Joining the ranks of actresses Jennifer Lawrence penning an essay about the pay gap and Jennifer Aniston posting about her treatment by the tabloids, Mila Kunis has written an article about workplace sexism. Kunis’s piece — published on husband Ashton Kutcher’s site A+, “a digital media company devoted to spreading the message of positive journalism,” — shares her own experiences dealing with gender bias in the workplace, from the overt to the more insidious.
In “You’ll Never Work in This Town Again,” she says she was told as much by a producer when she didn’t want to pose half-naked on a men’s magazine cover to promote a film she was working on with him. She stuck with her decision, though she says the producer articulated a very real fear: “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.”
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 bullshit! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen.
Kunis also told a story that highlights the more subtle side of workplace sexism, one that happened after she started her own women-run production company: A producer on an email chain wrote “And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton’s wife and baby momma!!!”
The actress also acknowledged her privilege, writing, “If this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere. 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.”