The Oscar-winning actor Jennifer Lawrence draws massive crowds to the box office, but she still doesn’t get paid as much as “the lucky people with dicks,” she wrote in an essay published today.
Lawrence expressed frustration that even she—one of the most powerful people in Hollywood—has failed to fight for pay as high as her male counterparts (a fact revealed in emails released during last year’s Sony hack).
Writing in today’s edition of the email newsletter Lenny, by the writer and actor Lena Dunham and her collaborator Jenni Konner, Lawrence notes: “if I’m honest with myself, 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. I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’”
Faced with the opportunity to negotiate for millions of extra dollars (she admits her problems aren’t “relateable” for most), she worries that she’ll seem like a “brat” or less likeable—concerns that, she points out, are unlikely to haunt co-stars such as Christian Bale. He, conversely, might well be commended for sticking fiercely to his guns.
Indeed, she points out, “I wasn’t completely wrong.” Another leaked Sony email showed a producer calling a different actress a “spoiled brat” during a negotiation. “For some reason,” Lawrence writes, “I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man.”
It’s clear even in the essay that Lawrence does want to be liked, or at least not vilified: “Don’t hate me,” she implores the reader. But her point—that the way women are taught to try to be liked is different to the way men are trained—is one that women in less visible positions in the business world are also making.
“We’re raised to be good little girls,” said Pamela Jeffery, founder of the Women’s Executive Network, which launched in London last night. “We’re raised to be pleasing…But now, in the working world, it’s important to be competing” with men who are “socialized differently.”
For her part, Lawrence said, she has had enough of pleasing. “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that,” she wrote. “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.”