My hat is off to you, Mr. Ashton Kutcher. I mean how many times do you hear an actor say this in an interview?
the one thing they teach about is how to get pregnant or how to not get pregnant, but they don't really talk about sex as a point of pleasure for women.
The male orgasm is actually right there and readily available to learn about because it's actually part of the reproductive cycle, but the female orgasm isn't really talked about in the education system. Part of that creates a place where women aren't empowered around their own sexuality and their own sexual selves, and from a purely entertainment point of view, to create a movie with a female lead that's empowered with her own sexuality is a powerful thing.
And if we can give teenage people something to think about from a sex perspective, I would say it would be to open a conversation where women are empowered with their own sexual experiences from an educational level as well as an entertainment level."
That's what I'm talkin' about. I ran across this article on a recent and excellent blog discovery - Feminist Guide to Hollywood. Check the article out here and then start following that blog.
So what would prompt Kutcher to say something so bad-assidly feminist? My loyal fans might remember that I did a SSL Review on Friends With Benefits. Well, Kutcher stars in the twin movie to Friends With Benefits, No Strings Attached (you know like Ants and A Bug's Life in 1998; Turner and Hooch and K-9 in 1989; Like Father Like Son and Vice Versa in 87 and 88; Volcano and Dante's Peak in 1997). I haven't seen it yet, but I will soon, and I'll be posting an SSL Review. I would also assume that his feminist sex positive leanings have to do with the fact that he has a wife 15 years his senior and that the two of them created The Demi and Ashton Foundation (DNA) together "to raise awareness about child sex slavery, change the cultural stereotypes that facilitate this horrific problem, and rehabilitate innocent victims."
Kutcher's whole statement quoted in the blog is not exactly smooth, but I think the blogger does a good job of summing up his point.
His wording is a little clumsy, but I think his main point is that there is less value placed on a woman's pleasure during sex, which is why women become targets for sexual exploitation. An underdeveloped sex education program -- one that doesn't acknowledge the role of the female orgasm in sex-- makes it is easier for people to become accustomed to the attitude that women are passive sex objects, a mind-set obviously embraced by people who engage in human trafficking. It is also something that perpetuates negative attitudes or stereotypes about women and ultimately perpetuates making women vulnerable to that industry.I love that a Hollywood actor is engaging this type of discussion. I think there is a lot to say about female's disassociation from our own sexual desire and pleasure - particularly from our orgasm - and I think the results of that disassociation affect everything from the way women are viewed; to male and female expectations; to the way females understand themselves.
I think the words came out of Kutcher's mouth clumsily because this discussion is clumsy still. There simply isn't much talk surrounding how girls and women are affected by an ignorance about female orgasm or by the cultural silencing of subjective female desire. there is not enough thoughtful communication about the excessive unbalanced representation of females in our media as sexual objects and males as sexual subjects. These are not well paved subjects, and on top of that, our culture tends to be highly complacent towards norms with obvious detrimental results for female sexual agency.
This cultural complacency is demonstrated when Kutcher points out that male orgasms are readily available to learn about because they are part of reproduction, but female orgasm isn't really talked about in the education system. This is in many ways oh so obvious. It is also blatantly true, and this sex difference in education touches almost every single person. It is part of how boys grow into men and how girls grow into women. It is easily fixable, yet it is habitually and egregiously overlooked as a detrimental force for both male and female sexuality.
It seems to me that the simple act of voicing these concerns in a serious and public way is powerful. Many of the concerns related to the topic of female sexual agency (like the one discussed above) are not ignored because they are hard to accept as true. I think it is more that people are simply not used to hearing a discussion that frames these concerns as serious or as impacting everyday life. I think that if more people spoke up about why sexual agency is important to females and how female empowerment and agency is chipped away in our culture...I think there could be real motivation for changing our cultural norms. So, bravo Ashton! You are okay in my book. BTW - how are you going to make this feminist sex positive leaning work when you are starring in Two and a Half Men?