We aren't the only ones pondering Megan Fox's appeal (or lack thereof) to women — it's also stressing out her reps, says a forthcoming New York Times Magazine cover story.
In her story, which just went online, longtime Times magazine entertainment reporter Lynn Hirschberg writes,
In the last month, Fox and her team - her agent, Chuck James, and her publicists, Leslie Sloane Zelnick and Dominique Appel - have grown increasingly nervous about her media image. The lack of success of ‘‘Jennifer's Body'' highlighted their concern: the outrageousness that made Fox an instant star was not attracting a paying audience, especially among females. They were hoping that hosting ‘‘S.N.L.'' and some recent appearances on talk shows on which she seemed demure might help to change the dialogue about Fox from the out-of-control sex bomb to the Fox they know, who is a homebody with a longtime boyfriend (the actor Brian Austin Green, who is 36) and a fondness for spending Saturday nights at Red Lobster, where she likes the cheese biscuits. That, they maintain, is the girl that girls should see. But Fox is less certain. ‘‘Women tear each other apart,'' she told me now. ‘‘Girls think I'm a slut, and I've been in the same relationship since I was 18. The problem is, if they think you're attractive, you're either stupid or a whore or a dumb whore. The instinct among girls is to attack the jugular.''
This isn't the first time Fox has (implicitly, at least) blamed jealousy for her apparent unpopularity among women. In June, she told Entertainment Weekly, "I come across as confident and [women] assume that means that I think I'm hot shit. And that makes them feel bad about themselves and so they hate me."
Hirschberg also has a theory: women, she says, are unmoved by Fox because they "tend to prefer movies that feature more approachable, less vixenish actresses, like Sandra Bullock or Jennifer Aniston."
I happen to think Hortense had a more nuanced analysis in her post about Fox last September:
"Women don't hate Megan Fox because she comes across as confident; they hate the Megan Fox Archetype, because, in a way, it validates all of the high school notions of what sexiness is: porn-star poses, slow motion boob shots, and references to lesbianism and bisexuality as kinks instead of sexual orientation… She is the personification of the Cosmo brand of sex, and that is why women find her so annoying."
Of course, if every woman was truly turned off by the "Cosmo brand of sex," that magazine wouldn't still be selling 1.6 million copies a month. And although Elle raised eyebrows when it put the men's magazine staple on its June 2009 cover, a look at the Audit Bureau of Circulations figures indicates that wasn't a bad bet after all — the issue sold just over 300,000 copies, a respectable number on par with the same issue the year before. (It's too early to know how Fox did when she was actually on the cover of Cosmo).
Whether or not Fox is actually alienating all women, she herself is chafing against this cartoonish image of her, even as she's participated in building it, one self-consciously raunchy men's magazine quote at a time. ‘I have to pull back a little bit now,'' she tells Hirschberg. ‘‘I do live in a glass box. And I am on display for men to pay to look at me. And that bothers me. I don't want to live that character.'' Ironically, it might take even more tugs at the marionette strings from her people, this time in a different direction, to come up with something different. That, or walking away entirely.
Stardom Becomes Her [NY Times Magazine]
Related: Megan Fox, Fallen Angel [EW]