As mentioned in today’s blog intro, the new Lenny newsletter includes an essay by Jennifer Lawrence called Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars? This is Jennifer Lawrence, the highest paid actress in Hollywood. Oscar winner. Multiple Oscar nominee. Katniss. Mystique. And she’s still not on the level.
Yesterday when I posted about Jennifer Lawrence and her interview with Diane Sawyer – click here for a refresher – I hoped that she would address the issue during that conversation. She’s decided to write about it first, instead, and I love this. Because these words can't be chopped up and edited. Or interrupted. This is JLaw’s flow.
And her flow is charming. That’s how Duana described it in a text to me right after she’d read it. I texted back that, yes, it’s totally charming and that Jennifer writes to her personality. And, always the wiser, Duana added that it’s because she CAN. That somehow, Jennifer Lawrence, even though she’s JENNIFER LAWRENCE, has managed to not be precious about being JENNIFER LAWRENCE without losing a certain amount of self-awareness:
“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.”
This is an important qualification. Because when Jennifer Lawrence isn’t being compensated equally, the consequences to her aren’t a mortgage and putting away for her kids and having enough to retire. Just in case you miss it though, she repeats it soon after:
“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).”
It’s true. She doesn’t “need”. But the “lucky people with dicks” don’t “need” either. And they have the advantage.
There are no revelations here in Jennifer’s piece. She’s not telling us anything we didn’t already know and, as women, probably all live. And I appreciate that she doesn’t pretend to either. Rather, she’s speaking about her feelings and her struggles, that even she gets caught up in the expectation that her first behavioural priority is to be “liked”. Liked before respected, and therefore not “difficult”.
Jennifer acknowledges that she’s still getting there. That the pressure to be “liked” is hard to shake, that we’ve gotten so used to feeling good about being liked that we’ve convinced ourselves that it feels better than being heard.
Click here to read Jennifer Lawrence’s article for Lenny.