05/07/2015 08:24 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Dear Jeremy Renner, Can You Not?

JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images


Dear Jeremy Renner,

We need to talk. I know you're a little tired right now. Doing press for "The Avengers" is hard. Being a movie star is hard. Few among us truly know what it is like to wear a leather vest while pretend-fighting with arrows. But it's time to take a nap and get it together, Jeremy! Being tired is not a good enough excuse for slut-shaming Black Widow. Again.


The first time you put your foot in your mouth with a "slut" comment, you graced us with a grand non-apology, saying you were "exhausted" and clarifying that Black Widow is fictional. We know that Black Widow is fictional, Jeremy. Apparently, the other thing that is fictional is your sorriness.

Now you've gone and resurrected your original comments in an interview with Conan O'Brien, because apparently you are still confused why no one finds them hilarious. Here's what you said (in case you are too exhausted to remember right now): “Mind you, I was talking about a fictional character and fictional behavior. But, Conan, if you slept with four of the six Avengers, no matter how much fun you had, you’d be a slut, I’d be a slut.”

Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy.

Conan would not be a "slut." You would not be a "slut." Has anyone in your whole entire life turned to you and said, "Oh, my God, Jeremy. You are such a slut." If the answer is "no," then I hate to break it to you, but that's not just because you haven't slept with four of the Avengers. (Also, holy Smurfette Principle, Black Widow hasn't slept with four of the Avengers either. But that's besides the point.)

I mean, based on the shock with which you regard sleeping with four people, I don't know, Jeremy. Maybe you lead a very chaste life. That's your choice. In general, when men (fictional or otherwise) sleep with multiple people (Avengers or otherwise) they are called "studs" or "players" or some other outdated '90s terminology congratulating their conquests. Or, you know, their sexual history isn't commented on at all. Only women are called "sluts." That's the real problem here, Jeremy.

You cannot brush the whole thing off by saying you "got in Internet trouble." Honestly, Jeremy, I cannot even begin to know why you insist on discussing the Internet like you are Donald Trump at a Republican bake sale. You did not get in "Internet trouble." You were sexist and then you got called out by people who were able to amplify their voices through the Internet.

I can't believe I have to explain this to you right now, but the idea that "boys will be boys, and girls will be sluts" is one of the most invasive double standards women deal with. Author Leora Tanenbaum explained the (sexist) logic behind it: "For most people, 'slut' means a woman who is disgusting, shameful and out of control sexually ... Men are expected, even encouraged, to be sexually active -- even in an uncontrolled manner -- while women are expected to be minimally sexual."

Do you get it now, Jeremy? It's not about how many partners you have, or how much "fun" you have while having sex. The point is that calling women "sluts" is just another way of judging and attempting to control female sexuality. If this is still in any way confusing, a very simple rule to live by: Do. Not. Call. Women. Sluts. Another option would be to just stop talking.


P.S. Maybe chat with Mark Ruffalo? It seems like Mark Ruffalo gets it.

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Follow Lauren Duca on Twitter: @laurenduca



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