Benedict Cumberbatch slams the ‘childish defensive position’ of ‘not all men’

The Power Of The Dog Premiere

I’ve been lowkey enjoying Benedict Cumberbatch’s promotion for The Power of the Dog. He’s clearly proud of his work in Jane Campion’s return to filmmaking, and sure, he’s campaigning for an Oscar. But he’s not in our faces 24-7 and he’s actually using his campaign to talk about interesting stuff. Stuff like… toxic masculinity and what men need to do differently. Benedict plays a gruesome, toxic cowboy bully in Dog, and he’s spoken a lot about toxic masculinity and men performing their masculinity. In a recent interview with Sky News, he was asked about those subjects again:

On Jane Campion: “She’s always been a heroine of mine. The Piano was a seismic film when I was growing up, for me, and I just completely fell under its spell. She’s just a great director and the sensitivity and sensibility is needed in this to really crack Philip, you couldn’t imagine a better director for that.”

On female filmmakers still trying to break through: “It does feel like a painfully long road compared to where [Jane Campion] began. But… she has inspired people all along the way. It is like mental health, you know, these things are still a stigma. There’s still something that needs talking about, needs addressing, needs writing, help with, and until there is equal pay, a place at the table, equality across the board of every kind, we still have to have that conversation.”

On toxic masculinity: “We need to fix the behavior of men. You get this sort of rebellion aspect [from men today], this denial, this sort of childish defensive position of ‘Not all men are bad.’ But no, we just have to shut up and listen. There is not enough recognition of abuse. There’s not enough recognition of disadvantages and, at the same time, somewhere along the line — maybe not now, but somewhere along the line — we need to do maybe what the film does as well, which is examine the reason behind the oppressive behavior.”

How the character affected him: Cumberbatch said the character’s toxic masculinity made him project “hate on the world, and for the world, hate on him, and I think his sense of loneliness is exacerbated by that and his sense of jealousy.” Of the time period, the star said, “I think it speaks to a time of intolerance and a lack of acceptance where people couldn’t live any kind of their authentic self.”

[From Sky News and People]

I enjoy Bendy calling out his fellow dudes. The “not all men” thing IS childish and defensive, and it’s yet another example of men talking over women and their experiences. I understand what he’s saying about men needing to shut up and listen, but I would also like him to balance that (as he has in other interviews) with the acknowledgement that men have to fix themselves. That this isn’t a problem where women are burdened with “fixing” the toxic masculinity problem, just as domestic abuse and sexual abuse are not “women’s issues.” Stop putting the onus on women to heal, fix, make it better. Again, that’s a general thing, not specific to Benedict. Benedict clearly IS trying to be a good ally here, I think.

The Power Of The Dog Premiere

10th Annual LACMA ART+FILM GALA Presented By Gucci

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

39 Responses to “Benedict Cumberbatch slams the ‘childish defensive position’ of ‘not all men’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Robyn says:

    No lies detected! It definitely sounds like he has been very thoughtful about this and is doing the work in his own life. Dudes need to hold other dudes accountable.

    • Desdemona says:

      He has been like this. I remember an interview on Graham Norton where he’s asked about the name his fans gave themselves. Very embarrassed he refuses to say and when Graham says Cumberb****, Ben says he doesn’t think they want to offend themselves but that he does worry about how far feminism is being set back .
      He’s always been a defender for women…

    • nutella toast says:

      Renner, meet Cumberbatch.

      • HeatherC says:

        Right? During the Marvel press blitz for Endgame, maybe they should have paired Cumberbatch with Renner so Renner could learn something (would probably have to drug him up with a hypnotic drug first…) though watching Benedict babysit Tom Holland so he wouldn’t spoil the movie was fun too.

    • Mac says:

      Now let’s do “not all white people.”

      • Bettyrose says:

        It’s exactly the same thing. Talking over people’s experiences and dismissing them because it makes you personally uncomfortable. We could just replace “not all …” with “I personally have done nothing to dismantle systems of oppression but don’t want to hear about them either.”

      • Green Desert says:

        YES to you both. A “not all white women!” explosion erupted on a post here recently. Thankfully CB shut it down quick. The way some people in the dominant group center themselves in a discussion about systemic issues never ceases to amaze and infuriate me.

      • Dlc says:

        I am a white woman dating a non white man. YES! All white women! YES! All men. Racism and sexism is baked into our culture and our upbringing, and we need to root to dig it out. It is not going to do it on its own. It takes knowledge and work.

