Advice Women-Haters Could Use Via Ashton Kutcher

ashton-kutcher-teen-choice-awardsYou may have seen Ashton Kutcher’s Teen Choice Awards speech. After all, it went viral.

He says a lot of great stuff. I’ll focus on this:

The sexiest thing in the entire world… is being really smart. And being thoughtful. And being generous. Everything else is crap, I promise you! It’s just crap that people try to sell to you to make you feel like less.

Now, Ashton Kutcher can’t help but be sexy, so what does he know?

On the other hand, anyone could become more attractive by following his advice.

Think about it.

Being smart is a confidence-builder. And confident is the sexiest thing you can be.

The thoughtful and generous also hold an air of confidence. And they don’t scare people off.

Unlike some men who write to tell me how much they hate women because they can’t get one. Like this guy:

Beauty makes me extremely angry, so much that I can’t stand to look at beautiful women in the street.

(I want a woman who is a) good match for me, not exceptionally pretty or sexy. But in my perception I am denied that reasonable request, experience tells me that woman wouldn’t want me. She’d want somebody taller, richer, more muscular, more handsome, more whatever it is that women want…

However, if I attempted to compliment them I could be a creep, even a potential rapist. So I see them as manipulative, selfish people who callously exploit an instinctive drive that I cannot stop…

I’m sure there are women who are similarly hostile toward men (and who could also use Mr. Kutcher’s advice), but I tend to hear this sort of thing from guys.

“Mr. Hostility” is probably angrier – and a bigger turn-off – than he realizes. He hates women because he can’t get one? Maybe he can’t get one because he hates them.

And that’s what I told him, nicely (I think). His response?

Why don’t I work on that? You ask, assuming the fault is me, that I need to change.

All this reminds me of an article I just read on The Good Men Project called, “Leaving My Anger Behind, For the Sake of True Love,” by Doug Ziegler.

Some outtakes:

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was an angry, bitter man. Very angry and sadly bitter. 

Unfortunately I can’t afford a therapist, so I decided to do something else I’ve found therapeutic: writing. I’ll start a blog that is just for me, to allow myself a space in the ether to vent everything that is weighing me down mentally.

Years later, and after some recovery, he showed his disbanded blog to a woman he was seeing. She complemented his writing style.

Months later they had another conversation:

Jill said that reading that blog had given her pause if she wanted to continue dating me. When I asked why, her answer was simple and biting: “It was obvious from that writing that you had a hatred of women.”

I determined to read my old blog with new eyes and see if I could see the vitriol that she did.

Was she ever right! My words seethed and my tone was vicious.

Interesting how we can be blind to the way we come across.

But what happens when we change and grow in our optimism and love for others? He continues,

And why did my wife decide to stay with me after reading that hatred? Her answer was again frank and succinct: “You weren’t choosing to hold onto that hatred, pain or bitterness, so I knew you were going to be fine.”

So the good news is that there is hope. If we are willing to take an honest look at ourselves and grow.

Here’s Kutcher’s speech if you would like to see it:

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 19, 2013, in body image, feminism, men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Okay. If you want to cut and paste it into the other post I will delete this one.

  2. Rohan 7 Things

    Cool speech, a nice change from what often comes out of these Hollywood types 🙂

    Really interesting stuff regarding hateful language and the way we can be quite blond to it. I definitely think it takes a certain amount of healthy introspection and honesty to be able to look clearly at the way we think about things and talk to people. That guys story gives us hope though, that people can shift their thinking, to notice their anger and learn to become a little bit more objective.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Rohan.

  3. Thats a great speech by Ashton Kutcher. In a world where I see my friends little girls talk about the importance of being ‘hot’ I hope people take what he says on board. As for that guy that hates women? hmmmm pretty sure he has been having trouble pulling because he is a bitter, angry man. If women only went for tall, rich, handsome men, the human race would have died out a long time ago. There are plenty of short, average Joes without a whole lot of money, loved up in very happy relationships out there!

  4. Thanks for guiding me to the Good Men Project, Georgia. Now I have tons more reading to do. 🙂 Love the hope in this post. By the way, let me know if you see any hatred of anything while reading my blog. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  5. The same can be said for women. Stop worrying about your looks, and weight, and blaming men for ” only care about looks”. Build your confidence and get rid of your insecurity, its so unsexy. Yes, surprise, actually for us men confidence also a very big part of our attraction. We like confident women. So instead of blaming men, maybe its your insecurity makes you unattractive.

    • Sure, that’s why I said the following in the post:

      I’m sure there are women who are similarly hostile toward men (and who could also use Mr. Kutcher’s advice), but I tend to hear this sort of thing from guys.

      The posts that I added under “popular posts” say something very similar, and they are addressed women, though they’re relevant to men, too.

  6. This type of thing is very true of the MRA community, which I have a few followers from. Some of the people in the depths of this community willingly admit to being misogynists, saying that *All Women Are Like That*/AWALT, when describing something despicable and heinous that a woman has done to them. They claim that 99% of people born with a vagina are narcissists, selfish, juvenile, manipulative, cruel, and are only interested in Alpha jerks and/or marrying a man simply to divorce him later with false claims of DV to “collect cash and prizes”.

