Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Reply To: On Objectification of Sam, et al


Thank you for starting this discussion. It’s one I’ve had with various people, in various fandoms, re various male actors or musicians over the years. And sadly, the issue is probably getting worse rather than better by virtue of the internet and social media and the fact that direct contact with a celebrity is no longer an impossibility. While previously this sort of behaviour was mostly just a concern in regards to those bold individuals who had no qualms about telling an actor, to their face, how desirable they are, now anyone can hide behind the anonymity of the internet and say whatever they feel like. And many people are. We’re talking about this in relation to Sam and Outlander right now because that’s the fandom we find ourselves in at the moment (because everything about this show is SO DAMN GOOD). But it’s a much wider problem.

I don’t have a problem with people finding Sam or Cait attractive – aside from being immensely talented, they are gorgeous individuals. It’s natural to have a positive reaction to a person (famous or not) you find physically appealing. It’s normal and probably for the most part unavoidable to think certain things TO YOURSELF about that person. It’s okay, in my view, to perhaps express a view privately to a friend about that if you feel so inclined. What I don’t find acceptable, is putting those thoughts out into the public domain (electronic or real) especially when there is every chance that the person to whom those thoughts are directed is going to read or hear them and feel uncomfortable.

My rule of thumb about social media and electronic communication is that if you wouldn’t or SHOULDN’T say it to someone’s face, then you don’t say it on the internet. I think there are playful things said in the right moment (perhaps like Diana’s “one fine ass” comment) which might be okay in certain circumstances but you have to pick your moment, know your audience and know where / when to draw the line. Sadly, a lot of people seem to lack that internal filter or they just don’t care.

The thing that concerns me about all the talk of Sam’s anatomy (and god help us if we get a full frontal shot at some point in the second half of the season – I pray for SH’s sake we don’t) is that it detracts from just have incredible he is in this role of Jamie. For every comment I see directed to him on twitter about how gorgeous he is and how flawless an ass he has, I want to pipe up and tell him “Yeah you’re beautiful but I would love you as Jamie even if you weren’t”. Boy’s got some serious acting chops and that should be the primary focus.