Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Lena Dunham opened up about Jennifer Lawrence’s powerful essay on the wage gap in her recent “Lenny” newsletter, explaining that the piece arrived in her inbox "entirely, fully formed” and that it “was clearly something that [Lawrence] had been ready to write and that she was ready to express.”
As you might expect, Dunham spoke highly of Lawrence's writing style and ideas, particularly the notion that women are less willing to assert themselves because they have been socially conditioned to try and be “cute” or to hide their intelligence.
"What I really connected to when I read the piece was the idea of likability,” says Dunham, who has often been criticized for making her “Girls” characters too "unlikable" -- a criticism certainly levied at female characters far more often than male ones.
"It’s something I hear about all the time, whether it’s critique of my characters or critique of a director, and I think the fact that Jen was able to articulate that we spend so much time on our delivery that we forget about our message is so profound," she continues. "'I’m sick of trying to find the adorable way to say something' is such a relatable statement. It’s so painful when I look back and think about all the moments that I minced words because of the fact that I didn’t want to be perceived as a bitch, a diva, or an a–hole.”
As for what’s next for Hollywood, Dunham says that people like herself and Lawrence, who are on the public stage, have a responsibility to speak publicly about issues of inequality in the industry.
“If Jennifer Lawrence has dealt with it, just imagine what the negotiating process is like for a female actor who doesn’t have her level of leverage,” Dunham says. And then let’s apply that to women around the country who are in even starker situations when it comes to the wage gap in their non-Hollywood jobs. It’s an issue in every single level of women in the workforce… If Jennifer Lawrence feels this pressure, imagine what it’s like for women who don’t necessarily have that power and profile. I’m just so glad that that was the dialogue that she was able to begin."
Read the full Q&A over on EW.