What Chris Evans Has Learned About Being an Ally: “Just Because You Have Good Intentions, Doesn’t Mean It’s Your Time to Have a Voice”
The New York Times recently spoke to Captain America actor Chris Evans about his new role on Broadway. Evans is currently playing Bill, a “charming but manipulative cop” in Kenneth Lonergan’s play Lobby Hero. Bill is “essentially a narcissistic creep” who subjects his female partner to “a queasy drama, replete with abuses of power and sexual coercion.”
“It’s awful to admit,” Evans said of his character, “but I know plenty of guys who fit this mold.”
He’s not the only one in Hollywood who does. According to the Times, the role “has unexpectedly submerged Mr. Evans in questions of gender inequality and the distribution of power just as those same questions are roiling his industry … [and he] has been studying how to better conduct himself as an ally to women in his profession.” This question has come up for a lot of actors in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, as they contemplate both their past complicity and their future activism.
As part of that studying, Evans reportedly turned to his former girlfriend Jenny Slate for advice. “One book he found eye-opening,” the Times wrote, “was Rebecca Solnit’s The Mother of All Questions. Mr. Evans read it while dating the actress Jenny Slate (their on-again, off-again relationship, beloved by the internet, recently ended) and decided that he needed to listen more and speak less.”
“The hardest thing to reconcile,” Evans said, “is that just because you have good intentions, doesn’t mean it’s your time to have a voice.”
Now, this doesn’t mean that Evans will always live up to the lesson he’s learned, or that he’s full internalized it yet. In true Captain America fashion, Evans has rather wonderfully used his social media platform to condemn Donald Trump’s racist, misogynist policies, and it would be great to see him also use that platform to promote marginalized voices from the people most affected by those policies in the future.
But even if he takes a while to figure out how to apply this lesson to his own life, I just really loved this anecdote about Evans reading the feminist books that Jenny Slate recommended to him—and, most importantly, actually paying attention to what those books said and learning something in the process.
(via The New York Times; image: Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios)
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