Jennifer Lawrence opened up about feminism, her much-heralded essay on the gender wage gap in Hollywood, and her belief that society should create a “new normal” body type in a wide-ranging interview in April’s Harper’s Bazaar.
“I don’t know why that word (feminism) is so scary to people. It shouldn’t be, because it just means equality,” the 25-year-old Hunger Games actress told the magazine. “If we are moving forward in a society, you are feeling stronger as a woman, and you want to be taken more seriously. You don’t have to take away the wonderful traits that come with being a woman.”
“We are sensitive. We are pleasers. We’re empathetic,” Lawrence added. “All those things that can keep you from asking for what you want or making mistakes.”
Lawrence, who earned a Best Actress Oscar for 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook and has been nominated for the award three other times, has quickly become one of the most politically-outspoken actresses in Hollywood. She is also one of the richest, topping Forbes magazine’s list of the highest-paid actresses in 2015 with $52 million in earnings.
The actress said she was “embarrassed to be from Kentucky” after Christian county clerk Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The previous month, Lawrence penned an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter on the gender pay gap in Hollywood, in which she blasted the studio filmmaking system for paying male actors more than women for the same amount of work. The essay earned her praise from Hillary Clinton and from fellow actors and actresses like Bradley Cooper and Emma Watson.
“There’s nothing wrong with being a pleaser if you’re smart about it. As long as you’re getting what’s fair,” Lawrence told Harper’s Bazaar. “You know, I want my employers to be happy. I want to please anyone I’m working for as long as they pay me the appropriate amount. I’ll make them as happy as they want.”
In her interview, Lawrence also took aim at what she believes are unrealistic expectations for people’s bodies, an issue she has sounded off on before. In 2013, Lawrence said that the media “needs to take responsibility” for the effect that disparaging people’s body types has on the younger generation’s self-esteem.
“I would like us to make a new normal-body type,” Lawrence told HB. “Everybody says, ‘We love that there is somebody with a normal body!’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t feel like I have a normal body.’ I do Pilates every day. I eat, but I work out a lot more than a normal person.”
“I think we’ve gotten so used to underweight that when you are a normal weight, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, she’s curvy.’ Which is crazy,” she added. “The bare minimum, just for me, would be to up the ante. At least so I don’t feel like the fattest one.”
Lawrence will be seen next in this summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, and later this year in the sci-fi thriller Passengers, alongside Chris Pratt. The actress’ gender pay gap essay may have struck a chord at Sony, the studio behind Passengers; Lawrence is reportedly set to receive $20 million for the movie, while Pratt will get $12 million.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum