Jennifer Lawrence: ‘I’m Over Trying To Be Adorable. F*** that!’
The Debrief: She wants women and men to be able to ask for the same pay packets without seeming spoiled or difficult…
Earlier this year, in a North Korean hack of Sony’s emails, it was revealed that Jennifer Lawrence – along with a whole slew of actresses – didn’t earn as much as male actors, despite doing basically the same job. Or even a better job, as it sometimes feels in the cinema when people whoop and scream for Jennifer Lawrence every time she’s on-screen.
And now she’s spoken out about the imbalance, insisting that she’s ‘over trying to find the “adorable” way to state my opinion and still be likable!’
Writing for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter, she explained that, at the time of negotiating fees for her role in American Hustle: ‘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 realised every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.”’
While she acknowledged that, you know, she’s worth millions of dollars and has been part of two successful global franchises (The Hunger Games and X Men) – so ‘It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable.’
But, she pointed out, if she’s having these problems, this woman who literally gets paid to talk on-screen, then there’s a trickle-down effect. And it’s not a good one. ‘I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way?’ she asks.
‘Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men?’
She told of how, when she ‘spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-bullshit way; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, “Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!” As if I was yelling at him.’
It shocked her because, she thought, if a man said it, he would have been commended for being so direct and no-nonsense. Meanwhile, women have to spend time and effort nicing up what they want to say in order to get things done without upsetting those who hold them to ridiculously high standards.
She concludes: ‘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.’
Maybe we can all take a leaf out of Jennifer Lawrence’s book? If we all start asking for what we deserve, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll begin to get it. It goes both ways, too, though. As tempting as it is to write off a woman in power as a ‘bitch’ for speaking her mind, remember, we too could be labeled like that for doing just that.
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Illustration: Jennifer Williams
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