Jennifer Lawrence Continues Gender Wage Gap Conversation; Should Stop Being Hard on Herself
In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Jennifer Lawrence revisits her recent Lenny letter in which she talks about the gender wage gap in Hollywood. However both in that letter, and in the video above, Lawrence seems to put the onus of the wage gap on women like herself. In the interview with Rose, she talks about the aftermath of the Sony hack, when salaries came out and she learned the extent of the pay disparity between her and male co-stars, saying:
I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.
Later, she talks about how she – like many other women – feels uncomfortable or awkward speaking up for herself at work:
As a woman, we almost put this gender bias in ourselves…. I wanted to say, ‘I feel awkward negotiating, I feel uncomfortable asking for more money. I don’t want to seem like a brat, I don’t want to seem like all of the things that that are words that are used for women; they don’t have those words for males.
I completely understand where Lawrence is coming from, and understand that this is a very difficult thing with which to wrestle – when do you speak up? How far do you go to get your due? Do you have to “pick your battles?”
However, it makes me sad to see that she seems to be putting the blame for that on herself and at the feet of other women, rather than recognizing the fact that the reason women feel this way is because we’ve been programmed to feel this way over centuries by a sexist, patriarchal system. In other words, yes women should always try to speak up for themselves, but there are very real, legitimate reasons why they might feel unsafe doing so. They also should never have been put in this position in the first place.
Yes, we should do what we can to take the power and the money that is our due, but we shouldn’t blame ourselves when we don’t have it. Blame would make sense only if we were playing a game that weren’t rigged, but women in Hollywood are playing with a system designed to cheat them at every turn. We should fight, but we should never blame ourselves or be hard on ourselves about our own oppression.
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