Lena Dunham's email newsletter Lenny featured an essay by Jennifer Lawrence this week, and it's getting a lot of people talking. The essay is specifically about the gender pay gap in Hollywood as Lawrence, who is about as A-List as they come, wonders why she makes so much less than her male counterparts.
In the essay, Lawrence admits that she usually doesn't like to jump into conversations that "feel like they're 'tending,'" but decided to weigh in on this issue because "with a lot of talk comes change," and she wanted to be "honest and open". Here's an excerpt from the piece:
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...
The academy award-winning actress is winning praise from her peers including Emma Watson (herself an activist for gender equality), Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska.
O Jennifer Lawrence I love you so. X
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) October 13, 2015
At the premiere of her new movie Crimson Peak, Chastain commented on Lawrence's essay to say (as reported by Variety), "I’m proud of her. Sometimes when you’re doing well, you’re afraid to say something’s wrong because then there’s going to be a bunch of people out there going ‘OK, well, you’re a big old movie star.’ But it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. There’s no reason why she should be doing a film with other actors and get paid less than her male co-stars. It’s completely unfair. It’s not right. It’s been happening for years and years and years. I think it’s brave to talk about it. I think everyone should talk about it.”
Wasikowska is quoted as saying, "It’s about time that gap was closed and it’s still quite surprising that it’s still an issue."
Lena Dunham called Lawrence's essay "brave" and "beautiful" in a post on Instagram, declaring the issue of her newsletter to be her favorite yet.
Today's @lennyletter is my favorite yet: a brave and beautiful essay by my friend Jennifer Lawrence on wage equality, Gina Prince-Bythewood on the swagger sports gave her, @dstfelix meditates on Grace Jones, @geometricsleep tells you how to get that second wave feminist look for fall (and some stern advice from @jennikonner & me...) I love all these women and am swelling with joy ?
It's definitely a situation that needs to be exposed more greatly, and the fact that huge stars like these are shining a light on it will only create more awareness.