Monday, December 14th, 2009

Boxed In, with Kia Matthews: Is Taylor Lautner Making Us All Pedophiles?

HERE WE GO AGAINWait, the vaguely Asian-looking werewolf kid from that gay vampire movie is hosting Saturday Night Live?, asked the small percentage of America watching TV on Saturday night. As ridiculous as the Twilight phenomenon is, it's no secret that teenage consumers and their Orange Julius and baby-sitting paychecks are fueling the entertainment industry these days. And yet, Twilight's two main stars are about the world's least-accessible actors. Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart could give a fuck about anything besides skinny jeans, vintage band t-shirts and looking so over it. Both are highly uninteresting and seem to be teetering on the edge of a fame-induced nervous breakdown. So as "obscure" as 17 year-old Taylor Lautner may seem, it was pretty smart of NBC to get in on some of that Twilight action with him, rather than his future overdose victim coworkers.

Unlike Pattinson and Stewart, Taylor is quite charming (and highly bangable). Totally one of those kids who were blessed with crazily straight and white teeth, that did all the local mall modeling gigs and took acting lessons and lived for giving speeches in class.

Despite this, I was nervous to watch him on the show-his charm can very easily slip into the corny territory and a bad performance would poorly reflect on me as an enthusiast, right? Luckily it was the writing, as usual, that mostly sucked, not Tay-tay. And I have to give it up for a 17-year-old dude who's willing to rock a denim skirt and purple leggings on national TV.

The thing I really love about this kid (aside from the obvious) is that he seems aware of the role he's playing in pop culture and he's handling it quite well. I'm sure it can be a bit overwhelming for him at 17, but don't they say Hollywood 17 is like regular-people 25? He knows he's a sex symbol. He's switched on the hormone turbine in teen girls (and boys) across the globe and has driven many 20 (and 30) somethings to an uncomfortable place-the Pedo Zone.

Even before all this Twilight nonsense, I'd always thought he was a cute kid with that wolfy, piggy face of his. But when baby boy started mainlining Creatine shakes and getting jacked for his role in New Moon, it went from "awww" to "awww yeah."

But how could I sleep at night knowing that I was writing blog posts about eating food off the belly of a 17-year-old? A minor! I would be vilified by the Internet Feminist Gestapo if I were a 27 year-old man writing about "taking the train to bone city" with Miley Cry-us.

Remember the Olsen Twins? Back in 2003, Rolling Stone put them on the cover, calling the underage duo "America's favorite fantasy," due in part to the infamous Olsen Twins Countdown Clock, which counted down the days until they were legally lust-after-able.

On Dec 10, Rolling Stone gave Taylor got the same cover treatment-except they put him in a see-through wet t-shirt.

I suppose in theory I may have been once or twice conflicted by sexualizing a minor, but really, it's not my fault. It's not me who's marketing the kid as an ever-shirtless hunk who just wants to be there for me and love me and maybe give me tips on how to strengthen my core. I'm just consuming the product that Summit Entertainment is trying to sell me.

Whether or not Tay-tay knows it, that body of his-and the women and girls perving out over it-are a part of an important conversation. Excuse the grad school jargon, but I'm all about reversing the Male Gaze. The only real way to combat the never-ending sexualization and objectification of young women is to reflect the Male Gaze and do it in a way that is both consistent and conspicuous in order to shift the balance of power and create a uniquely female Gaze, ultimately SUBVERTING THE PATRIARCHYâ„¢.

The soapbox has been dismounted. I can attempt to justify this with all the feminist blah blah blahing in the world, but ultimately it comes down to one thing:


Whether or not it's ideal, leveling the playing field at least feels fair. I will do my part in the struggle by continuing to appreciate the fuck out of those abs. Besides, 17 is legal in D.C.

Kia Matthews feels a little weird about her thing for Taylor but not so weird that she's giving it up.

54 Comments / Post A Comment

iplaudius (#1,066)

Someone needed to bring this up! It is an awkward thing.

A friend of mine – a doctor in his late 30s!-wanted to steal the Taylor Lautner cardboard cut-out from the Nordstrom window. Yikes!

