This week we saw Ewan McGregor refuse to appear on Good Morning Britain alongside Piers Morgan due to his comments on the women’s marches in protest of Trump’s inauguration. Morgan immediately began an argument so bitter and incensed that it made up for the fact it was all one-sided.
I quite liked McGregor’s actions given how harmful and women-hating Morgan’s tweets about the women involved in the marches were and also due to my own convictions that politics can and should pervade all of our actions and decisions because politics is by its very essence about people and decisions and how we affect each other. One man who will so dramatically not stand for it is a snowflake of comfort. Morgan called the protests a “mass hissy fit“, the women “rabid feminists” and even went to so far as to pull the ultimate “what about the menz”, by calling for a men’s march. To respond to women’s anger at receiving a president who boasts about sexually assaulting women and has ongoing lawsuits for rape, by calling them hysterical (an old and established form of sexism and gaslighting) and wanting his very own march for no particular reason whatsoever, is indescribably insulting, misogynistic and self-absorbed. When McGregor took the decision he is entitled to make to separate himself entirely from this sort of man, his tweet explaining himself still sitting quietly, peacefully and confidently at the top of his twitter page as his most recent tweet, Piers had a meltdown the likes of which he would never be called hysterical for just because he is a man.
Piers immediately attacks McGregor for being “just an actor“, which I think is supposed to be an insult and devalue Ewan’s opinions no matter what they are, despite Piers also attacking him for not defending those exact opinions and appearing on his own show to do so. He also attacks him for being unpopular and popular, a contradiction which can only be pulled off in a spectacular twist of narcissism just like this one – claiming that he himself is responsible for his popularity. Piers digs into Ewan’s past, bringing up that he didn’t speak to director Danny Boyle for years (the relevance of this is not entirely clear to me), and after briefly comparing him to Kim Jong-Un, comes to his pièce de résistance: McGregor’s friendly ties with 13-year-old-girl rapist, Polanski. He does this many, many times. Here’s one, two, three, four, five.
Can Piers get extra points for that last one, a picture accompanied with the caption “Mr Women’s Rights Ewan McGregor with his child rapist hero”? You know, argument points, debate points, got-you-in-the-jugular points, i’m-right-you’re-wrong points. Points which have nothing to do with the incidents and, in this case, 13 year old rape victims, involved. I admit, when I first read that Piers had brought this up about Ewan, just from a line in a news article and not as a deranged hammering on the walls of social media, I thought “oooh yeah, hmmm, bit of a gotcha”. And then I immediately thought, “wait, nearly got me there”.
This tendency I’m starting to see of men finding instances of other men’s sexism just to win an argument against them, is really fucking disgusting. The ultimate incidence of this would be Trump’s press conference with the rape victims and accusers of Bill Clinton, just before a debate with Hillary Clinton. Trump and Morgan have a lot in common here: not only do they clearly both respond to relatively calm objections towards them with completely outrageous and over the top insults and accusations delivered with all the ceremony and none of the sophistication, but neither of them give a shit about the women they’re using to tear down their opponents. What with Trump himself having his own rape victims and Piers being friends with a child rapist by being Trump’s friend, the messy and delirious hypocrisy is nauseating.
Could it be any clearer and any more evident that these men don’t give a flying shit about our fights and our traumas as women to use them in this way?
The fact that men are willing to and capable of raising the platform of some women’s serious, violent and traumatising fights, listen to the stories and the incidences, only to take them forward to win a personal argument or further their own agendas, shows just how far men have yet to come in their moral education and feminist allyship. We need now, to be aware of a man’s entire situation in order to assess whether his promotion of a certain woman’s issue is authentic or not. And this, is exactly why ‘not all men’ is self-absorbed vitriol, why men cannot lead the feminist movement, and why men cannot be great feminists. I’ll take a few more of McGregor’s stunts, though. He’s just an actor, after all.