Kirsten Dunst Courts Controversy (Again)

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dunstembedPhoto: VILLARD/PDN/REX USA.
Kirsten Dunst continues to create surprisingly strange controversies. Until now, she's never struck us as particularly opinionated or the kind of person you could count on for media drama, but in the last two weeks, she's been on a roll.

After upsetting many with her commentary on gender roles that skewed towards the conservative, in this month's Harper's Bazaar UK, the actress attracts ire yet again with her thoughts on Hollywood's infamous casting couch practices.

Despite the fact that everyone from Susan Sarandon to Charlize Theron have personally attested that they have been pressured to have sex with power players to advance their careers, Dunst is skeptical, and certainly not sympathetic to the idea that it could happen. At the very least, she is lucky enough never to have experienced it.

This month, in an interview for W magazine, Sofia Coppola asked Dunst whether she'd ever worked with a director she didn't like (the answer is yes, but no names named), and went on to ask: "What if a director pounces on you while working? Has that ever happened?" Dunst responded, "No [laughs]. I don’t give off that vibe. I think that you court that stuff, and to me it’s crossing a boundary that would hinder the trust in your working relationship."

She's right that sexual advances on set are inappropriate and harmful — both to a business relationship and to women in a profession that regularly exploits young people desperate for a leg up. However, her suggestion has some unfortunate vibes in and of itself. Suggesting that sexual assault or inappropriate advances are the result of a "vibe" is tantamount to saying that a woman who behaves flirtatiously at a bar is "asking for it." It's a slippery slope, and while we sincerely hope that Dunst isn't actually a proponent of that particularly dangerous aspect of rape culture, it's a comment that makes us raise an eyebrow way up.

The point is, as many of her colleagues have stated, the pressure on young women in Hollywood (and fashion, for that matter) to be sexually available as a sort of trade-off for men in power is very real, and it happens to all kinds of people with all kinds of "vibes." We're glad that Dunst hasn't experienced this first-hand, but that doesn't change the reality of the problem. (Huffington Post)