Let’s do Jenny Lawrencei :
Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars?ii
By Jennifer Lawrence
When Lena first brought up the idea of Lenny to me, I was excited. Excited to speak to Lena, who I think is a genius, and excited to start thinking about what to complain about (that’s not what she pitched me, it’s just what I’m gonna do).
So your professional acquaintance – not even your colleague, mind, because you’ve never actually worked togetheriii – calls you up and asks you to write for her newsletter thingamajig. You’re bored and between jobs, so you figure to yourself “Hey, what have I got to lose ?” So you scribble some notes down and run them by your assistant for spelling, your PR lady for whatever it is you mistakenly think she does for you while she fleeces you so that she can clothe her kids in Lacoste, your manager for the fiscal ramifications of this little stunt, and, finally, your bff because what are friends for ! And what pops out the end of this secret sauce machine ? Why, it’s ill-considered complaining !
While the answer to this rhetorical “What have I got to lose ?” may be left in suitable silence, that Ms. Lawrence felt that complaining about her station was the soup du jour is very much telling of the culture of victimhood rampant in that once proud and increasingly despondent federation. Imagine Fred Astaire being given a similar opportunity, or even Marilyn Monroe if we’re to keep our genders consistent and experiment only with our eras : what would she have penned ? My guess is that Monroe would’ve authored an essay about the challenges of her craft or of the long and tiring road in the quest for self-improvement (if not something about how 99.5% of the men in her life left her feeling empty, used, and worried for her personal safety). But either way, while “Lenny” is as pro-feminist as they come, why not take the opportunity to inspire ?
When it comes to the subject of feminism, I’ve remained ever-so-slightly quiet. I don’t like joining conversations that feel like they’re “trending.” I’m even the asshole who didn’t do anything about the ice-bucket challenge — which was saving lives — because it started to feel more like a “trend” than a cause.
Translation : while saving lives is cool and I’m morally in favour of it (because I’m a woman), being mainstream is so unbearably uncool and so morally detestable that it outweighs any and all other considerations, including saving lives. This, despite the incontrovertible fact that I’m only here, in this position of privilege, because I myself am the thing that I hate : I myself am “trending.”
I should have written a check, but I fucking forgot, okay? I’m not perfect. But with a lot of talk comes change, so I want to be honest and open and, fingers crossed, not piss anyone off.
With a lot of talk comes change eh ? Well that’s fine if you want to think that, really, be my guest.iv I’m sure you’ll find lots of support on Tweddit and the rest of the very valuable and clearly viable businesses catering to the masses you despise but (quietly) need. Me ? I’ll be over here with my silly little notion that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizensv can change the world, and indeed, that it’s the only thing that ever has.
And not only is it impossible to not piss anyone off in this life, but it’s far from clear to me that it’s in any way a worthwhile endeavour. Nevermind that it wouldn’t be any fun, it would just be so unproductive ! Now perhaps I speak only from the privileged position of someone who needs popular support like I need a hole in the head, but this is incomprehensible to me. I don’t even think it’s entirely a gender thing either – though I’m sure there’s some of that too – but this smacks of puerile “play nicely with others” social contract nonsense, which would put Jenny mentally on par with a third-grade adolescent, if wrapped in the body of a fetching ingenue. No wonder she’s being paid less, she’s practically a child actor !
It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me).
“Need” only enters into the equation in the feminine mind,vi you see, because despite the simplistic biological narrative they brainwashed you with in grade school, those throbbing cocks in the pants of “the lucky people” are used for more than just fucking starlets and their hot friends ; those cocks simultaneously drive and represent the unquenchable desire for all that man surveys before him. The dick doesn’t give a shit about “need” and has not even the faintest conception of “deserving” ; the dick cares only for raping – which is to say, taking with no thought for “please,” “thank you,” or “excuse me, do you mind if… ?”vii Fuck that. The dick knows only “If I can take it, then I own it, and it’s mine.” It’s a simple organ, this, but an essential one for hostile environments,viii if awfully misunderstood on both sides of the equation.
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? I’m seriously asking — my phone is on the counter and I’m on the couch, so a calculator is obviously out of the question. Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men?
