Award-winning actor Jennifer Lawrence has penned a no-holds-barred article entitled ‘Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?’ that has quickly swept Hollywood and got people talking.
The article was published in Lenny Letter, the brain-child of Lena Dunham and executive producer of Girls, Jenni Konner – a newsletter sent to the inboxes of those who wish to ‘dismantle the patriarchy.’
Lawrence’s piece focused around the Sony email hack, which exposed how her male, American Hustle, co-stars had been earning considerably more than her.
Admitting that she is speaking on behalf of an affluent minority, Lawrence says:
“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”
Instead of directing her fury at Sony, Lawrence criticised herself, saying:
“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).”
In a manner that echoes Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In philosophy, the Hunger Games star questions whether or not women have been holding back
“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.”
Until she realised that…
“every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’”
The actor asks whether women have a “lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men.”
“Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years?” she asks.
The problem, Lawrence says, doesn’t rule-out the sad fact that a lead female actor was called a “spoiled brat” in the Sony emails because she requested a higher wage for a role. Regardless of our own approaches as women, society continues to treat us differently – and expect different behaviour from us in return.
The actor concluded her piece by stating:
“I’m over trying to find the “Adorable” way to state my opinion and still be likable” Fuck that.”
This morning, actors including Emma Watson, Bradley Cooper and Jessica Chastain have come out in support of Lawrence’s words.
Taking to Twitter to show her support for Lawrence’s words fellow actor, Emma Watson, said: “Jennifer Lawrence I love you so.”
The UN Spokesperson and leader of the HeForShe campaign also quoted from the article and retweeted people who had shown support for Lawrence’s comments.
O Jennifer Lawrence I love you so. X— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) October 13, 2015
Zero Dark Thirty star, Jessica Chastain also tweeted her support for Lawrence, saying: “Yessssssss! Get it girl xx”, and Lawrence's Hunger Games co-star, Elizabeth Banks said I love “Jennifer Lawrence”, while linking-out to the piece.
Lawrence’s American Hustle co-star, Bradley Cooper, who was mentioned in the essay as someone who was earning more than her, showed his support for the article, saying in ET Online:
“There’s a double standard in the whole world, yeah, for sure. This is just one aspect... so anytime there’s a place where a voice can come out and be outspoken, that’s great.”
“I love strong women,” Cooper says. “I think it is making a difference.”
Lawrence is the most recent in a long line of Hollywood actors, who have spoken up about the pay gap in the industry. Just last week, Gwyneth Paltrow described it as “painful”, and Sienna Miller even turned down a role in a Broadway show, upon discovering the salary imbalance between her and her male co-star.
You can read her full article here.