Jennifer Lawrence, an outstanding actress with moxie and spirit, made headlines in 2015 following the Sony Pictures hack. The actress caused an uproar by publishing Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars, her scathing essay about the pay disparities between the male and female cast members of American Hustle.
In her essay, J-Law notes that she “didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled’ when negotiating her contract.” Well, that was until she discovered that her male co-stars “definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled’.” J-Law continues by assuming her male colleagues “were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share.” As she points out later in her essay when a different leaked Sony email refers to a lead actress as a “spoiled brat,” Jennifer writes, “For some reason, I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man.”
J-Law blames herself for her lack of negotiation skills and desire to be likable. Well, Jen, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Women have been (and continue to be) low-balled in negotiations for decades for the very reasons she points out. And the sad fact is that most women willingly accept this first low offer.
Well, no more Little Miss Nice. Jennifer Lawrence is sick and tired of being likable. Jennifer writes, “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! 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.” Bring it, women. We have to speak up for what we want and what we need. Let our voices rise!
I have to confess that it’s taken me nearly 60 years to feel comfortable expressing what I really think. I remember when I began working for a major NYC financial firm 33 years ago. Being the only woman in the sales meetings and training, I didn’t dare ask a question or offer an opinion. It was straight out of a Mad Men episode. All of the men would eat lunch together and talk shop. Of course, I was never invited to join them, so I’d sit alone in my office, sure the guys were discussing the best stocks and bonds to show their clients. I wish I could back to those days as the woman I am now. Like Jennifer Lawrence, I’d no longer worry about being likable, but instead, I’d be part of the conversation and sharing my perspectives and shaping and influencing the financial services industry.
You have a responsibility to the planet to have your voice heard. Speak up, ladies!