In 2014 North Korea hacked into Sony’s computer system and it was revealed that Jennifer Lawrence and other female actors made less money than many of their male counterparts. Recently, superstar Ms. Lawrence wrote an article for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter entitled, “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-stars.” In the article she says that she has kept her mouth shut about the revelation for so long because she didn’t want to appear difficult or spoiled.
Ms. Lawrence mostly blames herself for the fact that she didn’t get paid as much as her co-stars. She acknowledges the fact her problems are not relatable to most woman and says that, when negotiating salaries for “American Hustle” she, gave up early.
“I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need,” she said.
She also acknowledges that she is not sure if it was her sex or her age that caused the inequity.
She writes that although her financial situation may not be relatable, she does think that many women can relate to letting their desire to be liked get in the way of expressing their opinion and getting something that they want for fear of being perceived a brat.
In spite of the fact that Ms. Dunham gave Ms. Lawrence the opportunity to be heard by a large audience, Ms. Lawrence confesses to an unwillingness to do even one single solitary bit of research for the article.
“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.”
Her unwillingness to do research results in the devaluation of her own argument. She writes that one thing the Sony hack revealed was a producer referring to a fellow lead actress in a negotiation as a “spoiled brat.” She says that she does not think a man would be referred to as a spoiled brat. If she had just employed Google she would have seen that this was not accurate. Justin Beiber and Chris Brown are called brats all the time.
I am not sure why Jennifer Lawrence was considered the best person to write about this topic, as she has contributed to sexism in our culture by participating in the long establish practice of Hollywood ageism against woman.
In the movie, “American Hustle” she plays a character based on Cynthia Marie Weinberg who was many years her senior. The real Weinberg was not the ditz portrayed by Lawrence if the film, but a key witness in the Abscam case. She was also not an exceptionally glamourous looking person. The role should have gone to a more mature plainer looking woman, but Hollywood is sexist ageist and looksist, so Ms. Lawrence got the part and financially benefited. One might think she was the best actress for the role, but she spend the film going in and out of an overdone Brooklyn accent.
She was also cast in the role of Tiffany in David O. Russell’s “Silver Lining Playbook.” Other people considered for the role were Angelina Jolie and Elizabeth Banks both of whom are closer in age to the leading man in the film, Bradley Cooper. Mr. O’Russell said that in spite of the fact that she was too young, she got the part because her audition was exceptional.
Although she gives a good performance in that movie, I can’t help but think box office draw had something to do with her getting the part. Some of it also has to do with gender, they never would have cast a 21-year old to play the male lead, no matter how good he was.
Much of Ms. Lawrence’s popularity comes from the fact that she fulfills a male fantasy. She is beautiful with a symmetrical face and a perfect figure. Her public persona is of a woman that doesn’t worry about ruining that figure because she drinks, eats and smokes with the best of them. She isn’t overly sensitive like other chicks. She even says fucking several times in the lennyletter.com article. How very ballsy it is to say fucking. Men see this and believe that she is actually like that and hence the perfect woman for them.
To be fair the male answer to this is Robert Downey Jr. Mr. Downey’s public persona is that of a tall, dark handsome man who is also witty and sensitive. Woman want to believe he is like this in real life and there is someone out there just like that for them. (There isn’t)
The notion that Ms. Lawrence or any of her co stars male or female negotiate their own deals is preposterous. Any celebrity is like a small corporation and a team of lawyers agents and managers negotiate on their behalf.
Lennyletter.com espouses itself to be a feminist website, it features interviews and articles with prominent woman from around the country. Although Ms. Dunham has been accused of racism there are women of color on the blog.
If you are going to have an article about pay inequity in America there are millions of women who are more effected by this than Ms. Lawrence. There are many women who make less than their male counterparts and some of them may want for food, shelter child support and medicine.
Some of these woman may have been discriminated against and some, like Ms. Lawrence may be afraid to assert themselves for fear of being perceived as difficult. When this fear results in actually financial jeopardy then it is a real tragedy and one worth writing about.
When she decided that she wanted to run a piece on pay inequity Ms. Dunham did not reach out to any of the many working class women around the country. She could have done a little research and found many blogs on the subject. Instead she specify reached out to Ms. Lawrence; one must ask why she would do this?
Mr. Dunham’s screen persona is that of a delusional, self-absorbed and neurotic young woman who fails at much of what she tries. In actuality she is a shrewd and astute Hollywood power player who is as brilliant a business woman as she is a writer. She knew that by featuring Ms. Lawrence she would get more hits on her website than if she featured some nobody. In fact most of the woman who write for the site are famous.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. I am homely, lower middle class woman who works in a call center and experiences looksism and sexism on a daily basis. I want my voice heard and it won’t be. I am more of an expert on this stuff then Jennifer Lawrence. Ms. Lawrence’s article got much press attention and many hits. Only a tiny handful of people will read this post.
If it sounds like I have something against Ms. Lawrence or Ms. Dunham I do not. I am a huge fan of Ms. Dunham’s work. I think she is another Woody Allen which is the biggest complement I can give to anyone. I actually think Ms. Lawrence is a good actor most of the time, I just don’t think she should have been the first choice to write about this subject.
Now, if you will excuse me, I am late for the graveyard shift.