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Scarlett Johansson Thinks The Wage Gap Should Be Part of a “Larger Conversation”

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In an interview with Cosmpolitan for their upcoming May issue, Scarlett Johansson discussed a number of subjects–including Planned Parenthood and failed past relationships–but the subject of the wage gap in Hollywood was also addressed. Several actresses have already vocalized their personal struggles in dealing with discrepancies between the salary they received and that of their male co-stars’, such as Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams–but in regards to sharing her own experience, ScarJo says she doesn’t feel comfortable with it:

“There’s something icky about me having that conversation unless it applies to a greater whole… I am very fortunate, I make a really good living, and I’m proud to be an actress who’s making as much as many of my male peers at this stage… I think every woman has [been underpaid], but unless I’m addressing it as a larger problem, for me to talk about my own personal experience with it feels a little obnoxious. It’s part of a larger conversation about feminism in general.”

Johansson’s word choice is especially interesting here; she says she doesn’t want to be “obnoxious” in speaking about her own experience–which is, I think, an issue that a lot of women in Hollywood face. Rather than run the risk of attracting negative attention by speaking out–or being labeled “obnoxious”–they decide not to speak out at all. And honestly, barring Hollywood–it’s an issue faced by women in general.

I get what Johansson is trying to say; the wage gap should be part of a “larger conversation”, and one that is ongoing. I also appreciate that she’s acknowledging her own privilege and the professional successes she’s been fortunate enough to have. But when actresses bring their own struggles to the forefront and go public with that information, it becomes a part of that ongoing conversation by default. The more women who are honest about it, the more it gets harder for everyone else to ignore or sweep under the proverbial rug–and an actress of Johansson’s fame level can impact that “larger conversation” for good.

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