It’s good to know that I wasn’t the only one who thought the new PSA campaign from Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore was a little heavy on the levity.

The famous couple, who have made it their personal mission to help end the sexual exploitation and slavery of minors, released the short videos featuring the slogan “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls”. Celebs like Sean Penn, Jessica Biel, Eva Longoria, Justin Timberlake, Bradley Cooper, and Isaiah Mustafa all participated.

If you haven’t seen the clips, they basically show celebs performing the actions of a “real man” and then ending with the “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” tagline. The problem is, as many have pointed out, there’s absolutely nothing funny about sex slavery – so combining the two is something of an enigma.

“This is what happens when celebrities do an issue divorced from the movement. Once you chose an issue and don’t do it in collaboration with people who have been doing this for a long time, this is what you end up with,” Norma Ramos, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women told FOX. “There is a general dumbing down that is going on and this is an example of dumbing down a social justice movement with the narrowest message possible.”

Have to agree – and it’s rather surprising that some pretty smart activists (like Penn) got roped into this one. It’s not to say their heart isn’t in the right place, but the execution is just poor.

Said one commenter on Youtube:

I’m sure some millionaire Russian mob boss is totally rethinking his life? now. “Oh, shit. Ashton Kutcher can throw his socks into a can less than 3 feet from him. He’s a REAL MAN. I better call Oleg and tell him to return all the 12 year old girls we kidnapped this week.”

What do you think? Check out some of the PSAs below.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • john

    you can write a media-savvy, visual critique of the PSA, but can you pony and actually tackle this issue yourself? seriously, WHATEVER someone does to raise awareness for this issue, you HAVE to applause it. Your tard-ass article in itself is a reflection of your backseat driver attitude. watching from the sidelines and being “smart”? whatever.

  • Cassie

    I have such a mixed reaction to these spots. As john wrote, anything that will raise awareness of this issue is a good thing, but I would think they could’ve done it in a more effective way. The video just doesn’t seem like it’s matched to the message. But, again, like john, I do applaud them for raising awareness on this egregious issue.

  • ATP33Toronto

    It will actually get more people talking about it. And the message is simple. Men can be , but there’s a standard of what’s right, what’s acceptable, what’s okay. The message I got was (to use negative judgmental terms of what was shown in the videos): men can be pigs, men can be stupid, we all know that, and they’re admitting to it, but there’s a line you don’t cross, they’re setting a boundary. And thanks for your post, because it gets more people viewing the videos, and more people talking about it, and maybe they’ll come up with other additional solutions, which may be part of the point.

  • krissy

    This campaign was crap. Call human trafficking what it is. Real men don’t beat, torture, psychologically abuse, rape and murder children.

  • Remy Chevalier

    I wonder how many twelve year old girls died making these chlorine bleached non-organic tube socks… Or that toxic filled shaving cream? They should have tried harder to connect to other issues of equal importance to the movement.