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The Truth About The Gender Pay Gap In Hollywood

The Gender Pay Gap has been the talk around Hollywood lately, with stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart and Meryl Streep speaking out. Many actresses are complaining that they are being paid significantly less than their male counterparts.

For years, females have been wholly underrepresented in film and television, barely managing to score a supporting role, much less a lead. Now that Hollywood has produced films like Pitch Perfect or Brides Maids that stars a strong female cast, the climate has changed and female actors are speaking out.

Most recently Jennifer Lawrence, a wildly successful, four times Oscar nominated actress, penned an essay addressing the issue. Keep in mind she has made $52 million in the last year, making her the world’s highest-paid actress. In her essay, Lawrence wrote, “When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid that the lucky people with d*cks, I didn’t get mad at Sony, I got mad at myself…I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.”

Another well known actress and recent Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette brought the issue to a head during her acceptance speech at last year’s Oscars. She said, “It’s our time to have wage equality for and for all.” Many applauded her and when the camera panned to the audience, we saw Jennifer Lopez and Meryl Streep bellowing in approval.

But money isn’t the only issue in Hollywood, its not enough roles being offered to women. In a recent interview with Variety Studio, Kristen Stewart, made famous by the Twilight Saga, gave her opinion on the issue.

Stewart said, “It’s hard for me to speak to that, because, it’s awkward, I’m so f*cking lucky and so stimulated and driven, like not bored, and I have something in front of me all the time.” While Stewart, another highly paid, in demand actress concedes that women get paid significantly less, she points out that there is a lot of complaining and not enough action. 

“It sounds weird for me to sit around and be like, ‘It’s not fair!,’ “she said, “Instead of sitting around and complaining about that, do something… Go write something, go do something.”

In this aspect, I would have to agree with Stewart. Surely there are women in the industry making moves to level the playing ground between male and female actors, but nothing is going to change if no one is taking action. Later this year, we are to expect more films with a predominately female cast such as remakes of Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 11.

Hopefully making films like these will open up more opportunities for women in this industry, both on screen and off. To ensure this, actresses, writers, and directors should continue discussing this issue, sending a clear message to studios about equal pay for equal work.

This issue is not only one happening in Hollywood, but across the country with women struggling to support their families on a salary that pays women 79 cents to a man’s dollar.

Are these women in Hollywood role models for the average woman in society? After woman tackle Hollywood, is the pay gap in all of America next?

Ashley a senior from Virginia Beach, VA attending WVU. She is currently majoring in Print Journalism and minoring in Spanish. After graduating in May 2016, she hopes to start her career by writing for a magazine or online media company. Besides blogging, she enjoys the going to the beach, watching movies and spending time with the ones she loves. 
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