Sean Penn is standing by his view that American men are becoming feminized in recent years, after he publicly made comments against them wearing traditional women’s clothing during an interview with British publication The Independent. During the discussion, during which he was promoting his latest film, the crime drama ‘Flag Day,’ the two-time Oscar-winning actor said: “There are a lot of, I think, cowardly genes that lead to [men] surrendering their jeans and putting on a skirt.”

The filmmaker later defended his initial remarks while talking to another UK outlet, The i, during a follow-up interview. During the conversation, he stated: “I am in the club that believes that men in American culture have become wildly feminized. I don’t think that being a brute or having insensitivity or disrespect for women is anything to do with masculinity, or ever did. But, I don’t think that [in order] to be fair to women, we should become them.”

Penn added that the women in his life – including his daughter, Dylan, who he directed in ‘Flag Day’ — don’t see masculinity as being inherently oppressive. “I have these very strong women in my life who do not take masculinity as a sign of oppression toward them,” he noted while promoting the film, which is based on Jennifer Vogel’s 2004 book ‘Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life.’

The filmmaker also discussed how his character in ‘Flag Day’ is a conman and bank robber who’s connected to white American male entitlement. Penn, who has explored masculinity with many of his roles throughout his career, said it’s something he’s witnessed in many people around him today.

The ‘Mystic River’ and ‘Milk’ star didn’t specifically call out any of his fellow famous male entertainers who he feels are becoming too comfortable with their femininity. But musicians Harry Styles and Kid Cudi famously wore skirts during performances and/or photo shoots they participated in last year, which also made headlines across the U.S.

During his interview with The Independent, Penn also spoke about his views on people who are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “Sometimes people take their privilege and freedom as a right to be anti-citizen, to be failed citizens. Those who will search out the kind of bogus science that would give them legitimacy [when it comes to] not being vaccinated.”

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