Mila Kunis Calls Out Hollywood for Sexism That Reduces Her to Just a Wife & Mom

Hollywood is sexist. We know this. We've heard it from celebrities who have felt it themselves and we've seen the stats. We've even seen the movies -- we know how few women there are in starring roles. But it doesn't matter if we know the truth -- every time someone new speaks about it, it's still a win for the movement toward a less dick-ish Hollywood, and Mila Kunis's letter about the casual sexism she got from a producer she worked with is no exception. We're not surprised to hear about her experience. Not exactly. But we're really, really glad she said something.

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Her letter, which was originally published on Medium but later re-printed on Ashton Kutcher's site, A Plus, calls out the actions of what sounds like two separate producers -- one who told her she had to pose semi-naked on a magazine cover for a movie if she wanted a future in Hollywood (no), and another who apparently only saw her as the wife of Ashton and the mother of Wyatt and not as herself (also no).

This kind of casual sexism, she said, is usually accepted and understood to be necessary in Hollywood. As she wrote:

Throughout my career, there have been moments when I have been insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender. And always, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt; maybe they knew more, maybe they had more experience, maybe there was something I was missing. 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 realized that it's bullsh-t! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen.

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Now, she's saying she doesn't want to be part of it anymore. Her solution in 2014 was founding a production company, Orchard Farm Productions, with three other women, and only choosing projects that let her work with other women or men she trusts to, you know, not be assholes.

But that doesn't mean she was free of them (meaning: assholes) altogether. She said she received this message in an email chain with a producer she was previously excited to work with -- one she thought respected her talents as they stood on their own:

And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton's wife and baby momma!!!

And that's kind of the crux of it, right? Yes, we have a problem with representation of women in Hollywood. Yes, there's still a "boys' club" mentality that limits the power women are able to hold. Yes, there still needs to be a reevaluation of beauty standards and what kinds of female bodies Hollywood features and celebrates.

More from CafeMom: 16 Celebrities the Internet Mom-Shamed for Their Parenting

But all of those problems go back to this: Many men -- even the most well-meaning of them -- often still view women in the context of other people. They're somebody's wife or somebody's daughter or somebody's sister. They're somebody's mother.

And while all that's true, it's not who women are. Women are themselves, and their marital status or motherhood status or whatever status is only a piece of that.

In a conversation about Mila's projects and Mila's talents, Mila's partner or baby-to-be are simply not relevant, no matter how cool or famous they may be. To make them so is an insult to Mila's autonomy and an insult to women everywhere.

So Mila's opting out. She's choosing to do the exhausting, relentless job of calling Hollywood on its sh*t when she sees it.

And really, in the long run, that benefits all of us. So, Mila: Thank you. We owe you one.

 

Image via Simon Burchell/Splash News

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