Hm, what cause could there be for a set of “lingering habits” that transcend the vagaries of time and its temporary social conditionings ? Could it be “in the industry” ? No, that wouldn’t make sense because the film industry is as temporary a phenomenon as any. So what could it be ?
Oh, I know ! Genetics ! Wait a minute, that would mean that Jenny’s disinterest in ruffling feathers, her preference for cooperation over conflict,ix and her willingness to be raped over the negotiation table instead of risk losing the job was a biological predisposition ! From inside of her ! Holy craw Pete, that’s not only impossibru but it’s also like the most sexualist thing you’ve ever said in the history of the blawging.x Everyone knows that mens and womenses are as equalitarian as each other in every way there can be. Take your blasphemy and be banishèd ! I banish thee ! (Don’t worry, guys, I’m still here.)
A few weeks ago at work, I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-bullshit way ; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, “Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!” As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong. 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.
I’m over trying to find the “adorable” way to state my opinion and still be likable!
You’re missing the “c” in “lickable,” my dear, but yes, yes you are ! Oh wait, she’s American, and they misspell words on purpose, don’t they… because that’s the cultural hallmark of a sovereign nation, in case you were wondering. “U c dat boi ova dere ? He be a hood nigga fa realz !” being a fine example of the King’s as written in His Majesty’s corn-drenched colonies. Can you really blame George III, if belatedly and begrudgingly, for just saying “meh” ?
In any event, Jenny should just try her hand and treating her subordinates like the trash they are, y’know, for science. Sounds to me like she couldn’t be faring much worse at playing “boss,” so what’s she got to lose ? Nothing, is the answer. She has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Watch, she’ll treat the guy working for her like the worthless sack of skin that he is and he’ll either quit because “no woman talks to me like that” or he’ll kiss her fucking feet, worship the blessed ground she walks on, and answer all of her commands with “Yes, Massah,” and the odds are heavily in favour of the latter, so spectacularly beguiling is the four-leaf clover that is the woman who can lead. But instead of telling her man-slave to “Fucking do it or else you’ll be eating dog food for the next month,” she bemoans the injustice of her inability to do just that, which is very much like beating yourself up that you’re not a pro basketball player. But if Jenny’s not up for this more aggressive game, there’s always the Mata Hari approach.
The point being that there’s more than one way to skin a cat but that the Aristotelian “always take the middle ground” approach might work for diet and exercise, but it doth not hold water in matters of persuasion.
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.
See, George III knew when and where to pick his battles, whereas Jenny is all too content to wave the white flag of surrender before she even surveys the landscape ; before she even explores the map and lifts the fog of war.xi She may very well have a smorgasbord of opportunities before her, as young girls would surely imagine that she does, but the objective spectator is left wondering how she came into such fame and wealth despite her crisp and unadulterated perspective of a Blubbite.xii You see, she can sorta kinda see down the power gradient from her vantage point, at least to the extent that she’s conscious of her tone, timber, volume, diction, and body language when speaking to an inferior, but when she looks up the power gradient, all she sees is an nebulous cloud of machines that are so well-oiled they appear to be moving without any effort or conscientiousness whatsoever. She doesn’t see an experienced superior managing his inferiors, she sees a man using and abusing his gifts, just like that poor guy who saw a lesbian instead of a judge when he lost his children to the so-called “legal system.” Jenny doesn’t realise that the way she looks up at her bosses looking down at her is the same way that her staff look up at her when she’s looking down at them. Sadly, it never even occurs to her. And if it does, why doesn’t she mention it in her essay ?
Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share.
Firstly, don’t these goddam “first-rate” movie stars have agents ? Is the world so disintermediatedxiii and “decentralised” that multi-million dollar contracts are being negotiated by rank amateurs in the art ? I mean, if you’d tag in a level-headed buddy when buying a car, why not do the same when negotiating salaries ?
Secondly, your “fair share” is the share you earn, not the share you wish you could achieve even though you a) don’t have the skills to earn it yourself and b) don’t have the basic presence of mind and modest self-awareness to hire someone with the right skills. Jenny somehow has all the self-awareness to give her opinion in a “clear and no-bullshit way ; no aggression, just blunt” but nowhere near enough to make more money than she impossibly imagines that her child-acting deserves.
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.
Jennifer Lawrence is an Academy Award–winning actress.
