During a panel at last week’s Women in the World Summit, actor and #MeToo activist Terry Crews talked about the “cult” of toxic masculinity, and how men often fail to perceive women as “all the way human.”
“Masculinity can be a cult,” Crews explained. “And when I say ‘cult,’ it’s no different than David Koresh. It’s no different than Jim Jones.” He went on:
This is what happens with men and women. […] As a woman, they talk, but a guy is not looking at you as even all the way human. This is what you have to understand — there is a humanity issue here,” he continued. “[Women are] like, ‘Why don’t you hear me? Why don’t you see my feelings?’ And [men are] like, ‘But you’re not all the way human. You’re here for me, you’re here for my deal.’ It’s real.
Crews also admitted his own complicity in this system.
“I am guilty,” he said. “I believed, simply because I was a man, that I was more valuable than my wife and the other women in my life.”
To illustrate his point, he talked about going to strip clubs with his teammates when he was playing football:
You go to the strip club, and here’s the woman, and the whole thing. And once she starts talking about that she has kids or she starts talking about anything in her life, it’s like, ‘Stop, stop, stop.’ Because [she’s] becoming a human before my eyes. I don’t want you to be a human. I want you to be an object. I want you to be something pretty to look at. But as you talk, you’re making things too real for me.
The clip of Crews’s statement has been recirculating this week, and as upsetting as his words are, there’s something refreshing about them, about their honesty. That many men see women as subhuman probably won’t come as a surprise to most women (or most men), but it’s a truth that is rarely stated so plainly. And, as Crews and so many of the #MeToo activists know, it’s only by confronting these ugly truths head-on that we can begin to move forward.
Watch the full clip of Crews’s statement below.