Actresses are simply not sex symbols like they used to be. They’re still definitely as attractive as they ever have been, but the heightened dispensation of online pornography and the rising profiles of musicians and other influencers on social media, in addition to a change in the way Hollywood approaches women, has led to a shift in the way we see our favourite female film personas.
Producing a moment like Sharon Stone crossing her legs in Basic Instinct or Phoebe Cates taking off her bikini in Fast Times at Ridgemont High; a single freeze-frame which is forever embedded into the imagination of every testosterone-filled young male who watches the film, is increasingly rare and difficult in the environment of desensitization of the modern world. Perhaps only the enigmatic director Michael Bay could have produced this moment from Megan Fox in 2007’s Transformers. As much as he is criticized for his mindless action sequences, thin storylines and flimsy characters, Bay understands adrenaline and visual appeal, and in a single inspired turn, he made Megan Fox the greatest sex symbol since Angelina Jolie, and one who has simply not been matched since in terms of sheer public obsession.
The build up is gradual and yet in hindsight not subtle at all. Fox’s character gets sweaty and greasy working in a garage, as she is built up as the perfect girlfriend; a beautiful, tough motorhead. She is chased and lusted after by every boy in school. And in her definitive scene, when she stretches across a yellow Chevy Camaro in a barely-there outfit, the entire sepia frame fills with her body, and you are left frustrated as soon as it cuts away, because you end up pouring over each inch of the screen in slow motion. It is the boldness to throw caution to the wind and make her simply as hot as possible which made it an unforgettable screen moment. And art direction aside, Megan Fox is simply attractive enough to warrant and make the scene what it is.
The explosion of media attention around her after the film released is simply something that I have not seen since. Everybody kept up with her photoshoots. She was on the cover of every magazine out there. She carried an entire film, Jennifer’s Body, based on how attractive she was. Fox was simply unapproachably, impossibly, indulgently beautiful, and she made sure that everyone knew. Her acting career has now wound down to a great deal after the media wore her out and she settled down to get married and have kids, but even as she has receded from the public eye, mention her name to a guy of the right age and he will inevitably pull up that shot of her over the Camaro in the golden sunlight in his mind with better clarity than any remaster.
Watch the scene below: