Henry Cavill, the dream boyfriend of everyone on the Internet, is facing major backlash for some comments that he made in a recent interview with GQ Australia.
Firstly, he deflected somewhat when asked what he learned from the #MeToo movement.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to not be around the kind of people who behave that way. To my memory there’s been no moments where I look back and think, ‘Ooh, OK, maybe someone shouldn’t have gone through that’. I know there have been situations with people I’ve worked with being perhaps over-familiar with some of the actresses. But, I’ve always walked up to them and said, ‘Hey, are you all right? That’s creepy’.”
And his response when pressed on whether or not the movement has made him reconsider his own behavior towards women wasn’t ideal either.
“I like to think that I’ve never been like that. I think any human being alive today, if someone casts too harsh a light on anything, you could be like, ‘Well, OK, yeah, when you say it like that, maybe.’ But it’s such a delicate and careful thing to say because there’s flirting which, for example, in a social environment is in context—and is acceptable. And that has been done to me as well, in return.”
He added that “stuff has to change, absolutely. It’s important to also retain the good things, which were a quality of the past, and get rid of the bad things.” This is a comment most rational people can agree with. But what really got the Internet into a fury was when he then proceeded to somewhat whine about the fact that the socio-political climate has made it hard for him to date.
“There’s something wonderful about a man chasing a woman. There’s a traditional approach to that, which is nice. I think a woman should be wooed and chased, but maybe I’m old-fashioned for thinking that. It’s very difficult to do that if there are certain rules in place. Because then it’s like: ‘Well, I don’t want to go up and talk to her, because I’m going to be called a rapist or something’. So you’re like, ‘Forget it, I’m going to call an ex-girlfriend instead, and then just go back to a relationship, which never really worked’. But it’s way safer than casting myself into the fires of [Hades], because I’m someone in the public eye, and if I go and flirt with someone, then who knows what’s going to happen? Now? Now you really can’t pursue someone further than, ‘No’. It’s like, ‘OK, cool’. But then there’s the, ‘Oh why’d you give up?’ And it’s like, ‘Well, because I didn’t want to go to jail?’”
There’s nothing wrong with courting a woman in a traditional way, but as a culture, we’re trying to move away from the idea of “chasing” women or of encouraging women to “play hard to get,” as it’s a slippery slope from old-fashioned wooing to bullying a woman who’s just not interested into going out with you.
Today it’s Henry Cavill with “I believe women should be chased”
When did the notion that being chased is a *pleasant* feeling become so universally accepted? pic.twitter.com/z6kQnCzVrF
— Grace Petrie 100% Official Tweets (@gracepetrie) July 12, 2018
If you’re approaching women in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe, then YOU need to change your behavior, instead of whining about how some men are now facing consequences for serial harassment and assault.
— Helen Price (@HelenRPrice) July 11, 2018
The part that really got him in trouble was saying that he doesn’t want to approach a woman because he doesn’t want to be called a “rapist.”
To engage in good faith with people talking about false accusations: they are rare & that’s why those cases are widely reported. The vast majority of actual rapists will face no consequences. False reports are not a problem compared to actual rapes https://t.co/3HMQj3oZRZ pic.twitter.com/ScVSwlSIGA
— Helen Price (@HelenRPrice) July 11, 2018
That said, it’s worth considering what he’s trying to say and what we can take away from that. There was recently a thread on Reddit that detailed the things that men wish women knew. Many men expressed the fact that they would like women to initiate sex more often. But many also complained that there were times when they made an advance and a woman said no and they backed off—only to then have her complain about why he didn’t “try harder.” This confuses everyone, and it’s something that we need to stop doing.
One popular comment also noted that men are often told to read subtle signs that a woman is interested in them, such as smiling flirtatiously, but also admonished for mistaking a friendly smile for a flirtatious one. Not every is an expert in body language, and both men and women are capable of making this error in perception. It’s understandable why men might feel skittish, and recede into the relative safety of online dating, and why men who are in the public eye might be inclined not to take the risk at all.
But if you want a male celebrity to use as a good example of how to skillfully navigate these situations, read about how I Met David Schwimmer. Men Can Learn a Lot From the Way He Respects Women.
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