Undervalued

“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.”

– Jennifer Lawrence

Women are undervalued. The wage gap between men and women is a major aspect of gender discrimination. Star-studded powerhouses like Jennifer Lawrence are not exempt from experiencing what it means to be a woman in the working world. She was paid less than her two male supporting co-stars from The Hunger Games Trilogy, making it clear Hollywood has issues paying their female stars what they are worth.

A published study by the Journal of Management Inquiry in 2015, Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie stars, looked at figures from the last few decades. The study was interesting because it showed that the top-grossing films of the last decade had male-led films grossing less more female-led films.

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The study indicates that men and women earn pretty equally in their teens and early adulthood. Women reach their peak pay by an average age of 34. At just age 34 women are earning the most they are considered to be worth, after that their value rapidly declines. Men reach their peak at age 51, but their value remained stable after that…

To put this into perspective let’s look at Jennifer Lawrence (26) versus Robert Downey Jr. (51), who are both considered to be at their peak professionally. Jennifer Lawrence earned 15 million collectively between the last two Hunger Games Films: 7.5 million per film. Robert Downey Jr. was paid 40 million for his role in the latest Avengers installment. Downey had to share the big screen alongside five other big name actors and actress in leading roles, while Lawrence is the undisputed star of The Hunger Games trilogy. Both franchises had grossed just under 3 billion dollars each.

“Women don’t get equal pay, there are not as many women in government positions or business positions. It’s just not equal. And until there is equality, you’re going to feel that, in any industry. But I was like, girls should have an equal seat at the table. Take Jennifer Lawrence. I mean, she’s opening films — she’s the box-office draw just as much as any guy, if not more. She should be compensated for that.”

– Jessica Alba

It seems odd, and the numbers testify to that, that women are earning less than men. It would appear that women are in the position to push to get paid more than they are.

In an essay, Jennifer Lawrence wrote for Lenny, she spoke about her failure to push for more money. She was afraid of how people would perceive her if she fought for what she herself through she was worth. She didn’t want to seem like a diva. To remain likable Lawrence laid down her bow and arrow and walked right off the battlefield.

Women are stigmatized. If we fight, we are labeled: difficult, pushy, and a bitch. If we don’t fight, we are labeled: a pushover, gullible, and easy. We have to perform perfectly to get what we want, and for others to recognize our worth. For those that make it through, the battle is not easily fought…

Even as far back as when I started acting at 14, I know I’ve never considered failure.

– Jennifer Lawrence

Read Jennifer Lawrence's Essay on Wage Inequality.
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