Jennifer Lawrence has written a piece titled ‘Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?’ for Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s newsletter, Lenny. Pay inequality and entrenched sexism in Hollywood has been highlighted recently by the likes of Patricia Arquette, Emma Watson and Anne Hathaway. During the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment late last year, the pay for actors in American Hustle was published; revealing that Jennifer Lawrence was paid less than her co-stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner.
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. 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. 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).
But if I’m honest with myself, 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. 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.” This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But this is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. 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?
Unfortuantely, elements of those experiences sound far more familiar than you think, Ms Lawrence.
I’m over trying to find the “adorable” way to state my opinion and still be likable! F*** 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. Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share. Again, this might have NOTHING to do with my vagina, but I wasn’t completely wrong when another leaked Sony email revealed a producer referring to a fellow lead actress in a negotiation as a “spoiled brat.” For some reason, I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man.
Please head on over to Lenny to read the full article by Jennifer. Say what you will about Panem, it’s certainly a terrible place but at least the nation appears to have given up on sexism. Over the three novels (and released films to date) there is not a single reference to, or any character opinion of, women being unequal, inferior or needing to be protected because of their anatomy. Now that, in literature or cinema, is rare. Maybe there’s one tiny silver lining in Collins’ bleak future.