Jennifer Lawrence Talks About the Wage Gap and Internalizing Gender Bias 


During a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Jennifer Lawrence spoke about her recent essay for the newsletter Lenny. In the piece, Lawrence wrote about the pay gap in Hollywood—one that came to light after the Sony hacks—and, in particular, her anger at herself for not negotiating for equal pay with her male co-stars. She wrote:

“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.”

Rose asked Lawrence about the essay, particularly her decision to speak publicly about what was apparently an open secret in Hollywood. Lawrence reiterated a point that she made in her Lenny essay, namely that she’s speaking from a place of wealth and privilege, but that she believes a public conversation on the wage gap is beneficial to all working women (though, whether or not that’s true is debatable).

Lawrence also spoke about internalized gender bias, the kind of invisible forces that mediate women’s beliefs that they can and should negotiate pay. She told Rose:

“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 are words that that are used for women; they don’t have those words for males.”

In the interview with Rose, she also revisited her reluctance to speak publicly about the pay gap in Hollywood, in large part because actors are beholden to the box office and, as Lawrence noted, people don’t like outspoken celebrities. That Lawrence still feels the need to mitigate her demand for equal pay in a multi-billion dollar industry within the language of likeability is perhaps the most interesting part of the interview.

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