Jennifer Lawrence recently wrote an article about how gender discrimination had impacted her wages on American Hustle. She made only 1.25 million dollars or so during filming and that was not proper compensation according to her.
I am just so taken aback that she has something to complain about. She has more than most people will own in their life time. She has the privilege to work in an extremely lucrative industry that only accepts a select few. She is the highest paid actress. When accounting for actors and actresses, she is second to only Robert “Ironman” Downey Jr. She has earned the highest accolade in her profession, an Oscar. Everyone knows who she is. She has franchise action films set up to make her more money for many years to come. She has accomplished this all by the age of young age of 25. Yet Ms. Lawrence still feels as though, she has been slighted by society. She has been discriminated against. One of the most privileged people in the world looks at the few who have more than her and asks “Why don’t I have what they have?”
I’m not going to get into the myth of the gender pay gap because I don’t find it all that relevant to Ms. Lawrence’s case here. There is a personal responsibility that goes into contract negotiation. You have to convince them to pay you what you are worth. If you sign the contract, you’re agreeing to those terms. It’s not the company’s responsibility to make sure you get paid. It is on you.
Most of us do not have all the leverage when negotiating our salary. Some of us have to take pay cuts if we want to move to another company because they’ll find someone who will work for their set price. But when you’re the hottest actress on the planet like Ms. Lawrence, you have the leverage. You can turn down projects and only work when you want to. If Ms. Lawrence felt she was being unfairly compensated for her work, she and her agent could have easily walked out of that room. There’s no limit to the jobs available to Ms. Lawrence. If 2.5 million dollars for 19 days of work was sexist discrimination to her, she could have went somewhere else. And if Ms. Lawrence felt that all of Hollywood was underpaying her because she was a woman, she could have retired with all her millions at the young age of 25.
But instead she agrees to take the money and then writes an essay about how she was not adequately compensated for her work because of her gender.
I think Ms. Lawrence should take personal responsibility for her bad negotiation skills and leave sexism out of it. It does seem that her negotiation skills are improving because she’s going to make 8 million dollars more than her co-star Chris Pratt for their new film, Passengers . If Ms. Lawrence wants to be paid her worth, she should replace her agent with Number Two from the Austin Powers movies.