She writes in a personal essay that she wishes she had been a less likable negotiator.
Photo by Flickr user Gage Skidmore.
Everyone’s imaginary best friend, Jennifer Lawrence, is published in the latest issue of Lenny (Lena Dunham’s new women-centered newsletter) talking about how she felt when the Sony email hack exposed the pay gap between her and her male celebrity peers. Lawrence says she was frustrated, mostly with herself for being a poor “negotiator”, when she realized how much less she was being paid than those “lucky people with dicks”.
“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,’” she writes. “At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’”
Last year, the Sony leak unleashed internal emails between executives in which they hashed over the salaries of the stars of American Hustle. Each star was designated a number of “points”, or percentages of back-end profits. While the film’s male actors received nine points each, Lawrence was originally only given five. The emails reveal that it was only after some negotiating that she was raised to seven—making her share equal to that of Amy Adams, who was also in the film.
Incidents like this have brought the Hollywood gender pay gap to the forefront of the discussion on inequality in the industry. Earlier this year, the ACLU of Southern California wrote letters to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program urging them to address rampant sexism in Hollywood hiring practices. According to their numbers, in 2013, 70 network shows hired no women directors at all.
Jennifer Lawrence, however, has no trouble getting hired. Her mission going forth will be, instead, to be getting her due when she does get a job. And she’s no longer going to be nice about it.
“I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable,” she writes. “Fuck that. 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.”
You can read her whole essay by subscribing to Lenny.