OK, I’m a little over excited this morning but it’s not often that someone, especially someone famous with a HUGE audience, so succinctly expresses a point that is near and dear to me.
In case you haven’t heard Jennifer Lawrence published a letter on Lena Dunham’s new site, Lenny, in which she looks at the pay gap for women in Hollywood from her perspective. This could easily be a “poor me, I’m mega rich and getting ripped off” piece, but it isn’t. It’s the opposite and that’s why I love it.
First Jennifer Lawrence does point out that her problem may not be relatable because of the amount of money she makes. True, it’s on a different level, but at it’s core it is the same problem women are having who are on a more moderate pay scale. Second, she does not blame Sony pictures for her being paid less than her male costars. Instead she takes a hard look at herself and her own poor negotiating then questions if that is due to her gender. She makes some great points about wanting to be seen as nice and not bratty and giving up when negotiations got hard, not wanting to seem greedy or troublesome. YES! That’s where she nails it.
I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. – Jennifer Lawrence
How many of us, women, have done the same thing, over and over, day in and day out? We take less, ask for less, accept less because we don’t want to be seen as anything but nice. I have. I still do. It’s a hard habit to break but one that can be changed. The first step is naming the problem and noting our part in it.
The best thing about this article is that while she points out a problem that exists, she is also offering a solution that all women can work on to enact change. Why would Sony or anyone pay us more if we don’t ask for more, or demand it? We have to value ourselves, our work, more. This is exactly what the my post, “Make Yourself The CiC (Chick in Charge) of Your Life–Part 1” was all about. Believing in the value of our work is the problem and the solution, especially when our work is done at home, sometimes for no pay. If we don’t value our work we cannot expect others to.
Please take a minute to read the article in Lenny then ask yourself if this is you. Can you relate? Have you squelched your power and diminished your value in the name of being “nice”? I welcome your comments, ideas, opinions below. Let’s start a conversation about our value.