Rumored Batman actor Armie Hammer described straight white maleness as “threatening” in a new interview promoting his movie On the Basis of Sex, where he plays the husband of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Speaking with the Independent, Hammer describes straight white maleness a threat to everyone who isn’t a straight white man. In the wide-ranging interview, the actor also speaks about toxic masculinity, as well as what it’s like to play an LGBT character while straight.
The actor begins the interview asking the question: “How do straight white men, react to other straight white men who are no longer acting how they believe straight white men should act?”
He adds, “And that is, the exercising of your straight white male privilege – all of the things that straight white men not only take for granted, but also are expected to capitalise on.”
He then posits that not acting like a straight white male or as he states not capitalizing on the things straight white men are supposed to capitalize on is a threat to the idea of what it is to be a straight white male.
“If you see a straight white man not acting like that, not assuming his privilege, in a way, it’s very threatening to your straight white maleness”
He then goes on to state that straight white maleness is threatening to everyone who isn’t a straight white man.
“But at the end of the day, what is straight white maleness if not threatening to everyone else who is not a straight white man? If you stop assuming your privilege, the only people you harm are the people who are actively taking advantage of it.”
The actor would describe having his feet resting on a table and being relaxed during the interview as part of his white privilege.
“Yeah, I mean there’s things all the time that I catch myself doing. Case in point, sitting here with my feet on the table. I mean like, I’m just being comfortable and relaxed, but like … There are things all the time that I catch myself doing and I think, ‘Wait a second, is this white privilege? Yeah, I think it is. Look at what I’m doing. Yeesh’”
However, interviewer Alexandra Pollard notes Hammer keeps his feet resting on the table.
If the interview isn’t strange yet, it becomes even more so. That’s because Hammer moves on to the subject of Martin Ginsburg, the person he plays in the movie “On the Basis of Sex.” He is surprised that when researching the character and reading the script the character wasn’t “emasculated” due to being married to a brilliant legal mind. He even posits that Martin Ginsburg had to be a serial killer because he was such a great person:
“Oh, then your mind is not as dark as mine because as I was reading it, I was like, ‘this guy seems amazing, this guy’s incredible, this guy’s such a fantastic husband and father … He must be a serial killer. This is Ted Bundy.’”
Hammer wasn’t alone in thinking that being a strong and supportive husband is some kind of alien concept. Pollard points out that screenwriter Daniel Stiepleman revealed that backers of the film wanted to rewrite Martin as “angrier, or less understanding; maybe he should threaten to divorce his wife if she didn’t drop the case.”
Hammer notes his surprise at discovering at the end of the script that the Ginsburg marriage was “pure equality.” He then makes some pretty large generalizations on marriages and relationships during that time period.
“They had pure equality in their relationship when not only was it not the done thing but it was the farthest thing from what was expected. There was this storied history of: men are the mammoth hunters who go to work, and the women stay home and cook and clean and take care of the children. But in reality, if you look at that time, yeah, men went to work, but they were terribly dysfunctional, and the women stayed home, and were upset about the pigeon hole that they’d been put in. There’s a reason that prescription pills were so highly prescribed at the time, and men were basically high-functioning alcoholics.”
Hammer’s generalization and opinion of that time period also seems to be factually wrong. The Guardian did an interesting report on what’s called the “Paradox of Declining Female Happiness“ which shows that since the sexual revolution of the 1970s the rate of happiness for women has been going down, not up. In fact, in the 1970s women had a higher happiness score than men. By the 1990s women’s happiness levels were below that of men.
Just last summer, NPR noted that women suicide rates are actually rising faster than men’s. In fact from 2000 to 2016, women suicide rates increased by 50 percent while men only increased by 21 percent. NPR believes this could be due to more single mothers “trying to do everything alone.” They also point to increased stress from dealing with children, parents, as well as their work responsibilities.
Hammer would return to the notion of masculinity and specifically points out toxic masculinity when it comes to raising his children with his wife, Elizabeth Chambers.
“I recognise that there is toxic masculinity all around us, but that’s not the world that I perpetuate. That’s not the household that I live in with my wife and children, that’s not the dynamic, and if anything, it’s something that we keep an eye out for, and we try and keep as far out of our lives as possible.”
Hammer would then touch on straight actors playing LGBT characters and the idea of actors putting on blackface.
He first addressed the fact that actor Darren Criss will no longer play gay characters because he is straight.
“I didn’t really think about it when I was playing those roles mostly because I was just happy to have an opportunity to try to bring truth, and try to portray a character that was different from myself. I think that’s what acting is. I would hate to only be able to do roles that fit perfectly with who I am.”
Hammer would then talk about how Hollywood has evolved and actors putting on blackface is no longer acceptable.
“That being said the conversation is different now. People are asking, should straight actors take LGBTQA roles? I don’t know. I’m certainly not the authority on that. But we are a much more sensitive and evolved world now than … I mean look, people used to don black face in movies and that was acceptable, and now we say, ‘no, you can’t f****** do that’. And I think that’s right, I completely agree with that, but I don’t know. I guess the answer is – I don’t know.”
What do you think of Armie Hammer’s views on being a straight white male and what it means for others? What about his ideas on relationships and the classic familial structure? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!