Mila Kunis has had enough.
In a powerful essay for A Plus, the actress details some of the gender bias she’s faced through out her career and calls for Hollywood and beyond to make a change.
As she puts it, “Change is not coming fast enough to help my friends, my peers, or even our children”.
In her essay, “You’ll Never Work in This Town Again,” Kunis explains that her title, though a cliché was something a movie producer actually said to her after she refused to pose semi-naked on the cover of a men’s magazine to promote a film.
“I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career I said ‘no,’” Kunis writes.
“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 realise is that he spoke aloud the exact fear every woman feels when confronted with gender bias in the workplace.”
Kunis says throughout her career there have been moments where she has been “insulted, sidelined, paid less, creatively ignored, and otherwise diminished based on my gender”.
She explains that while she has always tried to give people the benefit of the doubt she’s done allowing herself to be marginalised.
"The older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realized that it's bullshit!" she writes. "And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen. "
So, Kunis decided to "start her own club" by forming a production company with three other women with the goal of developing "quality television shows with unique voices and perspectives". But even there she's faced similar obstacles and micro-aggressions.
"In the process of pitching this show to a major network, the typical follow-up emails were sent to executives at this network," she writes.
"In this email chain, this producer chose to email the following: 'And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton's wife and baby momma!!!' This is the entirety of his email.
"Factual inaccuracies aside, 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."
So Kunis has decided that she simply isn't going to stand for it anymore.
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"I’m done compromising; even more so, I’m done with being compromised," she declares.
"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.”
And she encourages others to do the same.
“If this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere," she writes.
"I am fortunate that I have reached a place that I can stop compromising and stand my ground, without fearing how I will put food on my table.
I am also fortunate that I have the platform to talk about this experience in the hope of bringing one more voice to the conversation so that women in the workplace feel a little less alone and more able to push back for themselves."
You can read Kunis' full piece here.
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