Jennifer Lawrence May Be Rich, But Equal Pay Is Still Important
There’s few times when you think. “Hey, I should defend Jennifer Lawrence.” As a multi-millionaire and — debatably — the most successful actress of our generation, it doesn’t seem like she needs much defending. But in the wake of her article for Lena Dunham’s kinda strange Lenny Letter, it feels like the right time to actually stick up for one of the most beloved stars in America.
Her article, titled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?”, talks not only about the inequality in pay she’s experienced, but how she’s been groomed to accept these differences. At first it’s all a bit yawn-worthy. Sure, income equality is important, but is it important for a woman who’s already making millions? From my perspective, it’s just a battle among millionaires for millions of dollars.
Lawrence even acknowledges this disconnect in her opening. “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,” she wrote. “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. 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. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me).”
But, in the wake of this article, you see the real problem with the film industry: no one really cares to change. As not-a-millionaire, I don’t have dice in the game; this is a battle taking place outside of my world. But shouldn’t the people surrounding Lawrence be lending her some support?
Instead, Jeremy Renner initially said that it wasn’t his job to negotiate for Lawrence’s pay, and director David O’Russell, who’s become pretty famous for berating his lead actresses, gave some bullshit-y answer about “minutia,” and then pitched a movie he just made. In other words, these two powerful men who can change things basically said, “It’s not my fault! I’m not involved!” And while the whole “making millions” thing isn’t particularly relatable, the sentiment expressed by these two men is: they really could not give a shit. Renner, after experiencing a ton of backlash, has since clarified his comments, saying that he’s always supported women. Mmmhmm.
This whole scenario — a woman fighting for money she deserves, and men pretty much ignoring what she says — is something that happens all the time, at every payscale. Watching it play out with Hollywood stars isn’t exactly relatable, but it’s important. While we really couldn’t give a shit about the difference between 10 million and 13 million, this brings light to an issue that’s incredibly important. White women make 78 cents to every dollar a man makes, while women of color make even less. Pay inequality is something we should all be talking about, at least Lawrence is bringing it into the public sphere, even if it isn’t the most relatable thing in the world.
Image via The Daily Beast
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