Morgan Freeman has finally gotten on the infamous #metoo list.
A few months ago, I did a portrait of Morgan Freeman from a photograph. This is the one. It’s a pen-sketch with some more sketching in Photoshop.
About the recent #metoo controversy…
One Ms. Melas, a CNN reporter, had set the ball rolling. She felt uncomfortable while interviewing Mr. Freeman because he looked her up and down several times and repeatedly said something to the effect of “I wish I were there,” a story that wasn’t corroborated by rest of the crew as they said only one of those comments was recorded.
Morgan Freeman has apologized and said that he never “assaulted” a woman, and that he’s sorry if he made women feel uncomfortable around him.
Now, men making women “uncomfortable” by looking up and down is something that’s debatable, mostly because a reasonably attractive woman just needs to step out of the house and she’s looked “up and down,” and I know from my experience of living in hostels that many women who don’t get looked become very depressed. They attempt all sorts of harmful-to-health effects to get men to look them up and down – including wearing hourglass waist-lined dresses that pinch their midriffs and walking provocatively but dangerously on stilettos.
And this bit about sizing-up isn’t restricted to men. When a male eye candy passes by, women look them “up and down” though less overtly, sometimes from behind their goggles but often not, and a few even drool open-mouthed.
This visual attention is often is appreciation of the human form generally peppered with some fleeting sexual interest that disappears as soon as the object of attention moves out of their visual field.
The human form naked as well as clothed has been the subject of artistic inquiry through centuries. Artists have used both male and female forms with gusto through the last thousand years, and while female artists of the Renaissance period stayed with portraying only the fully clothed female form, the male artists had a field day painting their models au-naturel. Men have traditionally been more brazen (for want of a more appropriate word) in their approach to the human body.
Now when does this supposed “appreciation of the human form” become the subject of #metoo?
When it leaves the woman uncomfortable. I understand that it happens when the man is usually a dodderer and the woman much younger. When a handsome young man (say, Channing Tatum or even Ashton Kutcher) sizes a woman up, it’s admiration but when an eighty-two-year-old Morgan Freeman does it, it leaves women uncomfortable.
Unfortunately habits once formed are difficult to break, and I guess that’s why we find so many old men drooling helplessly – quite like a penniless child who looks through the glass window of a bakery.
The fact that mature women too experience desire upon witnessing the toned muscles and bronzed bodies of men is overlooked mostly because women don’t gape at them open-mouthed nor move their heads sideways to follow their subject of interest like a puppy watches a piece of chicken. This is so because they have spent their youth being the “observed” and not the “observer.”
In my opinion, Morgan Freeman’s fall into the #metoo cauldron was initiated because with his advancing age he didn’t transform into a universal dad or a universal grand-dad (he was even rumored to have an affair with E’Dena Hines, his grand-daughter from his first wife who isn’t a blood relative but about 45 years his junior.) His long-formed habit of “appreciating” the female form and such rumors possibly led to his #metoo-ing. Ms. Melas’ journalistic sense would have definitely reasoned that with her personal experience with him and his rumored interest in younger women would lead her to more such women who’d like to share their stories with her.
All this contrasts with what I understand of molestation. In my opinion, molestation happens when a man touches a woman inappropriately without consent. Period.
If looking at a woman’s form or making a slightly off-color remark in her presence would result in being #metoo-ed, I think men would have to tip-toe around women, always careful of what they spoke, how they behaved – and that, I believe would render this world quite colorless.
I think Morgan Freeman didn’t molest those women and if he did make them feel uncomfortable, he didn’t do it on purpose. It’s time to accept his apology and move on. Molestation is a serious offense and l don’t think Morgan Freeman deserves to be on that #metoo list. Let us not trivialize the pain of molestation by bringing every little look and comment within its purview.
Note: This is a hobby-sketch done from a photograph that I admired for its lighting. Since this is a proportionate reproduction of the photograph, please don’t enquire for licensing the image. It’s not for sale/licensing.