The #MeToo movement exploded on social media in 2017 as an outpouring of female voices speaking out against sexual harassment and assault, but in the past couple of years, the movement has not only identified those who did wrong, but also unveiled a slew of male feminist allies who felt that speaking out against toxic masculinity was a long time coming.
#MeToo and the subsequent Time’s Up movement it launched have changed our world as we know it, altering the landscape of global workplaces and forcing questions of what is ethical or appropriate into the forefront. Women, from Christine Blasey Ford to Rose McGowan, have been powerful voices for change, and they have finally been heard. Here are some of the awesome men who are supporting women as part of #MeToo – besides Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau.
Possibly the closest we’ve seen to perfection in a human being – bar wife Chrissy Teigen – John Legend has long been an outspoken feminist, declaring in 2013: “All men should be feminists. If men care about women’s rights the world will be a better place.”
He welcomed the #MeToo movement, telling CNBC: “It’s a change that I think will make the world better for my daughter when she grows up and wants to get a job in whatever industry she wants to get it in. It’ll make it better for my son, too. He’ll understand what the rules of the road are and he’ll treat women, hopefully, in a way where they’re equals and they’re not merely judged on how they look, but on what they can contribute to the team.”
Recently, he’s been praised for being just the kind of ally women need after making an appearance in the R. Kelly documentary – the only bold-faced celebrity to do so. “To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn’t feel risky at all. I believe these women and don’t give a f**k about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision,” he tweeted.
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Mia Farrow’s son has been a leading figure in the #MeToo movement, investigating and reporting on sexual misconduct in Hollywood, and helping to bring down Harvey Weinstein (as well as writing exposés on Les Moonves and Brett Kavanaugh), across his series of New Yorker articles. Farrow’s work is widely recognising for helping trigger the #MeToo movement and his exposés have been turned into a book, Catch and Kill. He won a Pulitzer for his work – and cemented himself as a champion of women everywhere.
The tennis star recently announced his retirement (happening later this year), but it’s not just his prowess on the court that fans will miss – it’s his behaviour off-court too, from his unusual position as one of the world’s top tennis players with a female coach (Amelie Mauresmo, whom he hired in 2014), to his comfort in calling out journalists’ sexist remarks. He’s spoken out about female tennis players being paid the same as men: “Anyone who has spent any time with any of the top women will know that they make those same sacrifices and are as determined and committed to winning as any of the top men on the tour,” he said. No wonder Serena Williams and Billie Jean King are fans. “Great player, normal bloke, and best of all casual feminist,” summed up Labour MP Jess Phillips in a tweet.
When the Weinstein scandal broke in 2017, Ruffalo condemned the mogul’s actions, saying it was, “a disgusting abuse of power and horrible,” before asking men to make a plea to change using the hashtag #HowIWillChange. He vowed: “I will never catcall a woman again. Growing up we were taught from watching movies that a catcall was a compliment. I would do it to friends and girlfriends.” Ruffalo hasn’t just jumped on the latest fashionable celebrity trend: long before #MeToo, Ruffalo was vocal about his support of women’s reproductive rights. He wrote a letter in 2013, which was read aloud at a right-to-choose rally, about his mother’s illegal abortion.
James Van Der Beek
James Van Der Beek opened up about the sexual harassment he endured at the hands of “older, powerful men” and has harnessed his celebrity on social media to discuss everything from toxic masculinity to miscarriage. The father of five posted on Instagram: “Being a real man means being strong enough to be empathetic. To be sensitive. To be caring, kind, and confident enough to appreciate and nurture your feminine side. If you start with that as a base, all that other stereotypically ‘manly’ behaviour (none of which is exclusive to males, btw) might just accomplish some good.” He also spoke up for women who have experienced miscarriage, writing: “First off – we need a new word for it. ‘Mis-carriage,’ in an insidious way, suggests fault for the mother – as if she dropped something, or failed to ‘carry.’ From what I’ve learned, in all but the most obvious, extreme cases, it has nothing to do with anything the mother did or didn’t do. So let’s wipe all blame off the table before we even start.” We always knew Dawson was an upstanding guy.
Because he tweeted this on International Women’s Day 2019: “It’s time to turn it over to women! Men have had their chance to run the world and look where we are…” We think he’s got a point.