Over the weekend, Henry Cavill became the latest notable that missed the point of #MeToo. So yes, we’re here again.
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…’
There certainly is a lot to unpack here, but my initial reaction to Henry Cavill’s recent comments on #MeToo was just a loud sigh that made me need to inhale from my Ventolin puffer a couple of times. He has since apologised, but we’ve found ourselves tumbling down the familiar rabbit hole once again. Again, we remain fuzzy. Again we must articulate the obvious.
To Henry, there’s something special about a woman being chased by a man. You too may think it’s pretty cute. To women, there is nothing romantic about being chased.
This form of persistence when it comes to badgering a woman over and over again until she says yes (or takes you back despite her autonomy) actually has a word in the real world and you’re probably very familiar with it: stalking.
I’m not meaning to dismiss what Henry has said because being falsely accused of a crime for merely trying to enjoy one of the best aspects of being human is not something I would wish on anyone, but his comments are problematic because they point the barrel back on women, who are for the most part the victims. This movement is trying to give a voice to and protect. His comments also imply that potential dates of his are likely to make false accusations because it’s commonplace that women make these things up.
I’m sorry but that line of thinking absolutely needs to find its way firmly into a garbage incinerator where it belongs.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Henry Cavill – The world deserves better from Superman
- #MeToo is not changing viewing habits as much as you think
False accusation statistics are not as high as the MRA Subreddits would have you believe. I’m telling you now, at 27, I don’t think I know of a single adult female in my network who hasn’t experienced sexual assault or harassment. It’s pandemic. If every victim out there were to make a report tomorrow, false accusations couldn’t even register on the graph. This is the argument men try to make in the comments section every time there is an article discussing sexual assault or gendered violence.
“But she withdrew her report, she must have been lying!” —sounds like flawless logic, hey? But people who utter these words about rape survivors almost always seem to forget who these survivors are accusing: the powerful rich men who have legal teams dedicated to making these things go away. That’s what the #MeToo movement is speaking out about.
I can’t make someone see the bigger picture if they have already closed their mind about a woman coming forward to tell her story about something that will probably haunt her for the rest of her life, but these men are great at manipulation and intimidation. You will note in every single victim’s account; they will tell you how they were scared, how they didn’t know in what ways it would affect their careers, how they were sure their abuser would do everything they could to discredit and destroy them.
The Conversation says this better than I do:
The evidence on false allegations fails to support public anxiety that untrue reporting is common. While the statistics on false allegations vary – and refer most often to rape and sexual assault – they are invariably and consistently low… Sometimes police record cases as ‘no crime’ or ‘unfounded’. This can happen when it’s difficult to attain sufficient corroborating evidence. There is, however, a big difference between the inability to demonstrate in court that an offence has happened and claiming that these cases are false.
The notion that Henry implied that women will make up a false rape accusation for him merely talking to them also leads me to ask: how the hell do you flirt?
I guess this is a really good lesson for anyone out there who is unsure what equates to flirting and what is a violation of a potential mate’s rights. If you’re not sure, ask. Shania Twain literally wrote a song about this. It’s hard to put yourself out there, and I can’t speak for all women, but I would appreciate the honesty if you’re super scared of saying the wrong thing.
If you can’t have a respectful conversation with someone to know whether your flirting is flirting or not, maybe you shouldn’t be pursuing them.
And if you feel that your flirting technique is going to be misconstrued for sexual harassment or assault, maybe you should refrain from doing so until you’re absolutely sure it won’t be.
I’m happy that Henry was able to see that his comments isolated his fans. He has apologised for them, and I hope that he learns from this experience.
Insensitivity was absolutely not my intention. In light of this, I would just like to clarify and confirm to all that I have always and will continue to hold women in the highest of regard, no matter the type of relationship, whether it be friendship, professional, or a significant other… Never would I intend to disrespect in any way, shape or form.
I also see a lot of men agreeing with his original comments, and I know that dating is a daunting experience for everybody, but I can’t stress this enough: you need to listen to us.
Back to Hollywood; Hollywood is such a huge influence on society and I know I can’t blame every societal problem on one institution, but I can blame it for how relationships are viewed in this world. A great example of this is Harvey Weinstein, who this month shared this during an interview with Spectator:
You were born rich and privileged and you were handsome. I was born poor, ugly, Jewish and had to fight all my life to get somewhere. You got lotsa girls, no girl looked at me until I made it big in Hollywood. Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone. But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman.
This man is responsible for movies in the discourse of our society – and many just like him share the same views as him.
Growing up, Disney had a lot to answer for: men kissing women who are asleep, women being “saved” by men, or men doing shitty things – and still, all women having the exact same face. Getting older, the trend kept coming; in the ’80s you had some terrible male characters doing some bullshit stuff (I’m looking at you, Danny Zuko) and then the woman just magically forgetting what a stain he’s been for 90 minutes and they live happily ever after. No? How about the end of The Breakfast Club where Claire gives Bender her earring after he spent the day sexually harassing her?
It’s no wonder why men are having trouble navigating the dating world, there’s so much toxicity in our discourse that it’s hard to know where to start. The best way to start is by asking us. So please do. In every sense of the word.