Jennifer Lawrence, assertive beauty and all round favoured person of mine, has written a piece on sexism in Hollywood, and it’s definitely worth a read.
Right at the start, she apologies for her life being unrelateable, because she’s talking millions and film deals, but what she goes on to describe is so damn familiar that it’s heartbreaking. She describes the pressing urge to be thought ‘nice’, to be accommodating and polite, and the sudden and unpleasant reactions of men when she speaks her mind.
The awful truth of it is that, in the society we live in now, a woman who is direct and assertive is always going to be thought of as pushy, bitchy or unpleasant, whereas the same qualities get praised in a man. It’s the same problem in Hollywood as it is where I work, on the university campus, and where I live this other life, here on the blogosphere and on twitter.
It’s the same culture that meant just this week I sat through a conversation with a male member of staff, where he told a group of us with a huge grin on his face about the time he slapped a woman across the face because she called him a cunt. The group of us he told were horrified, but he carried on laughing. When I asked him if he would have slapped a man who had done the same, he said no, and simply said, “I felt that I had the authority to do that, because of the way she had spoken to me.”
Plenty of men that I interact with on a day to day basis care about what I have to say, listen to my opinions, treat me like a human, but we still live in a culture where women are punished by men (and sometimes by other women) for the things that they say. Where women are punished, silenced, slapped, whatever – just pushed down, made to feel like they ought to be accommodating and polite.
And so what if Jennifer Lawrence is a beautiful millionaire with a superstar film career? She still faces this kind of dickishness every day. And people in her position should speak out; it’s happening to all of us, and it’s important that it gets called out. So YES Jennifer! YES YES YES!