Jennifer Lawrence found out when we did that she earned significantly less than her American Hustle co-stars Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Christian Bale, thanks to the Sony hacks last December. She responded to the widespread sexism in Hollywood, writing a perfect essay about the pay gap in Lena Dunham's newsletter, Lenny.
Now she has revealed on her Hunger Games promo tour that playing Katniss inspired her to speak out about the gender pay gap. She said: “I don’t see how I couldn’t be inspired by this character, I mean I was so inspired by her when I read the books, it’s the reason I wanted to play her. So I think it would be impossible to go four years with this character and not be inspired by her.”
She started her piece by saying that "When it comes to the subject of feminism, I’ve remained ever-so-slightly quiet. I don’t like joining conversations that feel like they’re “trending.” She reminds readers that she didn't even do anything about the ice-bucket challenge.
She writes: "It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me)." Trust us Jennifer, we don't.
She continues: "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.”
"This is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue," she says. "Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t 'offend' or 'scare' men?"
Jennifer tells of when she tried, in a professional manner, to question the salary gap, and was accused of being offensive. She writes: "The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, 'Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!' As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong. All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive."
Jennifer is like the Katniss of the gender pay gap, concluding: “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! F*** 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.”
Bradley Cooper responded to Jennifer Lawrence's open letter, saying to E! news: “One thing I could say is that’s interesting because if you think that you only deserve a certain amount and that’s not correct, it’s about changing that mindset and sticking up for yourself the way that Sienna did. So that’s a great thing.”
Several Hollywood actresses have praised Jennifer Lawrence for her bravery for speaking out about the pay gap. Gywneth Paltrow said to ET: "I think it was very brave of her to articulate it like that. It's fascinating because part of the issue is that women don't feel entitled to talk about a gender gap." Emma Watson tweeted 'o Jennifer Lawrence I love you so,' and Jessica Chastain tweeted 'Yessssssss! Get it gurl x'
Sign up to Lammy to read the essay in full. And pick up this week's issue of Grazia to read Zoe Williams on why it's so important that Hollywood's A List are fighting for your rights...