Gender equality issues have long been a hot topic in the film industry (cue J. Law’s essay on the pay gap and Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign speech). Now another actress is taking a stand against Hollywood’s sexist behavior: In an op-ed for A Plus, Mila Kunis revealed her experience with gender bias in the workplace, including an anecdote about a producer who told her she’d “never work in this town again” when she refused to pose half-naked on the cover of a men’s magazine to promote a film. Although the movie went on to make bank and she continued to land jobs, Mila admitted that she was livid and felt objectified.
“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 the status quo and hope that change is coming,” she wrote.
The actress even addressed a recent study by the American Association of University Women that made rounds on the Internet for reporting one frightening truth: It’ll be 136 years before women earn as much as their male counterparts. (Good luck living long enough to see the year 2152.)
Mila added that she’s been insulted, ignored and paid less throughout her career simply because of her gender. She initially gave people the benefit of the doubt then realized that gender discrimination was a real societal issue. “I taught myself that to succeed as a woman in this industry I had to play by the rules of the boy’s club,” she wrote. “But the older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realized that it’s bullshit!”
Mila then recruited three other women to form her own production company, Orchard Farm Productions, in 2014. But as she prepared to pitch to a major network, a male producer sent out an e-mail that degradingly referred to her as “Ashton’s wife and baby momma.” (She’s currently expecting her second child with the actor and baby daddy.)
“Yes, it is only one small comment. But it’s these very comments that women deal with day in and day out in offices, on calls and in e-mails—microaggressions that devalue the contributions and worth of hard-working women,” she identified.
Now Mila’s had enough. She’s urging women to confront sexist comments and actions while recognizing that misogyny exists beyond the workplace. “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 it head on; I will stop in the moment and do my best to educate,” she wrote. We’re with you, Mila.