Ashton Kutcher announced that he was trying to start a dialogue about gender equality in the workplace, and women responded by starting a dialogue about how Ashton Kutcher was ignorant and sexist. Kutcher promptly apologized and said the blowback was a “learning experience,” but it’s pretty clear that the only lesson to be learned is that when you side with identity politics, unless you share the same identity, you’re never going to win.
Preaching inclusiveness to the liberal mob is like preaching in one of those churches where they hold venomous snakes – it’s only a matter of time before you get bit. Kutcher is just one of many people to realize that the “inclusive” progressives are quicker to eat their own than a rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes.
It’s clear that Kutcher’s sin was not asking the wrong set of questions, it was being the wrong person to ask them. In fairness, it’s completely natural to hate Ashton Kutcher, or anyone else named “Ashton.” He’s an extremely wealthy former model married to Mila Kunis, yet he’s also a succesful venture capitalist. If Kutcher’s house burned down, it would no doubt reveal an abandoned mine that produces “Hatchimals” at Christmastime.
But the women criticizing Kutcher don’t hate him for his inequitable amount of success, they hate him because he’s a man. If Chelsea Clinton had posted the exact same questions, the same women would have inanely tweeted “This. This. This. A million times this!” and then searched the internet for a man to call problematic.
For instance, one of Kutcher’s questions drawing ire was:
“What are the rules for dating in the workplace? Flirting?”
Critics called it “gross” and declared that it was not the right question, despite the fact that Kutcher’s inquiry was prompted by the stepping down of a tech CEO after he made inappropriate sexual advances. The problem with the women’s movement is that they don’t want to define the rules for dating and flirting in the workplace, because they want the power to make up the rules as they go like a parent trying to end a game of Candy Land. When Steve Buscemi does it, it’s sexual harassment. When Tom Brady does it, it’s charming.
Dating and sex will always be a reality in the workplace and any other place where men and women congregate. Try as we may to fight it, most people are biologically programmed to try to procreate with the opposite sex (Kutcher himself is married to a former coworker). It there were clear rules which men could adhere to, there would be significantly less for bloggers to be outraged about. The beauty of microagressions is that they can be invented at any time for any reason. Sometimes you just want to yell first, and justify it later.
Another of Kutcher’s questions that received significant blowback asked how to deal with possible discrepancies between the number of men and women in the tech industry:
“Should invest in ideas that they believe have less merit so as to create equality across a portfolio?”
This was brushed off as being based on myths and flawed assumptions. Yet, the normally loud critics were silent in offering a different assumption. But if the number of computer science majors is used as a proxy, of which men outnumber women at a rate of 4 to 1, and equal abilities are assumed, doesn’t that create the possibility that men will tend to create tech start ups at a similarly disproportionate rate? At the very least, isn’t it fair game to discuss what an investor should do if the supply of start-ups doesn’t perfectly comply with utopian ideals?
But more and more the left is becoming incapable of engaging in hypotheticals. Reasoning has been replaced with talking points: Women make 77 cents on the dollar (even though young women actually may outearn young men). Migrants are good because diversity is a strength (even though now even Bill Gates is warning Europe about the problems that come with encouraging millions to flee their homeland in search of social services).
These critics have turned their brains into a safe space, and the result is that they think flirting in the workplace isn’t worth discussing even though nearly 1 in 5 relationships begins at work. Real life doesn’t matter – only the buzzwords and hashtags they have chosen to advance their cause.
Kutcher tried to create a dialogue about gender equality that nobody wanted. The audience he was trying to connect with doesn’t want real discussion, they want the ability to profit from criticizing and complaining about the current state of the world – and Ashton gave them the exact target they wanted.