Jennifer Lawrence: Lenny Letter essay on gender pay inequality
Jennifer Lawrence learned something about herself after it was revealed in the wake of the Sony hack that she earned less money than her male American Hustle costars.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight,” Lawrence wrote in a pointed essay about gender pay inequality for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter. “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.'”
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In December, emails were unearthed that showed Lawrence made less money than Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, and Jeremy Renner on the David O. Russell film, this despite the fact that she is one of the biggest stars in the world.
Lawrence wrote that while the image concerns that pushed her to take the deal could be chalked up to being young — or part of her personality — there was maybe something deeper in play. “Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years? I’m seriously asking — my phone is on the counter and I’m on the couch, so a calculator is obviously out of the question. 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 wrote. (A study by the Economic Policy Institute in April found that “at the median, women’s hourly wages are only 83 percent of men’s hourly wages.”)
“I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! F– that,” she added, addressing the tone policing that men do to women in the workplace. “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.”
Lawrence joins a lengthy list of actresses speaking out against the issues in Hollywood, adding her voice to a chorus that includes Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Geena Davis, Cate Blanchett, Patricia Arquette, and Dunham. Read her full essay here.