On Ashton Kutcher and patriarchy
Oh my god. Lyz. Thank you for this breakdown. I had forgotten about Punk'd and HATED IT SO MUCH. This is such a good callback to that lack of empathy.
This is so good. You perfectly captured that guy. We all know that guy.
"This type of guy is the cytoplasm of the patriarchy"--what a brilliant line! This perfectly describes it.
This was so, so good, Lyz. These same guys are the ones who "quietly" vote for people like tRump and tell you it's because of their "economic policies."
I upgraded to paid because I needed to say that this piece is extraordinary.
Again with the timeliness! There was a sub-conversation in the comments of your piece on saying no about the women who enforce oppressive systems against other women. There are, of course, also lots of great pieces out there about the ways that White women function as the daily foot soldiers of White supremacy, which I think about a lot. Then I read this piece a couple of days ago in the NYT about the dangerous nature of passive acquiescence to tyranny:
And then you produce this truly excellent piece on Kutcher and the type of guy that props up patriarchy. And they're all related, y'know? They're all about how systems that enforce power hierarchies and create related harm actually work. Yes, there are the obvious bad actors, the Big Bads, if you will. But it's all the ancillary people around them that justify and normalize and sometimes just keep their mouths shut that allow such systems to spread and stabilize and become entrenched. And when we focus entirely on the Big Bads and give a pass to the enablers then we become enablers ourselves. And perhaps that's too uncomfortable for many of us to grapple with, but we can't ever end oppressive systems if we can't confront this reality.
And this is why I subscribe to your news letter. You nailed that hard to specify ick quality that at age 73, still make me feel queasy.
Growing up in Ohio, people would say or do things that were hurtful to me, and upon seeing my reaction, would ask, "Can't you take a joke?" No, that's not funny. I didn't play football and didn't understand sports. I played piano, later the pipe organ and I experimented with electronics in my bedroom. I got degrees in music and engineering, and have made money doing these things. If I don't understand something in sports, I just ask my wife. You can't know everything.
Such a great analysis - of Kutcher and what it was like to be a young woman in the early aughts. (The magazine articles about pleasing my man! 🤮 The pressure to be a cool chick who would laugh off an ass grab! What a waste of my energy and time!!)
Thank you for this. He, and other white men like him, have always been able to shake off any 'dirt' that may end up on them. They are where they are due to privilege and patriarchy.
I had to search it because the thing that came to mind immediately was the time Ashton Kutcher was going to put on some event/discussion thing about gender equity in the workplace and his questions were basically about how to flirt acceptably with women you work with rather than like, I dunno, pay equality and that it would be really nice to go to work and not have to deal with men flirting with you at your job where you're just trying to do your job. Basically Kutcher's mission was to find out how to get *right up to the line* of sexual harassment without crossing it. Needless to say, it didn't go down well and yet...I recall how unscathed he was.
Thank you so much. I haver NEVER liked him and never understood why anyone else did either. Punk'd was just cruel and obnoxious. He's a f*cking first class dick. And Mila should go somewhere for deprogramming. There is a long, long list of other cultural icons I cannot stand. I cannot wait to read your coverage of them someday!! Keep up the good work and the good fight. EDIT: For great programming on sex-trafficking and the what is real and what is imagined (and "news-worthy"), check out the You're Wrong About podcast, episode Sound of Freedom. Shout out to Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbs!
Brilliant article, it really brought me back to what the atmosphere was in the 90’s/early aughts.
“ He’s the type of guy who benefits from patriarchy while still being the good guy because he’s not as bad as the rest of them.”
This was me back then, and it’s taken a lot of work to change.
Lyz, so much of the time reading your writing is like finding a clean spot on a dirty window. I know there's something worth seeing right in front of me, but I can't pick out the details. And then you come along with a squeegee and make a spot of brilliant clarity.
I was pretty shocked when I heard that people wrote letters, especially after Masterson had been convicted of felony rape. That is so rare. I'm not surprised that Kutcher is such a toxic bro - he's one of the celebrities pushing crypto, after all. I can't think of a less safe place to invest your money unless it is to support a MAGA Republican. You have to be so out of touch with people's lived realities to promote this stuff.
I appreciate that you highlight how horrific Punk'd is - I never watched for the same reason I never watched Jackass. I grew up with entitled white guys who had that same attitude, and I was in an abusive relationship with one for 3 and a half years. Can't see how that is entertaining.
This is truly excellent and necessary reporting! Now please toss me something about wonderful women sometime soon. I feel like I'm drowning in commentary in shitty men. That is not wrong, and it is important. I just needed to catch my breath a bit, you know? Later. Sometime later. To give my brain a break and to be inspired again. xoxo