Back in July, when he was promoting Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Henry Cavill told GQ Australia that he was worried about the #MeToo movement making it harder for him to flirt and that he had concerns about flirting and then being called a rapist. Seriously. As I said at the time, no, dumdum, nobody is going to hurt you if you’re not hurting them, you f-ckwit.
Here’s how Idris Elba addressed the same issue in The Sunday Times via Vanity Fair:
In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, the actor was asked if it’s hard to be a man in Hollywood now due to the #MeToo movement, which has led to a broader reckoning against sexual misconduct. Plenty of actors have been asked something similar, and many have responded with statements that ended up necessitating apologies—from Matt Damon to Henry Cavill.
But Elba? He had this to say in response: “It’s only difficult if you’re a man with something to hide.”
Exactly. I have a very good friend called K. He has a way with words. Here’s something he’s been telling me over the last year, “Elaine, you know what’s always been easy? It’s really, really easy not to rape someone”.
This is what Idris Elba is saying. And what I appreciate about his answer is that he’s not only not worried – because he doesn’t have anything to hide – but that the question itself is F-CKING STUPID. “The actor was asked if it’s hard to be a man in Hollywood now due to the #MeToo movement.” The subtext of a question like that is to imply that it actually IS harder to be a man now, that men might have something to be afraid of, which is a way of undermining the #MeToo movement because you’re suggesting that men have something to lose when women are protected. This has never been and will never be the point of #MeToo. It is, however, an attempt to center the #MeToo conversation around men and how it will affect men instead of focusing it on women and their experiences. And it’s not f-cking helpful.
Idris’s response, then, is a start but maybe it shouldn’t stop there. Maybe the complete answer should be that “It’s only difficult if you’re a man with something to hide. For the men who don’t have anything to hide, it’s not only not difficult, it’s BETTER. Because men’s experiences improve when women’s experiences improve”. The same way it is with gender equality. Gender equality doesn’t just benefit women. It benefits everyone.
Here are Idris and Sabrina Dhowre at a Roland Mouret event in London last night.