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Henry Cavill Misses the Point of the #MeToo Movement in New GQ Interview

It's not rocket science: just don't assault women, dude.

henry cavill

Another day, another bro who can’t wrap his head around the #MeToo Movement. In a profile with GQ Australia, Henry Cavill, the erstwhile Man of Steel, shared some thoughts on #MeToo and proved that he, like many men, cannot wrap their heads around the difference between flirting and sexual assault. Like … why though?

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The interview started off strong with Cavill saying he always stood up for his female colleagues, “I know there have been situations with people I’ve worked with being perhaps overfamiliar with some of the actresses. But, I’ve always walked up to them and said, ‘Hey, are you all right? That’s creepy’.” It goes off the rails, however, when Cavill claims that the #MeToo Movement have prevented him from asking women out on dates:

“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 hell, 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 A LOT to unpack here, but let’s start with the “men chasing women” thing. I blame romantic comedies for somehow tricking men into believing that the relentless pursuit of a woman is endearing. If a woman keeps turning you down, take the hint. We’re not playing a long game, we just don’t want to go out with you. And we’re very polite about it because we don’t want you to murder us for saying no. Read between the lines.

Also, no woman is going to call you a rapist just for trying to start a conversation with her. That is an absurd leap that has zero logical basis. Unless your opening salvo is “I’m going to assault you”, no one will immediately accuse you of rape. Like, if you’re so concerned that your flirting will be misconstrued as rape, you might want to re-think the way you flirt. Or get some therapy. Or just quit dating altogether.

Ultimately, responses like Cavill’s come down to a refusal to take responsibility for your actions. It’s like Smokey the Bear said, “Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires.” Don’t want to be labeled as a rapist? “Only YOU Can Prevent Rape Accusations By Not Being Rapey.”

(via GQ Australia, image: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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