 2015 10:42 pm 0Likes

          I was at work today, but responded thru my phone that I’ve dropped way too much. Did you receive the message? My answer was yes(!)

  • Kristin_Texas
    Posted January 29, 2015 5:04 pm 0Likes

    Wow. I had no idea about this. Cheap and immature (and just plain gross) is right. The anonymity of the internet really can bring some adults back to that middle school/junior high mindset.

    • Melissa B
      Posted January 29, 2015 8:27 pm 0Likes

      Kristin, My first thought when I read some of the filth, was they were like kids in middle school. (It hasn’t been that long since my kids were there and I’ve got a good memory). Thanks for writing.

  • Katherine Kernor
    Posted January 29, 2015 10:53 pm 0Likes

    I get so embarrassed at some of the comments. It makes me think that the caliber of people in the groups is so low that I’m ashamed to be associated in any way with them. I didn’t act like that when I was a teenager.

  • Michele C
    Posted January 30, 2015 1:34 am 0Likes

    Well said!

  • Lilli
    Posted January 30, 2015 2:50 am 0Likes

    I luckily haven’t run across this infamous picture. Probably because, despite my love of the Outlander book series and true enjoyment of the TV series, some aspects of the fandom have left me cold. I’ve backed off from a lot of the internet fan sites. You have done a wonderful job of expressing my feelings about the general state of things. Can’t we simply appreciate Sam Heughan’s attractiveness without turning into creepy, stalkery, weirdos? He’s been incredibly kind and gracious to this point (the same can be said of Tobias and Graham). The level of lascivious attention is uncomfortable for me to watch. Poor, poor Sam who has all that focused squarely on him. Thank you for your wise and much needed point of view!

    • renodeecee
      Posted January 30, 2015 3:14 pm 0Likes

      Lilli you expressed my exact sentiments. I was following as many fan sites as possible, in the days after the mini series was over. I couldn’t get enough news about what everyone was doing. What will satisfy these fans who push the envelope of decency?! Will they, like a wild pack of slobbering, howling dogs tear apart their prey, reduce it to shreds? Then what? The small jokes about what a Scotsman wears under his kilt has been around since the kilt. It’s meant to be left to the imagination, unless you get an invitation otherwise. Thank you Melissa, for being the voice of a true neighbor.

    • jclasell
      Posted February 2, 2015 4:25 pm 0Likes

      Hi Lilli, I feel the same way about the fandoms. I’ve backed off too. I really appreciate Outlander and I appreciate that the fandoms find stuff that I don’t have time to find, but I really dislike some of the comments people leave. I’m glad I found this blog. Judging from the author and the responses, these are the types of fans I want to associate with!

      • Melissa B
        Posted February 2, 2015 4:40 pm 0Likes

        I’m so glad I finally wrote this blog post, because the response was so overwhelmingly positive, it actually restored my faith in humanity. There are thousands of other people who were fed up with this kind of talk and I think I’ve heard from at least half of them ? Thank you for writing!

  • Maria
    Posted January 30, 2015 5:06 am 0Likes
  • ginnym2013
    Posted January 30, 2015 4:27 pm 0Likes

    Reblogged this on nancymblogdotcom and commented:
    THANK YOU! ahhhh.

  • kwriter03
    Posted January 30, 2015 9:22 pm 0Likes

    Reblogged this on Has Pen. Will Write..

  • dwinn10055
    Posted January 30, 2015 10:06 pm 0Likes

    I have been waiting for this…. I was one of the first fans of Gerard Butle, before he was a star and he had a very hands on relationship with his fans at first, But some fan girls took his kindness to his fans as a license to Grope and harass Mr. Butler at public events. Needless to say he became a bit distance to his fans and even a little rude. I didn’t blame him. I was sort of waiting for this to happen with the Outlander Cast. I am sorry to say I was right.

