“…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,’” Jennifer Lawrence stated in her essay in today’s Lenny newsletter.
Lawrence’s essay, titled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars,” is a sincere, transparent reflection on why she earns less than her male counterparts. The 2014 Sony hack divulged an egregious pay gap between Jennifer Lawrence and her male co-stars in American Hustle, with the former receiving a breathtaking 20% less than the latter. Furthermore, Amy Adams was also subjected to similar treatment despite sharing equal billing as one of the film’s female leads. J. Law states, “When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than [my male co-stars], I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.”
Hollywood is evidently battling with gender equality, and many women have publicly expressed their grievances about the discrimination in the film industry recently (Patricia Arquette’s classic Oscar speech comes to mind). In general, women earn only 70 cents for every dollar men make. While Lawrence was offered a multi-million salary that we can all be envious of, it’s important to bear in mind that this injustice remains prevalent no matter your occupation or earnings.
“Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t ‘offend’ or ‘scare’ men?” asked Lawrence. Did Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner hesitate to negotiate their wages? Probably not, since men are usually applauded when they know the worth of their work and fight for it. It seems that while women can be called out as “difficult” or “spoiled” for similarly driving a hard bargain, men often get a pass.
Women shouldn’t be held back; instead, they can and should put their worries of being well-liked aside so that they may fight for what is rightfully theirs. “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! F*ck 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.”
So, it’s clear to see why we all admire Jennifer Lawrence. If you understand her story and need advice on how to negotiate for your career, reach out one of our Levo mentors with any questions about negotiating that you may have. Do not be a part of the 60% of millennial women who are missing out on important negotiation opportunities – don’t be one.