Chris Evans’ Comments On #MeToo Make A Point About Male Allies That Many Men Have Been Overlooking
While Chris Evans has said that he'll be retiring as Captain America after the fourth Avengers movie (scheduled for 2019), he's still going to be a hero in the real world. In an interview with the New York Times, Chris Evans talked about the #MeToo era and explained how he's being an ally to women: listening more, speaking less, and reading about gender.
In the interview, which focuses on the next steps in the actor's career post ubiquitous Marvel hero, Evans revealed that he's been thinking a lot more about "gender inequality and the distribution of power lately." The Times explains that Evans — especially after reading Rebecca Solnit's book, The Mother of All Questions — has come to the conclusion that it's time to let others tell their stories and for him to learn.
"The hardest thing to reconcile is that just because you have good intentions, doesn’t mean it’s your time to have a voice,” Evans explained.
With his quote, Evans hit on an important point that Solnit has made in her illustrious writing career. The feminist writer is often credited with launching the term "mansplaining" due to her influential 2008 essay, "Men Explain Things to Me." Solnit has written extensively on the phenomenon of, as she describes, "men assuming they have answers when maybe they should have questions." When it comes to sexual harassment and gender inequality, it stands to reason that more women might have answers than men.
And the part of Evans' quote about reconciling having "good intentions" and knowing when to be quiet is something that other men in Hollywood could learn from. For example, Matt Damon's infamous comments on sexual assault would have been better off not being said at all.
According to the Times, Evans read Solnit's book while dating his on-again, off-again girlfriend comedic actor Jenny Slate (sorry, lovers of their adorable relationship — it's currently off). He also became more deeply interested in the subject while rehearsing for the play Lobby Hero, which officially opens on Broadway on March 26.
The drama, which was written by the Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan, originally premiered in 2001, but its themes are particularly relevant to the #MeToo era. Evans plays Bill, a police officer who shows narcissistic tendencies. His attraction to his partner Dawn (Bel Powley), plays out in gross ways including sexual coercion and abuses of power. Evans explained that he didn't have to base his character off any one man in particular, telling the Times, "It’s awful to admit, but I know plenty of guys who fit this mold.”
Still, it's quite a change of pace from playing an all around American hero, saving the world with Iron Man and the Hulk.
Evans latest comments about how to actually support women follow a trend for the actor. Since the 2016 election, the performer has dedicated a fair amount of his Twitter thread to progressive politics, showing his support for Hillary Clinton, delightfully live-tweeting FBI director James Comey's hearing, and offering criticism of Donald Trump in the face of the tragic events at the Charlottesville rally last August.
He has also been active in calling for more gun control measures. In the summer of 2016 he wrote on Twitter, "Not anti-gun, but certain weapons should only be in certain hands. I support @MassAGO enforcement of the assault weapons ban." In the wake of the student activism seen after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida shooting he wrote:
Though Evans gets a lot of attention for his woke politics, there are other men in Hollywood who are also finding ways to support women who are facing workplace inequality and sexual harassment. Other men in Hollywood, including David Schwimmer and David Arquette recently began a campaign #AskMoreOfHim. In an open letter, the campaign asked men to call out other men who are behaving badly and to support survivors.