An Elegy for Megan Fox’s Thumb (Misogyny as Female Subdivision, or What You Will)
The wormhole started with Machine Gun Kelly, a big-hearted, rebellious, scandal-magnet. I came to him (two years late) for a throwback-injection of loud, careless 90s pop punk. His 2019 album Tickets to My Downfall (produced by Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker) was a feast of angst and raw, flawed emotionality, the likes of which have been gone from the mainstream since the grunge of the 90s and punk resurgence of the early aughts died out in the production-heavy electronic age of pop.
Researching the sound of an artist I’d never heard before, who was making music that pushed my buttons in all the right ways, lead me to the realization that MGK is the James Dean of the 21st century—and who did I find on his arm but someone just as (if not more) iconic than he is, our 21st century Marilyn Monroe, a.k.a. Megan Fox (another of my favorite people)? So, completely sold, I jump heart-first into the internet, down the rabbit hole of their romance and in my travels, come to this article expounding on MGK’s adoration for Megan’s feet. However the line that stood out most to me referred to a different part of her body: “Good thing he likes her feet, because those thumbs of hers… *shudder*”
Investigating this one aside took me to a corner of Google images dedicated to the unusual shape of Megan Fox’s thumbs, which allowed me to catch myself in the algorithm of misogyny. Women—be they beautiful, successful, noteworthy, all of these things or none of them—are often reduced to their perceived flaws. The fact that Google images provided me photographs of Megan’s thumbs is proof that this query is significant, that a bodily “imperfection” of a woman celebrated for her beauty is relevant at all. My googling (and yours too!) contributes, complicity, to the machine of misogyny underneath.
Like cattle, women are subdivided into profitable parts and pieces, and even after this reduction, our value is affixed to the imperfect or undesirable among them. We’re reduced to the success or failure of romantic relationships (a la Taylor Swift) or criticized for monetizing our sexuality the way men do every day (a la Cardi B). Dividing our bodies as attractive or unattractive and dividing our success as rightly or wrongly earned ultimately divides our power into threatening or nonthreatening—which undeniably sounds like an agenda item at a misogynist staff meeting to me.
Regan Humphrey is a psychologist, film critic, and science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary young-adult writer. She is the inventor of the REFscore, the first and only scoring system that rates films on craft and social justice. She holds an MFA in Writing for Young People from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is the sitting Editor-in-Chief of Lunch Ticket Magazine.