Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner recently launched a blog, Lenny, that features exclusive interviews with feminist stars and letters from those women, among other interesting content. This week, Dunham asked actor Jennifer Lawrence to write an open letter reacting to the 2014 Sony e-mail hack in which it was revealed that she received a significantly lower salary than her male co-stars on the film American Hustle, despite her Academy Award-winning performance in Silver Linings Playbook, her leading role in The Hunger Games series and her work on other box office hits, such as X-Men: First Class.
In her essay, titled, “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?“, Lawrence reveals that she feared appearing “difficult” or “spoiled” in her negotiations with Sony, so she didn’t ask for a higher salary. She writes:
But if I’m honest with myself, 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.” 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. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years? … Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men?
It seems the Sony hack revealed more to Lawrence than a difference in salary between her and her male co-stars—it revealed another way pay inequity continues to divide and subordinate women, even in the shining lights of Hollywood. But Lawrence, being the badass we know and love, declares that she no longer fears how her opinion will be received.
She 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.”
Check out more fabulously feminist Jennifer Lawrence moments below.
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Vienna Urias is an editorial intern at Ms.