Mila Kunis has been a part of the Hollywood industry for nearly 22 years. As a Hollywood starlet, she's been on the cover of numerous fashion magazines and appeared on Red Carpets every award season. Does this mean that the Hollywood veteran is exempt from the same kind of sexism non-celebrity women face on a daily basis? Fuck no.
Kunis recently published an open letter on Ashton Kutcher's website, Aplus, criticizing an unnamed producer for telling her that she would either pose "semi-naked" in a men's magazine or she'd "never work in this town again." Kunis turned him down and, contrary to his threat, she continued to work in "this town" for years after, becoming the well-known actress that she is today.
Although this story ends on a positive note, Kunis points out that this situation was the perfect example of the conundrum women face when faced with sexism in the workplace: "It’s what we are conditioned to believe — that if we speak up, our livelihoods will be threatened; that standing our ground will lead to our demise. We don’t want to be kicked out of the sandbox for being a 'bitch.' So we compromise our integrity for the sake of maintaining status quo and hope that change is coming."
Kunis writes about her experience as a woman in Hollywood, having to endure years of belittlement, insults, and often times taking a pay-cut in relation to her male co-stars. She has witnessed the Hollywood "boy's club" and she's tried to play the game, only to find that she was contributing the same kind of sexism that affects her fellow female peers. Fed up with this sexist bullshit, Kunis began her own production company with three other women in the hopes of bringing more equality and inclusivity to television and movies.
Ironically, when she was pitching a show to a network, the producer made this idiotic comment in their email chain: “And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton’s wife and baby momma!!!”
Mila is a take-no-shit kind of gal, and immediately walked away from the project. To all of this gender-based bullshit she had this to say:
"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."
This letter is an inspiring call to arms for women everywhere. For many women, it can be frustrating to have to endure workplace sexism and feel like you can't say anything because you might lose your job. However, progress is not made by staying quiet. Change is made by women refusing to put up with gender bias and banding together to put an end the "boy's club."
Kunis puts it best: "I will work in this town again, but I will not work with you."
You can read the full letter here.
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