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Friday, June 5, 2020

Women of Western: Jennifer Lawrence and male privilege

Jennifer Lawrence wrote a letter about the gender pay gap and it’s brilliant. Why?

Because she doesn’t just point out that there’s a wage gap, she talks about the real issue at hand – male privilege.Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 3.09.41 PM

Though she doesn’t directly point out that male privilege is the problem, she pretty much says it in her reasoning for being pissed about the pay gap.

Before I go into detail about this, I want to explain what male privilege is for anyone who may not fully understand it (generally those who are privileged don’t get it because they don’t even realize they are privileged). The term privilege refers to the group of people that has an advantage over other groups of people just because of certain traits they have the others do not.

Illustration by Jennifer Williams in “Why do I make less than my male co-stars?” by Jennifer Lawrence.

Privilege is the cause for social inequality and obviously, the privileged groups get the upper hand in that inequality while the underprivileged are at a disadvantage. If you are white, you are the privileged race. If your family is middle or upper class in terms of how much money they make, you are privileged. If your sexual orientation is straight and you were born with the body parts of the gender you identify with, you are privileged. If you are a man, you are the privileged gender.

Now that we have privilege explained, I’d like to point out all of Jennifer Lawrence’s frustrations that relate to her under privilege as a woman.

  • She is paid less for doing the same job as men (and being better at her job than many of them.)
  • Men can be opinionated and still be likable, but men think of women as less attractive when they have opinions and vocalize them.
  • When woman ask for the same rights and opportunities that men have, they are considered “bratty” or “spoiled.”

I am so glad that J Law pointed this out because, yes, it’s frustrating that women can’t make the same amount of money as men for doing the same job. But, it’s even more frustrating that most men don’t recognize their privilege and that people don’t realize that male privilege is the reason women don’t get equal pay.


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