Jennifer Lawrence Pens Essay About Hollywood Sexism
When Jennifer Lawrence speaks, we listen. And hopefully, so will Hollywood studio executives. The Academy Award winner is the latest contributor to the Lenny Letter, a feminist newsletter started by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. For the third installment Lawrence penned an essay titled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars?” in which she questions the gender wage gap and addresses why she has waited until now to speak out.
While tackling the tough topic, Lawrence still remained true to her endearingly blunt self. “When it comes to the subject of feminism, I’ve remained ever-so-slightly quiet. I don’t like joining conversations that feel like they’re ‘trending.’ I’m even the asshole who didn’t do anything about the ice-bucket challenge — which was saving lives — because it started to feel more like a ‘trend’ than a cause.” (It’s okay, JLaw, we here at What’s Trending won’t take that personally.)
The conversation was jolted when Sony’s email servers were hacked last year. Among the many revelations made, it was uncovered that for the blockbuster film “American Hustle”, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams received 7 percent of back-end profits while their male co-stars, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner, were receiving 9 percent.
Lawrence explained that her reaction was mixed frustration towards both the system and herself. “When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself,” she said, “I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me).”
Although on a much smaller scale, her situation unfortunately is relatable. Women in America make fractions of what their male counterparts make. And with age, that gap grows exponentially. According to The American Association of University Women, “Women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they hit 35. After that median earnings for women are typically 75–80 percent of what men are paid.”
Lawrence reasoned that her hesitation was largely due to the difference in gender expectations. She said, “…there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’ At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled’.”
But finally, Lawrence reached a point where she felt empowered enough to speak her mind. “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard.”
The letter was met with overwhelming support from Hollywood influencers on social media.