Jennifer Lawrence opened up about feminism and wage inequality in an essay featured in Lena Dunham’s “Lenny Letter” newsletter titled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?” The Hunger Games star wrote that she was candid about her initial reticence when the feminism conversation seemed to be “trending” and because she didn’t think her experiences were relatable, but she’s speaking out about wage inequality and unfair perceptions.
“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony,” Lawrence wrote. “I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.”
But another reason she says she didn’t fight for more money was her fear of being perceived as “difficult” or “spoiled.” She contemplated whether this might have to do with her age or personality, or additional outside reasons. “Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years?,” she wrote, later adding, “Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t ‘offend’ or ‘scare’ men?”
Lawrence went on to detail a work situation where she gave her opinion “in a clear and no-bullshit way; no aggression, just blunt” to a man who was working for her, who reacted “as if I was yelling at him,” she wrote. “All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would’ve thought I had said something offensive.”
She closed out the blunt essay by comparing her experiences with her recent male co-stars, including Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper, who negotiated “powerful deals.”
“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,” Lawrence wrote, whereas she worried about being deemed “a brat.” She further illustrated her point by referencing a Sony email that revealed a producer calling another actress a “spoiled brat” during a negotiation.
“For some reason, I can’t picture someone saying that about a man,” she concludes.
Read the full essay here.