Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Helen Mirren: When men put their arms around their girlfriends, it's “like ownership”

rexfeatures_5074029ac.jpg

Helen Mirren has long been a spokesperson for equal rights. The Oscar-winning actor, 70, has always spoken-out against the misogyny she’s encountered and the things she finds intolerable in society.

Mirren is someone who has experienced public sexism herself (we all remember that infamous Parkinson interview), and regularly makes-known her feelings about inequalities within society, expressing her distaste for words such as ‘feisty’ and ‘sassy’.

This week, the actor has caused controversy by expressing her irritation about men putting their arms around their partners, comparing the act to “ownership.”

Some people have applauded Mirren’s remarks, saying the gesture is possessive, but others see it as a sign of love and have suggested she’s taken things too far.

In the interview with You magazine, Mirren says:

“It annoys me when I see men with an arm slung round their girlfriend’s shoulders. It’s like ownership.”

“Of course, when you’re young, you want the guy to take your hand and look after you but when I see girls being leaned on, I want to say, “Tell him to get his damned arm off your shoulder.”’

The star of The Queen went on to say:

“Women are still toddlers in this modern world, trying to find their position in the age of sexual liberation, birth control, education and financial independence.”

“At 70 years old, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to use the words “f*** off” much more frequently,” says Mirren.

man woman

A symbol of ownership or a loving gesture?

Author Katy Lette agrees with Mirren’s comments, saying in The Mirror that historically, women have been the property of men, and that “a proprietorial drape of the male arm around a woman’s shoulders can be a reminder of this subservience.”

And journalist and Stylist columnist Lucy Mangan says that the act is one of “passive aggression. Demure possessiveness.”

But Loose Women star, Coleen Nolan, says that she "couldn't disagree more" and Mirren's comments are "feminism going too far."

Mirren went on to discuss the positive elements of growing old for women, saying:

“There’s a huge pressure on young girls to look a certain way these days but, as I age, I’ve lost that incredible insecurity of youth.”

The actor said she doesn’t worry about how she looks anymore and happily gets on the bus without make-up, but that:

“Growing old is not for pussies – you’ve got to have courage. But then, you’ve got to have courage in life anyway.”

Related

rexfeatures_4428012d.jpg

Helen Mirren; ‘calling women 'feisty' makes me gag’

rexfeatures_3687096j.jpg

In their own words; how A-list women feel about ageing

rexfeatures_4634569cd.jpg

Celebrities speak out on the secret to long-lasting love

angrymob.png

'Is our fight for equality descending into a witch-hunt?'

rexfeatures_3772552i.jpg

Chrissie Hynde sparks outrage over rape comments

woman.jpg

Emma Thompson on becoming Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast remake

ThinkstockPhotos-487683424.jpg

Can watching porn really be linked to feminism?

charlotte-proudman-barrister.jpg

“The LinkedIn barrister wasn't a victim of misogyny”

rexfeatures_5052948q.jpg

Sienna Miller quits play over gender pay gap dispute

rexfeatures_4831604o.jpg

Tavi Gevinson: "Beauty isn't a frivolous thing"

Comments

More

Danielle Brooks has something important to say about her stretch marks

The Orange is the New Black star has dubbed them the "road map of my strength"

by Jasmine Andersson
21 Apr 2017

Davina McCall on how she beat her heroin addiction: ‘I lost everyone’

The TV presenter has spoken candidly about her struggles with drug abuse

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Apr 2017

Tess Holliday slams Uber over "fat-shaming" driver

The body-positive model is boycotting the cab service for a driver's inappropriate questions about her health.

by Hayley Spencer
20 Apr 2017

Why Chelsea Clinton wants to talk about periods and breastfeeding

The former First Daughter has made it her mission to eradicate taboos

by Elle Griffiths
20 Apr 2017

Anne Hathaway didn’t trust One Day director because she was a woman

“I’m so scared that I treated her with internalized misogyny.”

by Moya Crockett
20 Apr 2017

Serena Williams was pregnant when she won the Australian Open

And she didn’t drop a single set

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Apr 2017

Katy Perry on how going into therapy changed her life for the better

“When I am in the room I am just Katheryn Hudson, which is amazing.”

by Moya Crockett
19 Apr 2017

Jessica Chastain reveals how she gets paid as much as male co-stars

The A-lister has learned to play hard ball when it comes to Hollywood sexism

by Elle Griffiths
19 Apr 2017

Star Wars writer shares story of being sexually harassed on train

“I’m telling this story to remind you that this is what women face every. Goddamn. Day.”

by Moya Crockett
19 Apr 2017

Amanda Seyfried chats to Stylist about mental health and farm life

“It feels good to speak my mind”

by Helen Bownass
18 Apr 2017