Lex Jurgen - November 4, 2016
A new trend among female celebrities in this year of I'm With Her is to relay their industry stories of sexism, sexual assault, and patriarchy. Whether recounting actual crimes, or merely cases of male misogyny rampant in the business, the common thread is also not naming names. That shouldn't necessarily suggest that they're making all these stories up. Merely that they fear lawsuit backlash, so they're half-assing their commitment to oppressed woman bona fides. Also, yes, some is made up.
Mila Kunis penned an open letter discussing the sexism she has faced in her fifteen years of working big TV and film gigs in Hollywood. She pointed out two specific cases to prove her point that this town is drenched in horrible men. Which is actually true. But not necessarily for the reasons Kunis mentions.
In her first example, Kunis points out how a male producer of a film she was working on pushed her to be semi-naked for a magazine cover to promote the movie. Which brings up a reasonable question about the definition of sexist. Is it sexist because he asked you to do a sexy promotion and you're a woman? Because Channing Tatum does about thirty magazine covers in various states of fireman stripper posing for his movie releases. Surely that's not without some begging from producers to earn his eight figure movie paychecks and help them turn a profit.
I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career I said 'no. And guess what? The world didn't end. The film made a lot of money and I did work in this town again, and again, and again. What this producer may never realize is that he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace.
Wait, sexism or gender bias? Both? The double whammy? I can only imagine the horror of saying no and then being allowed to say no and still keeping your job and big paychecks. Nobody suffers like the Norma Raes of Bel-Air.
In her second example, already getting weaker because she really has few of them, Kunis remembers even after opening her own production entity how she read an email that referred to her colloquially as "Ashton Kutcher's wife and baby mama". Technically true. But still.
He reduced my value to nothing more than my relationship to a successful man and my ability to bear children. It ignored my (and my team's) significant creative and logistical contributions.
Kunis finished up by mentioning how she's still standing and doing well while she's certain to never work with any of these men again because she's had enough. She penned her open letter on Aplus.com. The "A" stands for "Ashton". It's her husband's blog site for positivity. Don't read into this. She's more than an open letter tied to a successful man.
Herein lies the problem for rich and famous people bitching about anything. Nobody really cares. They always insist that their personal testimony is really merely a way to shine a light on the problems of the disenfranchised. Yet they never write these letters until something happens to them. And invariably their fixes are quick and easy and they never really suffer any material way of note. It's simply hard to sympathize for the Rockefeller's bitching about the price of bread.
There are a ton of dicks in Hollywood. Super annoying petty assholes. An increasing number of them are women as the number of women in the industry continues to rise. It's the nature of the beast. If women played middle linebacker in the NFL they'd beat their husbands and fuck around with nightclub trolls as well. When they've got their job and ass and inflated ego on the line for a shitty summer movie, female producers are going to demand demeaning shit of everybody involved. An act of douchery can't be horrible sexism simply because it's a man on one end and a woman on the other. The word asshole need to come back in a big way and replace misogynist. The number of open letters will diminish proportionally. I'm With Ashton.
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