You may know Henry Cavill from starring roles in superhero films like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, or from British period pieces like The Tudors, I Capture the Castle and Tristan and Isolde. Regardless of where you tend to get your Henry Cavill fix, however, you’ve probably noticed that he happens to be exceptionally attractive. You should probably stop pointing it out, though.
An old video featuring various clips of Cavill looking visibly uncomfortable during awkward interviews in which reporters and co-stars alike blatantly address his good looks has begun making the rounds again, as have calls for us all to stop objectifying this poor, hot man. No, really I mean it. Stop talking about how hot Henry Cavill is. It must be very hard for him to be so objectively handsome.
My general lack of sympathy for the plight of the very attractive aside, Cavill’s crusaders do make a good point. We shouldn’t be objectifying anyone, even very attractive movie stars who probably owe their career, at least in part, to that attractiveness. Admittedly, video footage of reporters asking a female star some of the same questions Cavill has had to endure — like Katie Couric’s inquiry of whether the star ever worries about his good looks “getting in they way of [his] acting” — would probably stoke some justified public outrage, especially amid the ongoing reckoning with media mistreatment of female celebrities in the early 2000s amid the #FreeBritney movement.
Then again, while there are valid arguments to be made against the objectification of beauty and those who possess it, one might also argue that physical attractiveness is a privilege, not unlike whiteness, thinness, maleness or wealth. In this way, attempts to expose the grave injustice hot people face due to their hotness can read a bit like claims of “reverse-racism” against white people, which is not a thing, because white people have not endured the same kind of historic marginalization and injustice as people of color. Likewise, being hot is not a marginalized identity. Whether one wants to acknowledge it or not, conforming to Western beauty ideals is a source of privilege, one that often comes with various socioeconomic benefits. Does this mean that Henry Cavill owes his career success entirely to his effortlessly coiffed hair, Greek-god-like body and face that looks like it was carved out of marble by a Renaissance master? Of course not. He’s also a great actor. That said, having a perfect jawline probably hasn’t hurt his career, okay?
Regardless, if we accept that the objectification of women is wrong, then that standard should probably apply to men too. Henry Cavill is more than just a sexy piece of meat, so please stop talking about how sexy this very sexy man is. No, really. Stop it right now.
Thanks for reading InsideHook. Sign up for our daily newsletter and be in the know.