Jennifer Lawrence Hits A Nerve With Essay On Hollywood's Gender Pay Gap
The criticism Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence has lobbed at herself for not pushing for a higher fee to star in the film American Hustle is reverberating in Hollywood and beyond.
In an essay for Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter e-newsletter, Lawrence explained that after the Sony hack — which revealed documents showing Lawrence had earned significantly less than her male co-stars Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper — she didn't get mad at the studio.
"I got mad at myself," Lawrence wrote. "I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early."
The star of the Hunger Games franchise said she hesitated to negotiate aggressively because she didn't want to come across as abrasive or too demanding — a fear, she mused, that probably is linked to gender conditioning. Lawrence wrote: "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.' "
She adds: "I'm over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion and still be likable!"
It's worth noting that Lawrence tops Forbes' 2015 listof the world's highest-paid actresses.
Her comments have elicited huzzahs from other actors. Harry Potter franchise star Emma Watson commended Lawrence on Twitter. And Bradley Cooper — who has co-starred with Lawrence in films such as The Silver Linings Playbook, for which she won an Oscar — supported her stance during an interview with E! News.
Some of the praise was qualified, however. A post on the website Flavorwire points out that having wealthy celebrities emerge as spokesmen for pay equity can be problematic. It adds:
Other actors have found that venturing into activism territory can be fraught. Just last week, Meryl Streep came in for criticism for wearing a T-shirt bearing the phrase "I'd rather be a rebel than a slave" as she promoted her new film Suffragette. Critics pointed out that the comment could be construed as a reference to the Confederate South, blaming slaves for their enslavement.
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