Jennifer Lawrence: Sexism In Hollywood Hurt My Net Worth — What Do Gender Wage Gap Studies Say?

According to actress Jennifer Lawrence, sexism in Hollywood may be responsible for why her pay does not match up to the men. Speaking about the gender wage gap, Lawrence says she felt like she had to be careful to not appear as a “spoiled brat” since she thought her persona might affect pay negotiations. Fortunately, Jennifer Lawrence’s net worth is still very high, but even her success with the Hunger Games movies left her feeling “completely numb and dead inside.”

The essay also posed questions about the U.S. gender wage gap, and as it turns out, some past studies seem to agree with Lawrence’s opinion.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, Salma Hayek also says sexism in Hollywood has led to an industry which has “neglected women.”

In this case, Jennifer Lawrence’s paycheck may have been slightly neglected. Although Lawrence is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, she believes this feminist issue needs to be addressed.

“But with a lot of talk comes change,” she explained. “So I want to be honest and open and, fingers crossed, not piss anyone off.”

In order to address the topic, Lawrence chose Lena Dunham’s newsletter Lenny in order to write a full letter explaining her position. The actress says she became fully aware of Hollywood’s sexism when the Sony hack went public. After looking into it, she realized she was making much less than the “lucky people” with male genitalia.

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This made Jennifer angry, but she did not get mad at Sony. Instead, she was upset with herself for failing as a negotiator. She claims she gave up too early because she did not want to fight over millions of dollars that “frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.” Lawrence believes she “gave up early” because she did not want to be seen as a spoiled brat.

“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.’ This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But 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.”

Jennifer Lawrence’s sexism essay goes on to relate how she has never “worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard.” She believes the men in Hollywood like Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper were probably “commended for being fierce and tactical” when negotiating their movie income. Meanwhile, she was busy worrying about how she may be perceived by her peers rather than “getting my fair share.”

“Again, this might have NOTHING to do with my vagina, but I wasn’t completely wrong when another leaked Sony email revealed a producer referring to a fellow lead actress in a negotiation as a ‘spoiled brat.’ For some reason, I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man.”

The actress also related a recent story where she stated her mind bluntly and a man reacted with shock.

“I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong,” she said. “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.”

As for a solution for Hollywood’s sexism, Jennifer Lawrence ponders whether women are “socially conditioned to behave this way.” She believes there may be a “lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way” which doesn’t offend men, and it’s possible this attitude affects salary negotiations.

Women Pay Gap: Salary Negotiations Causing Gender Disparity?
A study on the gender wage gap actually addressed this very topic back in 2012. A paper to the National Bureau of Economic Research, entitled “Do Women Avoid Salary Negotiations? Evidence From A Large Scale Natural Field Experiment,” claims that women approach salary negotiations differently from men. The data suggests that women are eight times less likely to engage in salary negotiations, and it’s possible this willingness to initiate salary negotiations or lack thereof potentially explains a significant fraction of the observed gender differences in wages.

“We find that when there is no explicit statement that wages are negotiable, men are more likely to negotiate than women,” the researchers wrote. “However, when we explicitly mention the possibility that wages are negotiable, this difference disappears, and even tends to reverse. In terms of sorting, we find that men in contrast to women prefer job environments where the ‘rules of wage determination’ are ambiguous. This leads to the gender gap being much more pronounced in jobs that leave negotiation of wage ambiguous.”

They even found that women not only negotiate less for a higher wage, they even offer to work for a lower wage than advertised, something men rarely do.

As mentioned at the beginning, Jennifer Lawrence’s net worth is still quite impressive, and she is the highest paid actress, so perhaps she shouldn’t be too mad at herself. Despite being only 25-years-old, she is already worth $60 million, which is quite an achievement.

What do you think about Jennifer Lawrence’s sexism essay?

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]