Henry Cavill — who will be appearing along with his mustache in Mission Impossible — Fallout next week, gave an interview to GQ, and when asked about the MeToo movement, said something … not great.
“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?’”
Cavill has gotten some flack for it, but not a ton of flack, because people like Cavill, and I don’t think there’s a lot of enthusiasm for turning on the guy. I like Cavill, too! And I’m not going to burn him down for saying something misguided and kind of dumb. In fact, my ill-advised instinct is to try and tease out his earnest intentions here and ask myself, if I were similarly situated — a fantastically handsome, wealthy and successful actor — would I be afraid of being accused of something for flirting, too? Or overly pursuing a woman? I think I wanted to agree with this guy:
the full extract of henry cavill talking about the me too movement and what he's learned from it. those few things at the end may be stupid but his heart is definitely in the right place. pic.twitter.com/WMWa5PzVmh— raman 🌹 (@etherealcavill) July 11, 2018
But I don’t think that I do.
I’ve read the quote, like, 50 times, and maybe his heart is in the right place, but his brain sure as hell isn’t. Because no matter how many times I read it, I come to the same inescapable conclusion. Either Henry Cavill believes 1) that a woman can’t tell the difference between flirtation/courting and rape, or that 2) there are women who would use the #MeToo movement as an excuse to deliberately blur the line between flirtation and sexual assault in order to falsely accuse a guy for their own personal gain.
Right? Is there any other way to read that other than, “I’m afraid to hit on an unfamiliar woman because I fear that she will accuse me of sexual assault”? Dude! A woman can tell the difference between flirting and sexual assault! The difference between an innocent kiss and grabbing someone’s ass who doesn’t want their ass grabbed is not about misreading signals! You can say, “Damn! You look fantastic in that dress,” as long as you don’t stick your hand up that dress.
Anyway, it’s a dumb thing to say, but Cavill hasn’t actually assaulted anyone, or enabled anyone, or looked the other way (in fact, earlier in the interview, he said that he intervenes if he sees co-workers getting creepy). We don’t need to throw him (and his mustache) in the trash over this, but also, dude: Have a little more faith in women, OK? I have yet to see a single #MeToo accusation where a woman claimed that a guy was being too charming. No one has ever gone to the media to say, “Man, that asshole asked me out a second time after I coyly told him no the first time.” Be Best, Cavill! Go out there with your bad self. There’s nothing wrong with wooing and chasing, as long as you don’t hurt anyone when you catch them. Be mindful, but don’t be obtuse!