    Unfortunately, many of these guys HAVE been severely hurt in the ways they describe or have seen a friend go through these atrocities. There ARE women out there who are conniving, evil, and horrible liars. I have heard many stories from friends (all of whom are men) about guys they know who were completely screwed by the women in their lives. It *does* happen, and I think the anger we see from these occurances is 100% valid.

    The issue is, that some men (and to be fair, radical feminists) cannot move beyond this anger and bitterness. Instead, they create blogs and articles stating the inferiority of the opposite sex and allow their negative feelings to simply fester and grow, rather than letting it boil away and use it as a learning experience to provide more caution in their future relationships. If I allowed my own abuses from my father and stepfather to color my view of *all* people born with a penis…I’d be confused, fearful and angry all the time. But since I identify as male, and I have all male friends, I’m able to recognize that NAMALT/not all men are like that.

    I actually agree on many of their other stances. I’ve met MRAs who want to see the elimination of paternity fraud, more equality in the family courts, a male birth control pill, DV shelters for men/boys, for society to accept that men are valuable and have valid emotional states other than anger (aka letting men know it’s ok to cry), assistance programs for schoolboys who are falling behind, and improved equality between the sexes. These are the Men’s Righters I can get behind…ones who wish to eliminate double standards in law and culture. The others, who refuse to use their frustrations for good, and just use it to lambaste women (or RadFems who do the same to men)? I sympathize with their feelings, but will not associate with them.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective.

      Different people have different notions of what a radical feminist is. The way it’s used in popular culture, there are very few of them left (if any). A few early radical feminists did hate men. They were the minority even then. But it was clear that you don’t convert many people to your cause that way because you alienate both men and the women who love them – and most women do love men.

      I imagine you are always going to get some people who blame an entire group because they have been hurt by one or more people who belong to that group, whether they are men who hate women, or women who hate men, or people who hate others of some particular ethnicity.

      What’s interesting is that a study found that the more feminist a person was – female or male – the more they liked men. And the least feminist they were – male or female – the more they disliked men.
      http://pwq.sagepub.com/content/33/2/216.abstract
      http://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/5173/pwq2009.pdf

      By the way, a “radical feminist” in terms of how feminists identify themselves is very different from what people in the popular culture believe they are. Here are the major divisions:

      Liberal feminist: Believes that women and men are of equal worth and should he have equal opportunity. They tend to work through the legislature and courts.

      Radical feminist: Agrees with the above, but goes further. They believe that even if women and men have equal opportunities you still won’t get equality until you get to the root (radical means root) of the culture and change it. So for example, you need to restructure companies to become more family-friendly: offering flex-time, part-time work, work from home, and help with childcare, for instance. And both women and men should be able to take advantage of these things. Men are encouraged to take equal share of parenting. These are things that you typically can’t legislate. This is more about education. Changing hearts and minds.

      Radical feminism has some subgroups like “womanism” that focus on things like racial equality or class structures, for instance. That’s not to say that radical and liberal (and cultural below) feminists aren’t for racial equality, etc., it’s just to say that some groups FOCUS on sub-topics.

      Cultural feminist: Focuses on celebrating women. Because men are more valued in our culture it hasn’t been unusual for feminists to unconsciously believe it themselves, and reject characteristics that have been associated with women. So cultural feminists will celebrate things like nurturing and even makeup and jewelry as means of fun and self-expression and being “super-fem.” This group is not political. They are simply focused on celebrating qualities that have historically been associated with the feminine. (It’s perfectly fine if a woman’s personality doesn’t fit “the feminine” and so she behaves more masculine. She is being true to herself. So it’s not to say that all women should act really feminine. This group just feels that the feminine needs to be celebrated and more valued in our culture. And they are more than happy to do it.)

      The truth is, there is also plenty of overlap between these groups, and I have a foot in each of them.

      • Thanks for the history lesson. I knew some of this, but most was very new (at least definition-wise). I have read quite a few blogs that labeled themselves as being “rad fem” or “rad womyn” and they smacked of misandry and man-hate…similar to some MRA blogs smacking of woman-hate. I guess they were using inaccurate terms.

        I don’t identify as Feminist or MRA/Mascularist. In my experience, when you separate out the oddballs and sexists, both groups are working for the same thing: Equality for the Sexes. So, it’s just easier (and a better label, imo) to identify myself as a Egalitarian.

        I’m going to do a post *next* week about what I believe on major topics, so perhaps that will help.

      • Of course, I’m a feminist, anti-racist, humanist, and so on. I believe in equality for everyone. But my area of expertise has to do with equality for women, so that’s why I label myself as feminist for this blog.

        I’m curious to see some of the blogs you refer to. If you have a link send them when you get a chance.

        I look forward to your next post.

        P.S. I also found an interesting blog post that questions how many of the so-called “radical feminist” blogs are even written by women, let alone feminists.

        http://womenborntranssexual.com/2013/08/20/how-many-of-of-the-trans-hating-bigots-passing-themselves-off-as-radical-feminists-are-actually-women/

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