Then I asked him, "Yeah, but what would you do if he had a really small dick?" THIS IS A QUESTION WORTH YOUR CONSIDERATION.

eh, whenever this comes up just direct the ogler in question to this photo, and let him/her know this was only FOUR YEARS AGO.

this one works too. JUNE 2005, PEOPLE:

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

EEEEEEEW. What did you go and have to do a thing like that for?

Antonia Capet (#2,372)


HiredGoons (#603)

Well, he finally grew into his teeth.

David (#192)

"Whether or not Tay-tay knows it, that body of hisâ€"and the women and girls perving out over itâ€"are a part of an important conversation." … indeed it is!

TheMattSmith (#2,580)

Eye-fucking underage boys = SUBVERTING THE PATRIARCHY


rj77 (#210)


HiredGoons (#603)

I will admit this is the first episode of SNL I watched in probably ten years.

BUT on Hulu, on Sunday night – because I do have a life.

Also, I know he's ripped, but those are some make-up enhanced abs in that there picture.

I wonder how the Situation feels about this?

Mary HK Choi (#1,469)

The Situation doesn't give a fuck and the Situation is going to show us by getting really emotional and looking in the fridge a lot.

David Cho (#3)

Did you know that Vinny has pink eye? Just so you know, Vinny has pink eye.

lempha (#581)

I think it's maybe not that bad to fetishize the musculature of a seventeen-year-old, but Taylor's is just that–no matter how buff he is, there is something about that body that is still twinky and residually pubescent. Which I think complicates things (at least for me!).

lempha (#581)

I should note that it doesn't complicate them that much (I still think he's hot).

Brian (#115)

Germaine Greer made it OK to talk about this years ago on the South Bank Show. Coming up empty-handed on a video clip, unfortunately:

lbf (#2,343)

Meta- and pedo-enabling=COMBO

SemperBufo (#1,849)

Except you're not really SUBVERTING THE PATRIARCHYâ„¢, or anything else. Here's the problem: The Man has got you believing that peddling the ass of a boy is different than peddling the ass of a girl; he's got you tilting at the wrong windmill. This Lautner kid is a product, and you're buying.

You feel like you're swimming against the patriarchal tide, but you're really just grinding away on The Man's elliptical trainer, except backwards (incidentally, a good way to keep in shape, but it won't really do anything for your core; try some sit-ups, they're free.)

kiamatthews (#2,192)

I'm well aware he and his abs and his shirtlessness are a product. I mentioned this. Please see above.

My whole point is that at it's core, the ass-peddling is in fact the same. It's all exploitative. But I'd like to argue that maybe that isn't such a bad thing. The Man wants to sell us sex. I don't see why we can't buy it. Rather, why do we need to be sold on it? Why can't it just be part of who we are? Our society is both obsessed with and revolted by sex. This is illogical.

But is this incredibly worked out, depilated, faux sweaty torso baring really sexy? It seems more like a simulacra of sex to me.

Also, I would argue your point that "The Man wants to sell us sex". I think The Man wants to use sex to sell us everything else, and the way to do that is to show us people who look nothing like most of us, tell us repeatedly that they are the ideal, and then sit back and count the money as people rush out to buy things to make themselves more attractive according to a fairly unrealistic standard.

Exploitation "All good" is your point?

myfanwy (#1,124)

Exactly, there's a whiff of panem et circenses with these sort of things.

HiredGoons (#603)

"Pedo Zone" I'm assuming this is like InterZone but with less talking bugs?

KenWheaton (#401)

Pretty sure 17 is perfectly legal in all 50 states. He can't smoke a cigarette or drink beer, but there are plenty of other things you can put in his mouth without fear of breaking any laws.

wiilliiaamm (#225)

Thank god he showed some talent and class during the SNL opening…it allows me and my 45 year old self to talk about his talent and class in such a way that it doesnt appear that I am talking about his talent and class…rather I'm simply talking about his talent and his class. And what a remarkable class.

