It never ceases to amaze me how much can change in just a few years. It seems that recently, new technology, new fashion trends, and new slang appear more rapidly than ever. Not only that, but new stars pop up on the regular, thanks to social media; through Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr, someone can go from being relatively unknown to being the next big thing. However, in Jennifer Lawrence’s case, you can go from being the Internet’s golden girl to their most criticized woman over the span of just a few days. I’m always a little hesitant to judge someone based on one or two hyper-analyzed statements, and more than once, I’ve given Jennifer Lawrence the benefit of the doubt. I have no idea what it’s like to have every one of my opinions and comments scrutinized by the media, and more often than not, by random people online. Lawrence is just a young twenty-something catapulted into the spotlight; she is extremely talented, and her expedient rise to fame had to have been difficult for her to process. But after Sunday’s Golden Globes, my respect for J-Law’s public persona has finally reached its breaking point.
It’s a little harsh to completely criticize every little thing that has ever come from the young actress’s mouth, unscripted – I don’t think that’s very fair. However, there have been multiple cases that exhibit J-Law’s somewhat questionable behavior. The starlet has often been praised for her unabashed and uncensored interviews, her vibrant personality, and her fearless sense of self. I admire a woman who feels confident enough to be nobody but herself, relentlessly. And a few years ago, just after the first of the Hunger Games films, I thought Jennifer Lawrence was brilliant, witty, hilarious, and an excellent role model. ‘Hollywood needs more women like her,’ I would think to myself after watching Lawrence joke on countless red carpets and witnessing her iconic Oscars fall.
But lately, my admiration for Jennifer Lawrence has started to falter. First it was her stunningly inaccurate means of portraying body positivity to the public. For years, Lawrence has been known for making statements regarding her body, and how it is unusual by Hollywood’s standards. This could not be less true, however, as Lawrence is a white, conventionally beautiful woman with a thin physique. She is not obese, and she is not average – no matter how many times she claims to be different, she is very much the epitome of Hollywood beauty standards. (Side note, being strong/muscular is not the same as being obese. Jennifer is curvy, yes, but still very thin.)
Next it was her overblown friendship with comedian Amy Schumer. The latter is notorious for her crass and “feminist” comedy, and the two women combined are an unstoppable storm of white-feminism and misandry. It seems like every day there is another story about how awesome and quirky and normal the two are, while they attend awards shows and make inappropriate, self-deprecating comments. They are pictured as the “every women” of Hollywood, but they both give off an air of entitlement. Unfortunately, the media chooses to praise the women (#SquadGoals, anyone?) rather than encourage intelligent conversation regarding the problematic behavior of both actresses. Don’t get me wrong, self-confidence and wit are admirable traits that the media hardly elects to portray in famous women, and it’s about time we have some women like that to look up to. But the way these women twist views of feminism and attempt to be genuine about their quote-unquote awkwardness is actually dangerous for their young female fans.
But overall, the most disappointing of Lawrence’s actions occurred just this Sunday at the annual Golden Globes awards in Los Angeles. As many have probably seen already, Jennifer Lawrence scolded a reporter for using his phone during her post-award press conference. The Best Actress – Comedy or Musical winner felt the reporter was being rude to her and was entitled enough to tell him “We’re at the Golden Globes. If you put your phone down, you would know that.” Yikes. This is not quirky or cute or witty in any way. This is not behavior we should be commending or condoning. This is the type of comment that deserves the public outcry it has received, especially since said reporter was using his phone to translate questions, as English was not his first language.
Jennifer Lawrence is an exceptional actress and I have a great admiration for her craft (Silver Linings Playbook is one of my all-time favorite films). But the sense of entitlement and utter disrespect for others she exudes in interviews and public appearances is exactly the opposite of what women need right now. Women need to see other women in media who are strong and confident, yes, but not in such a way that it alienates them from fans and viewers. I used to feel a sense of pride when I saw Jennifer Lawrence do something unconventional or speak her mind, but now I get the feeling that she knows she is part of this elite club that I will never be able to join. I feel like she believes she is entitled to a life much more important than mine, and I feel inferior when I see photos of her vacations and wild nights out. This is not the behavior of a role model and this is not the behavior of a woman who is looking out for the best interests of other women. Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most recognized names in media today, but she is not using her platform in a constructive way. If we keep labeling this type of entitled, brash behavior as “quirky” and “cute,” we may be leading younger generations of women astray.