      • Storminateacup says:

        Yes this 1000% especially in England. Here the avg white person see’s every POC as a stereotype no one thinks there is a problem with that. Where prominent black voices in the media are heavily tone policed (told not to use divisive phrases like BLM) for them even heard. Globalisation has highlighted just how far behind England is in understanding the systemic racism its POC’s are faced with compared to the new world.

  2. Ainsley says:

    I always found him so unattractive, and then I watched him in a movie. Wowza is he charismatic . Still funny looking in pics, but I am a fan.

    • FHMom says:

      Same. In the last few weeks, I’ve watched 3 movies with him in it. I don’t find him the least bit attractive, but the boy can act. I’ve become a fan.

  3. novaroux says:

    Ben’s a good egg, always has been. Steps in it sometimes, but he seems like a truly decent man and a good ally.

    I was worried about this movie knowing his previous attempts at any American accent, but in the end I loved it. I don’t know that it’ll get him an Oscar this year, but he deserves a nod and I’m looking forward to his campaign.

    P.S. His wife’s fashion is… interesting? That red dress is mesmerising for some reason, and it looks like something I’m not supposed to like 😀 They’re a striking couple.

    • Desdemona says:

      I really like her dresses, they have pockets and they are different and nice. I wonder where she buys them…

      • North of Boston says:

        Yes to the pockets!

        I love when women choose red carpet dresses with pockets … part of me hopes designers will get the message and include them in more women’s clothing and up and coming designers will realize they can just include them in their designs like “of course all my dresses have pockets! Why wouldn’t they?”

        I’m so tired of fake pockets or the “pockets” that are so small that a house key would fall out of them if you walked 10 steps.

      • Novaroux says:

        Oh yeah, definitely the pockets <3

    • Ann says:

      I loved his performance in Power Of The Dog, but his accent was weird. He seemed to have created it for this specific character, who didn’t talk like the other characters in the movie. It worked for the movie, but it still didn’t sound authentic 1920s Montana. Regional accents are just very hard to nail.

      • Novaroux says:

        You’re right, it was still a bit odd. But I wonder if it also has to do with his voice. It’s so distinctive and, to me at least, hearing anything other than his natural accent sounds strange right off the bat.

      • Bettyrose says:

        I’ve never been impressed with his regional American accents. You’re always acutely aware it’s a fake accent.

  4. ellie says:

    Yay Benny! I’ve always liked him and he comes across very well here.

    Watched The Power of the Dog a few days ago and it was amazing. Definitely a movie that stays with you for a while and raises questions. Loved the sinister, tense atmosphere.

  5. North of Boston says:

    The contrast of the vibe in this Cumberbatch interview compared to the JR Men’s Health interview- wow!

    Grown successful man who tries to acknowledge the role toxic masculinity and many men’s behavior have played in causing harm vs angry pissed-at-the-world multi-millionaire dude who wont knock the giant chip off his shoulder long enough to have a light interaction with his daughter (or at least wants the world to think he won’t)

    Yeah, I know who I’d rather spent time with, even just a couple hours watching a movie.

  6. Juxtapoze says:

    This was a good palate cleanser for the Jeremy Renner story today.

  7. Kristen says:

    His performance was great, but I could not get through that whole movie – it was so incredibly dull.

    • North of Boston says:

      It was a slow burn, but so beautifully shot, and when it comes together, the slow burn was worth it in the end IMO.

      But I get just not enjoying a film and turning it off. There’s been a few I’ve started recently that just didn’t grab me, and I wasn’t in the mood to hang on until the end to see if it ever paid off.

      • Ann says:

        I felt that way about this movie. I was never bored even when it was slow, because there was so much tension, and I love the payoff My husband didn’t like it though. It’s not for everyone.

  8. Kviby says:

    “Not all men” is damaging. It’s not enough to not be a rapist. You have to try to stop that evil by reporting rape, including revenge porn, even if it’s your bro or relative. Also “all men” benefit from SO MANY of men being trash: their position as a “good potential partner” gives them the pick of many women who are not into the bad men and can’t be with those that are so bad they’re in jail. Supply and demand, the phenomenon of many men being trash is in the mediocre men’s favour. How motivated do y’all think they are to change it? Most of them are at least aware of red pill stuff and I think more then we realize see us as objects to obtain (and thus, we are discardable.)

    • Grumpy says:

      This. When I hear men talk about what they want and yes, they talk about money etc, and then they say ‘get women’ – so disappointing and disgusting. GET?

    • Ann says:

      Been living a man free life, it’s the best life.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Excellent points. So true.

