I didn’t want to pile onto Jeremy Renner. Frankly, as pissed off as I was by his really crappy commentary on Black Widow, I just wanted to move on. Chris Evans/Captain America made a reasonably sincere sounding apology. Renner gave us the standard “I’m sorry if you were offended” non-apology. It was bullshit and it was meaningless, but it wasn’t worth the effort. Better that we focus on helping people understand why you shouldn’t call Black Widow a slut and what it really means when people like Jeremy Renner do just that.
Oh, but Jeremy Renner can’t quit and so when he was on Conan the other night the topic arose…
So, there are a few things that this made me want to address and the first thing is – can we just accept that when you say shitty things, the internet will know and will call you on it. Please stop acting like it’s in any way surprising. Please stop acting like “the internet” is some bizarre niche-culture. It’s getting extremely old at this point.
The other thing that I would love people – and let’s be real, men – like Jeremy Renner to stop doing is to stop pretending that “slut” is a word that can be applied equally to women and men. It isn’t. Just saying that you could in theory call a man a slut doesn’t actually mean that you would or that you do or that even if you did it would mean the same thing. Renner says that if he were linked to 4 different Avengers he’d be a slut too. Of course, if we’re assuming that Renner is a straight man and he’s linked romantically to 4 Avengers then we live in a magical world where there are four female Avengers. Renner wouldn’t be a slut, he’d be “the man” and the four female Avengers would all be sluts. Well, probably one of them would be his “true love” and the other three would be the slutty bad friends that tried to lure him away. Even if – as in the case of Black Widow – Renner’s character didn’t actually hook up with anyone the women would still bear the brunt of the bad reputation.
It’s not just that, though. If Hawk Eye is banging chicks left and right, he’s a hero. His biggest problem in life is that his hands hurt from all the high fives because – again – the word slut does not get applied to men. The word slut originated as as a word designed to insult women, just women. If you hear it used about a man it is almost always in jest. Actual jest, not Jeremy-Renner-about-Black-Widow jest. It’s hilarious, the very idea of a man being a slut. That would mean that men sleeping around (or in fact even seeming interested in multiple women, or not being interested in a woman because that’s a thing that women have to deal with…being a slut because you’re not into a dude) was a bad thing, when in fact men sleeping around is just what we expect men to do.
Lastly though, and not least of all, I’m so fucking tired of the “I’m just so super real and I just say things that offend people but that’s just how I am” non-defense. Hey, you know what that makes you? An asshole. No one – except other assholes – is honoring your super realness. No one – except other assholes – finds your no-holds-barred approach to life in any way cool or refreshing. I guess at least thanks for bringing it to our attention that you’re awful.