Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Reply To: On Objectification of Sam, et al


I’m a fan of the OFA, and will wear a t-shirt, do a cheeleading routine, or sing its praises. But. There’s a line to be drawn that isn’t being mentioned here: Jamie is the character being portrayed. As it happens, Sam Heughan works verra hard to have his physical shape in condition for this grueling role,and deserves to be commended for his work. Both with his lines, and his body language. So why can’t we praise his work? Just because sometimes it slips over the edge? Oh, I get it. Is that the same reason why we can’t criticize an editorial, a film, a fashion collection? Um, not really. I think it’s the person issuing the compliment/criticism/critique/remark that is to be held accountable, and not the remark itself. I don’t adhere to mass psychology, given that most of the world fits into a category that excludes the unusual, abnormal, extreme, and borderline. which happens to be 90% of my friends. The 89% or whatever the equation may be that allude to Sam’s physicality may be doing so out of unthinking behavior, long-engrained in their customary reaction to a football game ( all those tight ends), but then again, there are those who issue the same amount of unbridled receptiveness just because. Just because Jamie is a remarkable hero, atypical of the ones that abound in either literary pages, or real life. Just because Sam Heughan, as an actor, had seen fit to deliver his 1000% to the role, and so deserves accolades by the bushel. Just because we’re red-blooded, happy-as-chipmunks drooling fans of the series, the character, and the actor. I’m not a teenager, so my reaction wouldn’t lead me to hump the guy in public. But that comes of having the opportunity of working with great -looking celebs, and knowing that they’re people, too. And sometimes those people take it all in stride, because they know how to do that. No need for so much psych 101 on this theme, I’m thinking. It’s a tsunami reaction to a series we all here know and love. The far-reaching effects of psychological aspects of every blink and stroke shouldn’t be put into a negative field. We may perhaps rather take each of those reactions, and chuckle. Yes, teach those around us, help the next guy develop a bit further, but I personally don’t see the series as a course whereby entire generations of oglers will learn to rethink their reactions to beauty. We all hate that heckler who insists upon public commentary about the legs/breasts/arms/face/whatever when we walk by, but hey, that mentality isn’t going to stop. Not now, and not for a very long, long time to come. Some women have demonstrated their love of the same by commissioning the Chippendales for wedding showers, or that male stripper to come and deliver a telegram. How to combat this mentality? By being kind, not insufferable, and by getting the joke where it’s to be gotten. DG wasn’t objectifying Mr. Heughan’s OFA, in my humble opionion, but setting us all up for this long-winded discussion. She knew.