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Asking For It's Alexandra Shipp Explains Why Including Good Men In The Female Vigilante Film Was Essential - Exclusive

This article contains references to sexual assault.

In the thriller "Asking For It," a group of women that were victimized by men band together to bring down the Men's First Movement, an alt-right organization that champions the dominance of men over women. Helping to lead the charge is Regina, played by Alexandra Shipp, who's dedicated to defending women everywhere from men who mean them harm. Yet, she's also warm and generous to those she trusts, and her positive feelings aren't limited to just other women. Because, despite their past experiences with sexual assault and domestic violence, Regina and the rest of her femme vigilante group don't see all men in a negative light — and by including male characters that want the best for the women at the center of the story, the movie shows that men can be allies in the fight for women's equality.

Including positive depictions of men balances out the toxic figures that Regina and her gang are committed to taking down, and it ensures "Asking For It" represents a broader picture of masculinity than is often presented in pop culture. Shipp, whose impressive list of credits also includes roles in "tick, tick...BOOM!," "Love, Simon," and a young Storm in the most recent two "X-Men" movies, talked exclusively with Looper to discuss why it was important that "Asking For It" doesn't portray all men as bad figures.

Representing good men was important for the film

Alexandra Shipp hopes that "Asking For It" shines a spotlight on the many challenges women still face in American society today, but she also noted that, as the sister of two brothers, she knows there are many men who want to be allies. That made it essential to ensure the movie balanced out its portrayal of toxic masculinity with some good men, including Luke Hemsworth's character, the sympathetic cop Vernon. "We can't just turn all men into villains because they're not," Shipp reflected during a recent interview with Looper. "I come from a family of boys, and I know that there are good men out there. Ignorance is easy. Men don't experience the same things that we experience but they can empathize."

In fact, Shipp said that the assistance of sympathetic men is a necessity if women want real change to happen. "When there are good men out there who are trying to change the narrative, like my brothers, like ["Asking For It" director] Eamon [O'Rourke], then we can really do something," Shipp observed. "We live in the world of a patriarchy, that's our society. If we can get some of these dudes on our side, or if they're inherently on our side because they were either raised by good women or have seen enough strife to want to be a part of the solution, then we can really do something about it ... We need allies. That's the only way we're going to get stuff done, so we can't villainize all men because not all men are bad."

"Asking For It" is now playing in select theaters and is available for rental and purchase on digital and video on demand.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).