Actresses like Divergent’s Shailene Woodley and Macbeth’s Marion Cotillard have said they don’t consider themselves feminists, while folks like Sarah Jessica Parker and Madonna identify themselves as humanists. One voice who’s somehow managed to stay — for the most part —out of this conversation is Jennifer Lawrence, but the Oscar winner just laid her cards on the table. In a poignant "Lenny Letter" essay, Lawrence revealed her stance on the gender imbalance she has encountered in Hollywood, but she first addressed why she has stayed relatively quiet until now.
As the star of the Hunger Games franchise wrote, she doesn’t like to become involved in topics that are "trending." She used the Ice Bucket Challenge as an example, for even though she admits it helped save lives, it was an important cause that quickly became more of a popular trend. So she refrained from posting a video. In recognizing that "a lot of talk" leads to "change," however, Lawrence has decided to tackle something that many women still deal with and that’s misogynistic practices in her industry.
Pointing to the Sony hack that revealed how much less money she was making compared to the "lucky people with dicks" on American Hustle, she wrote,
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.'
In a similar fashion, Jennifer Lawrence described an instance with a male co-worker a few weeks ago in which she expressed her opinion "in a clear and no-bullshit way; no aggression, just blunt." She wrote that this man quickly became defensive in a way that implied she was yelling at him or being aggressive when, in actuality, she was just expressing her own opinion in the same way she’s seen every man do. Lawrence writes:
I’m over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard. Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share.
You can read her full essay here.
While she did state that these specific instances are unrelatable to most because her pay check constitutes way more zeros than most, it’s in a broader context that many women face similar issues. So, yes, even an A-list actress who headlines one of the most popular movie franchises of all time, who wins Golden Globes and Academy Awards, is universally beloved by the Internet-speaking meme machine, and is bffs with Amy Schumer deals with this misogynistic bull.
This essay also sheds more light on the negotiations of Jennifer Lawrence’s salary for her sci-fi movie with Chris Pratt, Passengers. This occurred far after the hacked Sony emails, and the headlines at the time pointed to "Jennifer Lawrence’s Salary Drama." According to reports, the actress was initially promised a $20 million paycheck, but when Sony shifted leadership, Tom Roth tried to scale down this number and Lawrence wasn’t having it.
This is yet another example of what Lawrence wrote about — she’s done being little miss nice girl when it comes to unfair practices.