Celebs as Poster Children for Social Justice

At the end of 2014, Sony was hit with an anonymous hack bomb. Many great things came out of the  email hack including detailed accounts of gender inequality. Hackers exposed the dirty laundry of Hollywood movie execs and just how well or not so well they treat talent. We learned that Hollywood is just as screwed up as, if not more than, the rest of us. A tale as old as time men get paid more than women even when those women are doing just as much work as the men.

In the October 13th 2015 issue of Lenny, the feminist newsletter for millennials by Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO hit Girls, Jennifer Lawrence addressed the issue of gender pay inequality.

In an open letter to Lenny readers, Hollywood and the world, Lawrence discussed the shock she felt when she first discovered that she had gotten paid less than her male counterparts, her fear of speaking up for higher pay and the implications such inequality had on her confidence in her craft. Why wasn’t she getting paid the same as the dudes?

The question begs to be answered: should highly paid Hollywood starlets be the voice of equality when they live in the fantastical world of Hollywood? It seems whenever there’s an issue of social injustice, we the audience look to Hollywood to be our voice. We clamor and applaud when someone like Emma Watson screams out for feminist men and we raise our glasses in agreement when Patricia Arquette calls out oppressed minority groups, but didn’t this conversation start long before the inclusion of  Tinsletown?

Now this isn’t a discussion on the convoluted relationship between celebrity and America, but I think a point can be made that America has got its priorities out of whack. Your priorities are out of whack when an act of activism becomes that time you retweeted Watson’s #HeForShe campaign but failed to speak up for yourself at your annual work evaluation meeting. Or when your neighborhood’s Women’s group holds a meeting in your town but you don’t attend. Or when you sit in a nail parlor and know very well that the nail tech who is so pristinely and diligently servicing your toes, doesn’t get paid the minimum wage.

Yes celebrities make great poster children for pressing social issues because they hold a certain level of influence and prestige but when that same celebrity makes 10x what you make in a year in one week, its time you also start doing some talking. Don’t just wait around like Rapunzel up in the tower. Get a chair. Braid your hair. And climb down the wall.


Image courtesy of CreateHERstock



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