Aatom (#74)

I have to say that aside from being completely comfortable with my admittedly demented fantasies about this boy and what I would do to him physically, I found him downright likeable on SNL. For a tween actor who got too famous too fast he never seemed to miss his marks and actually had some pretty decent comic timing, which is more than you can say for 60% of the guests on SNL (and at least 30% of the actual cast).

We're going to see a lot more of this delicious boy. And I can't wait.

mickeyitaliano (#2,202)

If it's his new found body that turned you on, you can always 'go legal' with "The Situation."

bb (#295)

I find the sitch kind of hot. is that wrong?? It actually might help that he looks kind of old.

kiamatthews (#2,192)

Not just the body. It's the charm. Taylor's charm is of the "aww shucks" variety. Mike is the wrong kind of charming. Douchebag charm. Also his face – not so great.

Sometimes I like to take the turn off from Bone-City to Pound-Town when I think of Tay-Tay.


HiredGoons (#603)

I'd still tack Zack P. over him any day.

Which one is Zack P?!?! Send pix.

Uh, the one at the top of the page. (It's okay. It's Monday.)

Dear god. THAT ZACK. Like real PERSON Zack not a hyper sexualized teenager made ultra famous by the armies of culture and commerce who will not ultimately finish his career as a bloated man child surrounded by wealth and self hate? THAT ZACK, GOT IT.

Thought I had missed some other tween heartthrob to sweat for.

Yes, yes. And "real" is the key word here, innit?

iplaudius (#1,066)

The collective-infatuation is about more than the body. There are lots of guys with bodies like that: you can find them at the beach, at the gym, in print ads. The marketing/media machine puts something before our eyes, and we fixate on it and make ourselves believe that the object of our attention is more remarkable than it really is.

It's beyond his body, I think. It's that his body is connected to that big, dumb, "aw shucks" face of his. And what was always kind of a boyish charm 'oh I can see why my lil sis lurves him" became all 'LIKE WOW' with fucking man-abs and then your panties drop.

iplaudius (#1,066)

I'm a face man, so I for one do not object to your analysis, but it seems like everyone is talking about the body body body. Maybe people are too unaware to realize it's the face, what Kia describes as the "wolfy, piggy face."

Antonia Capet (#2,372)

Am I the only one who considers his "wolfy, piggy" face a dealbreaker? I thought it was a no-brainer for that blank-faced chick to choose the skinny vampire guy.

Here's hoping that once he is legal, he won't turn into a gaunt, pale, chain-smoking waif who dresses like a REALLY rich shopping cart lady and dates complete asshats. Because it the bangability factor went way, way down once the last popular pedo-meter hit zero. Learn from history, Tay-Tay!

bb (#295)

does this refer to someone specific? I love it, but I am too slow to get the ref if so.

Bittersweet (#765)

Mary-Kate Olsen.

HiredGoons (#603)

or Kristen Stewart.

Both Olsens, really! Kids I went to college with had their countdown clock bookmarked on their computers! My how times have changed!

bb (#295)

see? I am slow.

AmyGee (#2,788)

It just occurred to me that maybe the whole bag-lady thing is a direct result of the whole pedo-meter thing.

myfanwy (#1,124)

I think the real question is, are people resorting to objectification in order to deal with any incipient pedo-guilt? And if so, why are we not looking at the guilt and the systems around it, instead of rationalizing?

HiredGoons (#603)


slinkimalinki (#182)

really, here we're talking about ephebophilia rather than pedophilia, which is an important distinction. also, ewwwwwww, plastic abs, blech.

wiilliiaamm (#225)

Also…there appears to be the "gay porn" factor. Kid could be a ringer for any number of cover boys found at yer local adult bookstore fare.

kiamatthews (#2,192)

Total Sean Cody material.

Not that I know about such things…

BlinkyMcChuck (#202)

Team Lautner.

missdelite (#625)

The guy's bod was made to be looked at – why not indulge? He could be some producer's boy toy for all we know cause Hollyweird loves 'em young 'n' tasty.
Geez. The Romans never suffered such guilt…

lawyergay (#220)

Hey, guess what New Yorkers?! The age of consent in the Empire State is 17!

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