Will Smith, another man we shouldn’t be | Women

Those of us who frequently dedicate ourselves to trying to explain to the youngest the urgency of dismantling patriarchal masculinity have a hard time finding alternative references that serve as an example. It continues to be much easier for us to explain it in the negative, that is, by giving examples of men whose behaviors we should not imitate because they represent all the toxicity that emanates from a subjectivity built to dominate and feel important. The Oscar ceremony has offered us another flagrant case that perfectly sums up everything that men should not be. Will Smith’s reaction to Chris Rock’s unfortunate joke contains all the elements that allow us to identify a model of masculinity that today remains the main obstacle to building a world without gender inequality and in which violence leaves to be legitimate. A violence that is linked to the idea of ​​power, to the omnipotence in which we men have been socialized and to the assumption that there is no better way to manage conflicts than by resorting to force. In this way, violence still today becomes for many a mechanism for reaffirming virility and even restoring honor supposedly lost.

In Will Smith’s reaction, not only beats that legitimization of violence that, I insist, emanates from a masculinity conceived in terms of control and conquest, but also the justification of our eternal role as patriarchs, restorers of order, guardians of virtues and of the honor of women, defenders as if we were superheroes of whom many continue to consider minors. To which, therefore, in the same way that we are forced to defend tooth and nail, we can at another time submit to the vilest practices of exploitation and servitude. The sum of these two extremes is the most dramatic evidence of the horror implied by the macho culture embodied in individuals like Smith. That type who, in the style of what many abusers usually do, then try to justify themselves, ask for forgiveness and even ask for mercy. From the hand that slaps the wet eyes. In between, the naked superhero.

And, thirdly, but not least, the largely complicit reaction, of course, from the Academy, but also from an audience that should not have given the actor a single round of applause, has also been striking. Faced with situations like this, we cannot be complicit by omission, much less place ourselves in the equidistance. An exercise in which we men usually take refuge so as not to feel traitors in front of the brotherhood that supports us and reaffirms our virility.

Hopefully, in the best of cases, the example of Will Smith will have pedagogical effects and generate a current of discomfort and criticism among men. A kind of Me Too in reverse, in which we make it clear that we are not willing to tolerate such behavior and that we also assume the commitment to denounce them when they happen around us. Only when this masculine commitment is effective will we begin to inhabit a world in which, finally, individuals like the actor who has won the Oscar for his routine portrayal of a man who exploits the talent of his daughters cease to exist. The vicious circle closes. So nothing to applaud.

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