Mila Kunis is done making excuses for the sexism she’s experienced in Hollywood.
In a powerful essay posted to her husband Ashton Kutcher’s website A Plus on Wednesday, the 33-year-old actress details some of her experiences dealing with gender bias as an actress.
“You’ll never work in this town again,” the post begins. “A cliché to be sure, but also what a producer threatened when I refused to pose semi-naked on the cover of a men’s magazine to promote our film.”
The comment left Kunis feeling “livid” and “objectified,” but, she writes, “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.”
The producer was wrong, but, Kunis points out, by making the comment “he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace.” Fearing retribution, women “compromise our integrity for the sake of maintaining the status quo and hope that change is coming,” the actress writes.
During her career in Hollywood, Kunis says, “There have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender.” She adds, “I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy’s club. But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realised that it’s bulls—! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen.”
In order to combat the trend, Kunis founded a production company with “three amazing women.” Recently, she says her team partnered with a male producer on a project that was, ironically, aimed at shining light on “inclusivity and our shared human experience.”
Despite the nature of the project, Kunis intercepted the following alleged email from the producer: “And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton’s wife and baby mumma!!!”
The actress writes that aside from the email’s “factual inaccuracies,” the producer “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.” Her team ultimately withdrew from the project.
“It’s these very comments that women deal with day in and day out in offices, on calls, and in emails — microaggressions that devalue the contributions and worth of hard-working women,” she explains.
Moving forward, Kunis promises, “I’m done compromising; even more so, I’m done with being compromised. So from this point forward, when I am confronted with one of these comments, subtle or overt, I will address them head on; I will stop in the moment and do my best to educate. I cannot guarantee that my objections will be taken to heart, but at least now I am part of creating an environment where there is the opportunity for growth. And if my comments fall on deaf ears, I will choose to walk away.”
Kunis also notes that “if this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere.”
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