  • June Garner
    Posted January 30, 2015 10:44 pm 0Likes

    I love outlander have read all books and watched all shows has even inspired me to visit Scootland

  • Sherry Riley
    Posted January 30, 2015 10:50 pm 0Likes

    “What goes around comes around.” Hopefully, those who are responsible for such unseemly behavior will see it come back to bite THEM in the A##. Nobody deserves that sort of disrespect and I’m hoping that it stops now.

  • Cynthia
    Posted January 30, 2015 11:03 pm 0Likes

    I absolutely agree with you. I’m not really a feminist, but I hate the way women get objectified as sex objects (maybe it’s just my upbringing – I hate rudeness and lack of manners and this is that in spades). So, if we women hate this happening to us are we trying to out-men men?! Honestly, going to the lowest common denominator in our conduct just shows how little people have to fall to become an animal and lose their humanity.

  • Nancy Beas
    Posted January 31, 2015 1:32 am 0Likes

    Thanks for your comments. I had not seen the photo, but have been amazed at the crude humor and immature posts by people since the Starz series was announced. As stated in several of the previous comments, Sam, Graham & Tobias have been overly gracious and kind to their fans. I don’t understand why some of these same fans want to alienate them with their coarse, middle school locker room comments. Thank you for your tactful reminder to think and be thoughtful before posting rude comments – on any forum.

  • Lisa Paul
    Posted January 31, 2015 1:41 am 0Likes

    very well stated – good for you!

  • L Allen
    Posted January 31, 2015 2:19 am 0Likes

    Spot on Melissa. I agree with you 100%

  • toomchtodu
    Posted January 31, 2015 4:39 am 0Likes

    Touche’ If the tables were turned all hell would brake loose! Admire, swoon, but keep things classy. These actors are human beings, nothing more, nothing less. Respect their work, respect their privacy, and by all means, as fans, practice some self respect. Thank you for addressing what many of us have found very disturbing and very wrong.

    • Sherry Riley
      Posted January 31, 2015 5:28 am 0Likes

      You are so right! Sam, Caitriona, and all of our Outlander family deserve our respect for their hard work. Whoever is responsible for that unkind and tactless picture will get their just desserts. Karma is a b…..

  • ladyofkaos
    Posted January 31, 2015 10:59 am 0Likes

    Reblogged this on JD Miller – Lady of Kaos and commented:
    I’m with Melissa B on this one –

  • ladyofkaos
    Posted January 31, 2015 11:01 am 0Likes

    I agree with you Melissa – I don’t understand why the success of some makes others feel so inferior to the point they have to tear them down.

  • Jenn
    Posted February 20, 2015 2:20 am 0Likes

    Just found your blog today, Melissa. LOVE what you have to say! I happened to be at the Thru the Stones event and it was wonderful. Graham was so kind to everyone, giving plenty of hugs, autographs, and photo ops. Unfotunately, one person managed to take a fantastic experience and turn it into fodder for tabloids. Truth be told, if a man had done it to a woman, police would have been called. Thank you for this commentary, and I really look forward to returning to your wonderful blog in April. Keep up the good work and thank you for your insight and sense of humor.

    • Melissa B
      Posted February 20, 2015 7:35 am 0Likes

      I heard about what happened at that event…people are getting crazier every day πŸ™ I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog and I hope you visit often since it appears I can’t stop writing so it’d be nice if someone was reading. Thanks for your kind comments! πŸ™‚

  • georgiafromga1
    Posted March 9, 2015 3:50 pm 0Likes

    Thank you so much for this, Melissa. Well said. And your analogy of how people would feel if anyone had done something like this with a picture of Cait should stop everyone in their tracks and make them think again. We treasure these beautiful and talented people who are bringing our beloved story to life. May they continue to think kindly of their fans in return.

  • Peigi
    Posted April 4, 2015 8:27 pm 0Likes

    Right on Melissa – There is ‘cheeky’ (ie: Sam was asked ‘boxers or briefs’ – answer: neither!) And there is rude.
    The ‘Fan Clan’ is family and must treat ALL members with love and respect.

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