Left and right, we are being told that actors, producers, politicians, and, most importantly, inspirations are actually bona fide rapists, sexual assaulters, or just creeps. Since the news of Harvey Weinstein broke on Oct. 5, at least 20 high profile men have been accused of sexual misconduct, according to The New York Times.
With every victim who speaks out, more and more fans are heartbroken to discover their role model, celebrity crush, or favorite performer is no longer deserving of their praise. How can it be true that Brett Ratner, the man who helped Wonder Woman, a groundbreaking triumph for women, has been accused of rape? How could Kevin Spacey, whose performances we adored in American Beauty and The Usual Suspects, be culpable for making advances on a 14-year-old boy?
We are all coming to terms with the harsh reality that these men were not who we thought they were, which reveals an even scarier realization: are there any good, honorable men left for us to look up to? Are there powerful men with enough respect and integrity to refrain from sexual misconduct? Good news: there are!
These four household names have clearly and unequivocally declared, through their actions and words, their respect for women.
Tom Hanks is a world-renowned actor who has starred as the leading man in some of the most commercially successful films of our time, including (but not limited to) Toy Story, Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, and countless more. One of his biggest hits, Big, was even directed by a woman, named Penny Marshall. He also openly identifies as a feminist and spoke with actress Emma Watson during her HeForShe campaign. He emphasizes listening to the voices of women, and not intimidating them, saying:
“The women I have worked with and those I seek inspiration from have had different perspectives on all there is to have an opinion on in this world, and I have always learned from listening to them. My support of those women and those in my family has been the same as it has for any man or any of my sons.” – Esquire
Growing up in the movie industry, Radcliffe has no doubt been exposed to both the best and the worst Hollywood has to offer. He can also attribute his success and doorway into the career to a series written and created by a woman, the illustrious J.K. Rowling. Perhaps this has helped shaped his worldview, as today he is unabashed in stating what is wrong with the male mindset in today’s culture. In a 2014 interview with Buzzfeed, Radcliffe said:
“Have you ever heard a girl say she’s in the friend zone? It’s a thing I think men need to be really careful about using… Do I think men and women can be friends? Yes, absolutely… I definitely think the idea of friend zone is just men going, ‘This woman won’t have sex with me.’” – HuffPo
Sir Patrick Stewart, the English actor accredited with show-stopping theatre performances and movies like Star Trek: The Next Generation learned about the abuse women face the hard way. He witnessed his father physically abuse his mother, and endured the pain of an abusive household. Now with a platform to speak out about the injustice women face, Stewart courageously spoke out, saying:
“Even if she had [done something to provoke my father to hit her], violence is a choice. And it’s a choice that a man makes. We can choose to stop it.” – HuffPo
The man behind many of our favorite romantic films, from La La Land to The Notebook, has had his fair share of experience working with women on screen. Though off screen, the actor gained perspective on how these women are portrayed, or how they are not allowed to be portrayed, in film. He addressed a striking double standard in the film industry, and one that shows are condonement of sexual violence in the media, when he said:
“The MPAA [Motion Picture Association of America] is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex.” – HuffPo
So fear not, girls and guys hungry for righteous, high-profile male role models: they are out there. And hopefully, with less and less tolerance for sexual misconduct in the media and in society, there will soon be more men worthy of our respect (and our movie ticket money).