Photo Credit: Getty
"I’m over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion and still be likable," Jennifer Lawrence states in an essay that she penned for Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter e-newsletter, a poignant look at the gender gap and wage equality that is making waves in the world of show biz and beyond.
"Why do I make less than my male costars?" the Academy Award winner asks in the essay, finally addressing the Sony hack in December, which exposed the wage discrepancies between Lawrence and her male costars in the award-winning film American Hustle.
The emails showed that Lawrence was paid less than costars Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale - even though the Silver Linings Playbook lead is the highest paid actress in Hollywood and definitely one of the most sought after talents in the business.
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
When the emails came out, Lawrence recounts feeling angry and disappointed not at Sony but at herself, because she "failed as a negotiator" when fighting for the pay that she deserved. Her focus on "gender conditioning" and the argument that women learn to proceed through life by "being nice" caught many people's attention.
“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,” Lawrence wrote about her experience. “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 didn't want to seem 'difficult' or 'spoiled.'" - Jennifer Lawrence, on not negotiating a higher salary for "American Hustle"
How many of us have heard of businesswomen being negatively labeled as "bossy" and "harsh" when exhibiting general leadership qualities in a workplace? Many women are taught instead to be nice, sometimes to a fault.
In the essay, Lawrence wrote about an incident where she gave a male employee an honest, blunt opinion about something.
"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," she wrote. "I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong."
She concluded, "I’m sure [the male leads] were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share," adding that she couldn't picture someone thinking that about a man.
Since Lawrence's essay was published, fellow stars have shown their support. In an interview with E! News, American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook co-star Bradley Cooper said, "One thing I could say is that's interesting because if you think that you only deserve a certain amount and that's not correct, it's about changing that mindset and sticking up for yourself."
Harry Potter star and feminist Emma Watson also posted her support on Twitter.
O Jennifer Lawrence I love you so. X— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) October 13, 2015
Some have criticized Lawrence for complaining about the wage equality when she tops Forbes' 2015 list of highest paid actresses.
Does Lawrence need the money? Maybe not. But does she deserve to be paid the same amount as her male costars for doing the same work? Definitely.