Last week may have felt a bit exhausting, so I hate to dredge anything back up, but, well, sometimes it’s necessary. You may remember the low point/high point of the week that was this interaction between Tom Hardy and a critic from the Toronto Star during a Mad Max: Fury Road press conference:
That full exchange, if you need some bad mad feelings in your brain, went something like:
Howell: I have a question for Tom Hardy. Tom, I’ll preface my remarks by saying that I have five sisters, a wife, a daughter, and a mother so I know what it’s like to be outgunned by estrogen. But I just wanted to ask you, as you were reading the script, did you ever think ‘Why are all these women in here? I thought this was supposed to be a man’s movie?’And the internet exploded with the love of a very pretty man shutting down some stupid sexism. And we were happy and things were good in the world.
Hardy: No. [literally everyone laughs] Not for one minute.
Theron: Good for you.
Hardy: That’s kind of obvious.
And then that critic, Peter Howell— presumably upset with his newfound role as the public face of sexist dumbassery— felt the need to clarify his intentions. See, he didn’t actually mean what he said, you guys. He was just joking, and we’re all just too thick to get it. Because the best jokes are the ones you have to explain afterward, right?
My question to Tom Hardy was intended as the opposite of sexism. I was congratulating him for his willingness to share the screen with so many strong women in a franchise and genre more inclined to celebrate the male over the female. He was also willing to be in a co-lead role with Charlize Theron, in a movie called MAD MAX, no less. I think a lot of male stars might have objected to this, but Hardy is of a special breed. But I don’t think I worded my question very well. Hardy just shrugged it off, although I don’t think he was offended by it. I think this article I wrote gives you a better idea of what I was getting at, which was to celebrate the idea of women being cast in traditionally male roles, not to scorn it.It would be really great if people publicly attempting humor or satire actually knew what those things meant before being given a microphone. It would also be really cool if people didn’t make Tom Hardy out to be some magical fucking unicorn creature, just for the simple act of being a decent human being. Men (and women!) who declare themselves to be feminists, or who even just behave in a generally supportive way, should be celebrated (and sure, sometimes mildly, respectfully objectified), but they are not anomalies. What good does it do anyone or anything to point to a man who, as Howell seems to see it, deigned to be a co-star to a woman, and hold him up as a cross between a circus sideshow act and the second coming of Elizabeth Cady Stanton?
Ugh, sorry, too much rage too early in the day/week/new month. Here’s Tom Hardy and a puppy.