Wentworth Miller, the 44-year-old openly gay actor (“Prison Break” / “Legends of Tomorrow”) often uses his popular Facebook page to talk about mental issues, shaming and homophobia.
When a hateful man responded to one of his posts with a “Little Bitch” comment – Wentworth decided not to stay quiet about it.
It all started yesterday, when Wentworth posted a link, on his Facebook page that holds more than a million followers, to an article titled “4 Ways Sexist, Macho Culture Hurts Men“. Perhaps in a perfect example of how to be a “sexist, macho man”, a guy from Germany commented on the post and wrote these hateful words:
“A real man on camera and nothing but a little bitch in real life, way to go Michael!”
Wentworth decided not to just ignore or delete the comment, and instead – posted a screenshot of it, as a teachable moment:
Normally I would just ban this person. Their sentiments have zero nutritional value and, in my opinion, reflect an antiquated belief system that is not only harmful, but on its way out.
That said, the attitude expressed does open the door to some interesting topics. Like gender performance, gender policing, shaming, sexuality, projection, toxic masculinity, and the lowering of public discourse.
Following the screenshot, and in response to the comments that followed, Wentworth posted again:
I’ve read some lovely comments today. There was a lot of food for thought. I also read a lot of advice. Much of which boiled down to “It’s only words.” “Sticks and stones.” Etc.
I recognize, and appreciate, that this is coming from a positive, supportive, protective place. If only it was true.
Words matter. Labels matter. The way in which we speak to and about each other matters. Politicians spewing hate from the podium one day translates into real world violence the next. We know this.
What’s more, IMO, “You shouldn’t let it get to you” is code for “man up.” With respect, I consider it to be another form of gender policing.
For the record, this person’s comment was momentarily unpleasant. Then it was over. It affected me because I’m a human being.
I feel things. Then I move through them. And one of the ways I do that is by examining the situation and looking for the gift. The gold. The lesson.
And as someone who’s been called a “little bitch” before (because #sexism #misogyny #homophobia #toxicmasculinity), this felt like an opportunity for dissection and discussion. And I took it. Hence the repost.
This isn’t the first time Wenworth had to face shaming head on – earlier this year, he was the target of an “internet meme” that made fun of his weight. He wrote a powerful response to it – which caught up on social media, and eventually reached close to 80 million people.