The foundations of Hollywood have been shaky recently as blow after blow revealed the seething mass of inequality bubbling just below the surface. From the Geena Davis Institute”s shocking statistics on the representation of women in media to the blog Shit People Say To Women Directors chronicling the day-to-day reality of sexism in the industry and beyond, 2015 has been a watershed year.
Now Jennifer Lawrence has joined the chorus of women standing up for their right to be treated as equal in both pay and respect. Back in December of 2014 – during the height of the Sony hack email scandal – The Daily Beast uncovered how much less Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were paid than their male co-stars for “American Hustle.” The article touched off a firestorm of think pieces about the topic, but Lawrence never addressed the issue…until now.
At the behest of Lena Dunham, Lawrence wrote down her thoughts for Lenny Letters – a feminist email newsletter curated by Dunham. Her words should be familiar to any woman who”s ever tried to walk the line between being assertive but not coming across as “too much.”
“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 [“American Hustle”] 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.” […]I don”t think I”m the only woman with this issue.”
Lawrence went on to give an example of the double standard of expectations for how women should behave crops up in everyday interactions.
“A few weeks ago at work, I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-bullshit way; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, “Whoa! We”re all on the same team here!” As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong. All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive.”
You can read Jennifer Lawrence”s entire essay over here, including the other reason she didn”t negotiate as hard as she should have for her “American Hustle” payday.