So Jennifer Lawrence has decided to stop worrying about being ‘adorable’ and simply speak her mind about the #trending issue of sexism and equal pay in Hollywood.
Wether she likes it or not, her name has helped to fill a lot of tabloid pages on the subject recently, so EYEsay fair crack to her for deciding to chip in her own ten cents.
It seems unlikely that she hasn’t spent some of her hard earned millions on an agent to help with the grubby business of salary negation. Even so, I’m happy to take her at her word when she says that, ultimately, she takes personal responsibility for ‘failing as a negotiator’ because she gave up fighting ‘over millions of dollars that she doesn’t need’.
After discovering that her male co-stars succeeded in negotiating power deals for themselves, Jennifer wrote to Leena Durnham to tell her about how has she’s been left feeling a little short changed. She’s not angry with the suits at Sony mind you. Instead she ponders the possibility that her own perceived failure may in part be down to social conditioning where women find themselves ‘in the habit of trying to express opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men.’
In fairness, an awful lot of people have similar fears in this age of political correctness but it’s hard to imagine that modern woman are most especially afflicted by the dreaded #everydayfearofoffendingsomeone.
Particularly when the article that immediately follows Lawrence’s polemic considers the topical question of wether or not it’s poor form for a young lady to ‘toke up at her close friend’s annoying air-kissing shit show of a fucking baby shower’. The answer to which, in case you’re wondering, is broadly yes, even if we’re talking about the sort of friend who would sit with you for 12 hours during a bad acid trip.
This is 2015 not 1520 after all and any notion of endemic inequity in the distribution of wealth between the sexes should be problematic for anyone who’s walked further than the nearest man creche at their favourite shopping mall.
Retail marketers will tell you that the very vast majority of consumer purchases are made by women and they represent the majority of the online market too. So whilst it’s perfectly understandable that American women feel hard done by due to the constant social conditioning about gender pay gaps, the less trumpeted truth is that the average western woman should at least be able to console herself by counting the number of shoes piled up on her side of the closet.
The sometimes inconvenient and always complex reality behind those 75 cents in the dollar headlines is that the approximation of any difference between the median earnings of all men and women (classified as full-time workers) has to factor in a wide range of factors, including hours worked, career choices, experience, work life balance, sex discrimination and, let’s not forget, information bias.
J-Law at least had the common sense and decency to acknowledge that her own experience may not be especially ‘relatable’ for most of her audience. Happily, even if their bank balance isn’t as impressive as Lawrence’s, at least the average 25 year old American woman can also console themselves by the fact that, hour for hour in the year 2015, she can actually expect to earn more than her male peers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attempting to convince an intelligent young woman, who’s very personal private property was recently passed around the internet, that sexism or misogyny doesn’t exist in her industry. EYE would even support Lenny’s editorial calling for transparency in workplace pay but I have to say EYEis saddened by Hollywood’s biggest young star’s stance on equal pay.
If you’ve seen her hilarious heart warming post Oscar interview, you’ll probably agree that she seems to be genuinely ‘likeable’ and comes across as just a little bit more ‘like us’ than the average starlet. Which is why it’s doubly disappointing that the Mockingjay of the people hasn’t thought more deeply about her message to the masses.
Ironically Lawrence’s most famous character was smart enough to **spoilers** realise by the end of her story that she was really a pawn in a much grander scheme where the new (female) boss ended up being just as bad as the old (male) boss.
Hopefully the economic trade zones of the post President Snow future won’t need suicide nets outside their iPhone factories but the best science fiction has always reflected the times in which it was written, so sadly they probably will.
Half the world’s wealth is now in the hands of just 1% of the population and even if they don’t dress up like extras in a bad 80’s pop video or (literally) force children to die for our cheap entertainment, they’re still pretty good at dividing and distracting the masses from the real income inequality issue of the day.
Personally I think ‘likeable’ is an intensely admirable quality that shouldn’t be dismissed so cheaply. Tis pity Lawrence didn’t listen to her instincts a bit more and maybe instead call out the inequality personified by the meganormus paydays of her male dressing up peers.
Then again, if this recent headline is anything to go by, she’s clearly got herself a better agent so happily we can all get stop worrying about J-Law and get back to talking about something that really matters.