Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Reply To: On the Objectification of Sam, et al. PART II (added per the request of Terry)

Home Outlander Costuming Discussion Forums General Outlander Discussion On the Objectification of Sam, et al. PART II (added per the request of Terry) Reply To: On the Objectification of Sam, et al. PART II (added per the request of Terry)


Hi, I have not read every post, in part because my browser seems to be in rebellion with this site, so sorry if you feel this is repetitive. Also, I am trying to reply to “all” or more accurately to the OP rather than to a particular reply or person as I am also responding to a particular recent event.

I was very disturbed by what happened yesterday, 3/21/15, involving two screen captures of Sam Heughan, not much better quality than paparazzi shots, that were apparently stolen and leaked to the social media world without the Producers’ or the Network’s permission. These included a pretty much frontal nude shot. One of them, the frontal shot, went viral. The female fandom went wild.

I am active on Twitter and on FB, and hang out on other social media sites, and follow blogs. So, I was pretty bombarded yesterday with the photo. In many cases, once it was understood in the fandom that they were not official, and were likely stolen, people started taking them down. Some groups posted modified versions and felt they had done their due diligence, saying well, until we have heard for sure from someone (?) that they were stolen, they stay up. One secret group I belong to took them down, but members were actively bragging about having saved screen shots and were sharing amongst themselves in DM’s. Some fans still have them up on Twitter. Some are using them as wall paper for their phones. The few little voices that worried about Sam’s feelings or the reaction to the pics were squelched. He apparently had lost his right to care by agreeing to act in the series in the first place.

So, this is both about objectification, and something else, the line alluded to in earlier parts of this discussion. I think a line was crossed, but do not have a group to discuss this with. I tried in my secret FB group and got ignored: no one was mean to me, it’s a group where people are decent and kind to one another, but mostly I was made gentle fun of and the group moved on.

The line here, and finally I am getting to my point, has to do with the rules of the game. Generally, when we see a cap or clip, it has been vetted by the producers, the network, it has been directed, it has been edited, it has been choreographed and in a sense, curated. And it very likely is aligned with the agreements made between the actor (or more accurately the actor’s agent and attorney) and the producers regarding how far is too far. I don’t know what Sam’s agent agreed to. I don’t doubt that there was a likely agreement to full frontal under certain circumstances. But we don’t know if this capture represents the end product of all that. It has a Starz logo, but it is not much more to my eyes than raw footage, and distorted raw footage. At least one producer has tweeted that it was never meant to be a screen shot and was not released by Starz.

I feel a line has been crossed. (Warning: possible accurate terms for physical parts of people ahead.) It isn’t just that women are openly drooling over a man’s penis in public forums, or discussing its size, women who would likely be horrified if men were drooling publicly over a woman’s mons pubis, and sharing illegally acquired photos of it widely and wildly over the internet, but these are not approved pictures. Outlander is a show where there are almost nude shots, sex scenes, near rapes, rapes to come, and likely full frontal nudity. But the scenes the fandom slavers over I think should be the ones that were vetted and released. Because presumably everyone had a say in it: the producers, the studio, the agents, the lawyers, the DP’s, the editors, and so on. It is a finished work of art. So, I am struggling a bit with the line that I feel has been crossed and would like to chat with someone about it.

Any takers?