Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Reply To: On Objectification of Sam, et al


All of these discussions (here and in other mediums) remind me of how wonderful it is that we live in a country that has the first amendment (for those living in the US). And, soon Jamie and Claire will be involved in that fight for independence, which includes freedom of speech. Regarding this particular topic, I think there is a difference between objectification and admiration. If somebodies physical attributes are described and portrayed in such detail as in Outlander, I can’t really fault anyone for discussing/admiring/fantasizing about these attributes. That’s what fictional stories are all about–to take us to so many new places and experiences. I do agree that many people step over the line and the anonymity of the internet has amplified this behavior exponentially. If one is so inclined, I do think that you can use that anonymity to respond to comments/pix, etc. that you find offensive. Personally I try to have conversations with those around me if a topic arises where clarification or a learning experience might be involved. There have been many examples lately where celebrities have tweeted, posted, been recorded, or videoed something that has done an incredible amount of damage to them personally or to the subjects of their uncensored views/comments. Hopefully, these situations will help people understand that what they perceive as acceptable is not; especially when written down. I often think about how a conversation with a group of friends, for example, would be perceived if it was written and dispensed publicly. It is very difficult to speak out about such polarizing subjects without the fear of being harrassed by internet trolls. Personally if I am reading “comments” online and the topic changes from discussion to people bashing, I stop reading and leave. It does me no good to become upset about the comments form people who are just commenting to start an argument and over which I have no control. Fortunately, there are forums where people can have civil discussions and that have admins that remove or stop a topic that gets out of hand.

I wonder while discussing this topic, for example, people could give ideas of how to counteract this kind of behavior or write about a situation in which they responded to a topic that is offensive or counter to their beliefs. There is an example above of a person (sorry–I don’t have your name at hand) who did that. It’s difficult to decide when to take time to do this, and I wonder how effective it is, like 140 characters on twitter. I commend those who are able to blog about topics that are important to them and interact with their readers.

One final thought: During the broadcast of Outlander, and I guess before and after also, there seemed to me an unequal amount of attention given to the character of Jamie when the books are foremost about Claire. I could only find 1 or 2 articles about what it was like for Caitriona Balfe to film multiple nude scenes. Also, someone mentioned the comments that Diana Gabaldon makes and the defensive nature of her fans. I will personally admit that I don’t really care for Diana Gabaldon. I love her books, but not her personality.