    • Dlc says:

      Right? My SO sometimes asks why I put up with him. I don’t want to be an *ss….but have you HEARD the 45 year old men out there talking?! It’s a steep f*cking curve. And the only thing worse than the bros and the incels are the “sensitive guys” who use that as an excuse for awfulness

  9. Green Desert says:

    What a thoughtful, intelligent, non-fragile way to address a systemic issue. Good on Benedict.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Agreed. He’s right. It is a childish, vacuous, defensive, and myopic response. Whether it’s a man actually responding to conversations about toxic masculinity and violence against women with “not all men”, or other defenders of that take responding with the equally predictable, harmful, and self-centered, “Whatever. My experiences with men have been good. Maybe other women just aren’t well-adjusted and aren’t performing the patriarchy’s definition of respectable womanhood like me. Snowflakes.” We have to be able to put our own positive relationships and things we may still be wearing as badges of honor aside and see the bigger picture. Also, those badges of honor may not be so healthy and good after all if the response to people who don’t have, or want, those badges is to turn those people into scapegoats.

  10. Winechampion says:

    Women have been saying this forever, and I’m glad he’s saying it because men really only listen to other men. Lead by example, men.

    I can’t believe Sophie is wearing a dress I don’t hate. That red is stunning, and love the matching red lip.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Unfortunately, the men that should be listening are the ones who don’t think that they are the problem when in actuality they are 💯 percent of the problem. I will give kudos to Cumberbatch for saying it out loud though!! We need more men to step up and stomp out those who continue to be part of the problem. We need more discussions to be had at the adult table to root out the injustices that are perpetrated against women, across the board. Whether it be the pay scale injustices or the abuse that women are suffering from on a daily basis, and the greater abuses against WOC that are LBGTQIA or Native American women. There are women dying every day at the hands of men. The hands that have always had the benefit of being a male, whether it be their strength or their ability to question the atrocities that they commit against women, as they continue to victimize women when they are accused of abuse or rape.

      All of us, individually, make up our society. Until we start holding men, and those in power to carry out the justice, we won’t see the change that needs to be made. We can start with our voting rights, holding our representatives accountable and forcing our judicial system to make the necessary changes to hold men accountable. We can all make a difference in our choices and with our voices as well!!

  11. Mary says:

    So refreshing without denial the issues.
    Meanwhile, Adam Driver would never said anything like that. Everytime someone mentioned “toxic masculinity” he always get defensive. Maybe que can learn a little bit or two from Ben.

  12. Melanie says:

    I guess I’m in the minority here, but what is wrong with a guy saying “not all men” ? Isn’t it a fact that not all men are bad? I just don’t see what the problem is with a guy saying that while also trying to get guys to stop being jerks.

    • lanne says:

      Okay, I’ll take one for the team, CBs:

      “My boss asked me out on a date yesterday. It made me really uncomfortable.”

      “I would NEVER do that. Not all men are assholes, you know.”

      “I’m really worried that he’s not going to take no for an answer.”

      “We’ll just so you know, I would NEVER do that. Not all men are jerks you know. It makes me so mad when women go on and on about men being jerks when there are a lot of good guys that just want to meet a woman, settle down and have kids, but the bad guys ruin it for all of us.”

      “Listen, I’m trying to tell you about a problem I’m having—“

      “I’m tell you not all men are bad guys. I’m a great guy! I opened a door for a woman yesterday. In fact, she tried to open the door for me but I slammed it shut so I could open it for her. I know how to treat a lady!”

      “I’m really worried about my job—“

      “We’ll, what were you wearing when your boss asked you out? If you dress like a slut you’re going to get treated like a slut. Did you smile at him? You should stop flirting with your boss and then he won’t ask you out. Women are so two faced. They flirt with us and then get mad when we respond. Women just don’t know what they want…”

      Does this help?

      If you’re a guy, just use a guys name. You aren’t fooling anyone here. And if you’re “not like other girls” then oh lord. Sigh. Just remember that the women in your life that you think you’re so much better than, they’ll still be there once you realize that you are, indeed, just like other women, and you aren’t valued any more by men because you say you aren’t. Make sure you apologize to them for the asshole you’ve been. It’s okay. Lots of women go through this phase.

    • AMA1977 says:

      If you are truly asking, it’s because saying that refocuses the attention on men and “defense” of them instead of remaining on the nefarious deeds that “some men” commit. WE ALL KNOW it’s not “all men” so it doesn’t need to be said, and saying it in response to a report of some horrific thing A MAN has done takes away from support of the innocent AND minimizes the actual harm done to women at the hands of men. It’s an immature, knee-jerk reaction that shows you’re not really listening and you don’t really care.

  13. Celina says:

    I’m so happy this person is raising children (all boys, I think?). Yes. Please acknowledge that men have a LOT of work to do and lots of it starts with shutting the hell up and listening.