For months, I’ve been wrestling with whether or not I should write this blog, from fear of massive public annihilation. However, in light of the lastest controversy surrounding Henry Cavill’s statement in a recent interview with GQ Australia, I feel the timing couldn’t be more perfect or worse depending on how you take this. In short, Henry feels afraid to approach women, in hopes of igniting some type of relationship, because he doesn’t want to be dubbed a “rapist or something else”. This he attributes to the #MeToo Movement. He couldn’t be serious, right? The media chose to highlight a small portion of a very lengthy interview, typical. Henry’s choice of saying he doesn’t want to be called a rapist for flirting was indeed taking a shot at the #MeToo Movement. I believe, and as he apologised for, he didn’t mean to be offensive nor insensitive to the movement. We, however, should no act like there isn’t some merit to the point he raised. Yes, there are some truths to his fears.
I asked my Facebook friends in December of last year about how men should go about approaching women, if all it takes is for her to feel uncomfortable for her to say #MeToo? Mind you, a woman reserves the right to choose who she wants to speak to her, however, where is the line when it comes to saying #MeToo? This was my post.
I had quite a few responses from this post, from both men and women and I’d like to share some with you. One user wrote:
“…Too many people are being accused of harassment, it’s kinda hard to believe them all. The lines between harassment and compliment are being blurred….”
I made it clear that I wouldn’t say it’s hard to believe anyone as it’s not my place to say anything, without evidence.
Another user added:
“It is best to not try to pick up someone at work…keep your compliments to yourself, unless you have a good relationship with the other person…”
I was in full agreement with this sentiment as I do believe work is for work. I them posed the question, what if the man just offers compliments when he deems the situation worthy of one but because he’s not the most attractive guy, the female cries #MeToo? Is that fair? Is the woman’s subjectivity of the situation enough to shun the man without context?
Sick individuals like Harvery Weinsten, Bill Cosby, Louis C.K., Bill O’Reilly, Michael Douglas and a host of other well known men have deserved whatever scrutiny and punishment they’ve received. However, we can’t paint all with the same brush. There are good men who are fighting right beside women, giving them the support they rightly deserve. Look at MTV’S Catfish creator, Nev Schulman for example. He was recently cleared of all sexual allegations made by a former cast on the hit show. Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t believe the women re harassment claims but with the current climate, good men are not given the benefit of the doubt and, in some cases, understandably so. The whole, innocent until proven guilty, does little in the court of public opinion and people’s lives are forever changed because of allegations which are later proven to be false. Nev’s show had suspended production and is likely to resume since he’s been cleared. But doesn’t that leave a sour taste in your mouth? Will people still want to watch Catfish? The ratings will tell. Some might say if he didn’t put himself in a position to be lied on, none of this would have happened. Sounds familiar? This is the same sentiment many have re victims of abuse, rape and assault. That thought is wrong, no matter who the victim is.
Again, where does the line fall when it comes to how men interact with women? Should women therefore be the new pick artists? Should men learn how to read body language? Should women, verbalise their thoughts instead of holding it in, assuming cues should be read?
#MeToo is a powerful movement and should not deter anyone from having open and honest relations with each other. It should also not be weaponized by deceitful women, looking to make a quick buck. Instead, men and women, the former being the majority, should treat each other with respect. That way, no one will ever need to say #MeToo again.