Dame Helen Mirren Has Some Choice Words for Men Who Treat Their Girlfriends Like Property
Like many women of a certain age, Dame Helen Mirren does not give a fuck about what you think of her. Nor does she GAF about outdated standards dictating male-female interactions.
So when it comes to modern relationships, she has some words for men who walk around with their arms around women as if they are property: Take your damn arm off, or else so help her, God, she'll take it off for you.
In a no-fucks-given interview with the Daily Mail, the 70-year-old actress shared her thoughts on when she sees young couples walking down the street together.
"It annoys me when I see men with an arm slung round their girlfriend's shoulders. It's like ownership," she told the publication. "Of course, when you're young, you want the guy to take your hand and look after you. But when I see girls being leaned on, I want to say, 'Tell him to get his damned arm off your shoulder.'"
Whether or not you agree with her is irrelevant. The Queen has spoken. Men: Shut. It. Down.
Mirren's comments have sparked a firestorm of controversy. Some have accused her of being a curmudgeon and "seeking out sexist slights where none is intended." Others, like the Guardian's Lucy Mangan, agree that the gesture is a way for men to publicly claim their significant others as property, an evolutionary mechanism aimed at warning other men on the street to back off.
"It is a sign of ownership, undoubtedly. Not like a chastity belt or scold's bridle, or marital rape, but a mild form of that almost equally ancient art of cockblocking," Mangan wrote.
Whether a public embrace is merely a friendly gesture between two lovebirds or a subtle microaggression in an inherently sexist culture is certainly up for debate. But Mirren is also making a larger point about women and feminism: We're still struggling to carve out our own identities in a society that still insists on defining us in relation to men.
"Women are still toddlers in this modern world, trying to find their position in the age of sexual liberation, birth control, education and financial independence," she told the Daily Mail. "We're still finding our path. And yes, we're making a lot of mistakes along the way."
Teach us your ways, Helen Mirren. Womankind needs you.