Hot on the heels of his revelation that texting is ruining modern romance, Ashton Kutcher is back once again to dispense the wisdom of love. According to the Toronto Sun, “Ashton Kutcher hopes that Natalie Portman’s role in his new romantic comedy No Strings Attached will inspire young …
… women to be “empowered” by their sexuality.”
If you haven’t heard of Kutcher and Portman’s new film, here’s a quick synopsis:
In the film, Portman stars as a woman who attempts to have a sexual relationship with a male friend, played by Kutcher, without developing any emotional attachment to him.
Yes, it’s exactly the same as the upcoming Mila Kunis/Justin Timberlake comedy “Friends With Benefits,” and yes, both sound painfully cliched. And yes, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that both will end with the leads falling in love over a great swelling soundtrack and in front of a stone fountain.
Regardless, Kutcher believes that the film — which premieres on January 21st and is, as of the 12th, unreviewed — sends a “powerful” message to women about their sexuality. A message Kutcher feels is not being addressed in sex ed classes:
“For women in the sex education process in schools, 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. 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.”
The problem is … do we really want that from a Sex Ed class? Ignoring the most obvious problem — that many schools in the US aren’t even teaching students about contraceptives — how much do you want your teacher to go on about your sexual pleasure?
And it’s not as though male high school students are being instructed about their own pleasure in these classes, either. If sex ed were the root of the problem, I don’t think it would just be women who were in need of Portman’s “inspiring” performances.
But Kutcher goes on to explain how non-homewrecking Portman can help to change this:
“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.”
My problem with this statement is that it in no way provides an example of what Kutcher is talking about. Is Portman shown simply enjoying sex in the movie, or is it that she — at least initially — is willing to divorce sex from emotions? And if it’s the latter, would you even call that sexual empowerment?
Obviously Kutcher, whose job is to promote a movie, is choosing his words carefully to pique interest and get people to go. That’s cool, it’s his job. But ultimately I doubt that a movie about fuck buddies is going to be terribly inspiring to young women.
But what’s your opinion? Do you think a friends-with-benefits arrangement is healthy? Have you ever been sexually “inspired” by another woman on-screen?