Now, this perceived inequality, which grossly and unreasonably presumes fungibility of actors, might have nothing to do with Jenny’s vagina, but that’d be a bit like saying that Volkswagen had nothing to do with single-handedly bringing down the festering insanity of statal emissions regulation. Myeah.
So perhaps the mass-market media, that despotic platform for maintaining the status quo and lighting the fire of constructed catfights may be largely to blame for Jenny’s portrayals and panderings, dousing gasoline on the flames of this essay as it has, but perhaps Jenny’s deeply narcissistic suckage just needed a little more illumination and this was as good a reason as any.
Not that this hasn’t essentially been a long-form explanation for why your mother always told you “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
So it is.
___ ___ ___
- Yea, that Jenny Lawrence. Cute, huh ? [↩]
- Via Lena Dunham’s “Lenny” mailing list, which yes, I had to subscribe to… Oh ! The shame ! The indignities ! But hey, it wasn’t the first time and it surely won’t be the last. There’s something fun about cherry-picking bits of scum off the bottom of the pond and seeing if you can mould it into a Kalash bullet. As an exercise, it’s a bit like diving for pearls, including the very real fear of drowning, but without the commercial upside. That’s not a bad thing, mind ; the upside of a blog is far too unbounded to be priced in any meaningful way. As it should be. [↩]
- Given that one of them is hot, in her physical prime, and factually worth 5x the other, and that said same other is not hot and, being dangerously close to 30, too unmarried for her sage mother’s comfort. Now, Lena may not starve anytime soon, but she’ll starve far sooner than Lawrence. [↩]
- Put my service to the test ! Tie your napkin ’round your neck, cherie, and I’ll provide the rest ! [↩]
- Of The Most Serene Republic~, naturally. [↩]
- That being said, modest men (and women) are either scammers or slaves, neither of which Jenny would appear to be. So there’s that. [↩]
- If this concept either offends you or makes your head hurt or both, it’s because you’re a girl, even if you pee standing up. [↩]
- This is also, incidentally, why older men take Viagra or Cialis : lest they be trampled underfoot by, no, not the young women they ostensibly aim to charm after they’ve tired of their wives, but the steely-cocked young men scaling the walls of the castle. Dick pills are nothing if not a pharmaceutical chain mail. [↩]
- This is woman’s choice of life over death. Regardless of who wins the war, she’ll happily marry the victor, even if he personally killed her former husband, just so long as she gets to sruvive (and hopefully along with her children too!). Contrariwise, the man confronted will fight to his last breath – gladly, willingly, and blindly. That, in a nutshell, is the difference between Venus and Mars : it’s the choice to die gloriously or live submissively. [↩]
- A history that obviously includes Bob Loblaw’s Law blog. Obviously. [↩]
- In this surveying a new psychological landscape, the equivalent hack to “black sheep wall” is to read a good book. Not any book, mind you. These are not those. But reading the TLP archives would be a good place to start. [↩]
- Paul Graham, back before he stuck his fingers in matters that they didn’t belong in, was once a Lisper of some repute and even a half-decent businessman. From his 2001 piece entitled “Beating The Averages” :
As long as our hypothetical Blub programmer is looking down the power continuum, he knows he’s looking down. Languages less powerful than Blub are obviously less powerful, because they’re missing some feature he’s used to. But when our hypothetical Blub programmer looks in the other direction, up the power continuum, he doesn’t realize he’s looking up. What he sees are merely weird languages. He probably considers them about equivalent in power to Blub, but with all this other hairy stuff thrown in as well. Blub is good enough for him, because he thinks in Blub.
So too does Jenny think in PowerlessButBeautifulYoungWoman (which is like C, so somewhere between Java and Lisp on the power continuum). So how could she expect anything but what she gets ? In fact, how could anyone say that she doesn’t get exactly what she deserves, if not a whole lot more besides ? [↩]
- Despite their poor reputation (mostly because they’ve historically tended to be jews who were barred from professional guilds and conflation has here, as in so many other domains, clouded the mind of reasonable man), middle men are the grease of the world’s wheels. Complex societies and economies don’t work if everyone is trying to talk to everyone at once with no hubs and no spokes. A P2P model might works for Bitcoin nodes, but it doesn’t work for economics any more than for politics. [↩]