I recently heard somewhere that when a sports team isn’t doing so well people will refer to the team as ‘they.’ Like, “They suck this year,” “They’re not doing so well,” etc. But when a team starts to do well, the language changes to ‘we‘: “We’re doing great this year,” “We’re going to take it all!”
Of course, I really got thinking about this because of my hometown team scoring a big win this week. And although I truly am
a Boston Red Sox fan, I can’t ignore the amazing energy in the city right now and not want to be a part of it. So I am definitely guilty of this bandwagon psychology, I guess you could say. Go Jays Go!
Anyway, this ‘we’ and ‘them’ stuff also got me thinking about some other hot news this week. Jennifer Lawrence (JLaw), star of The Hunger Games, wrote an essay about her discovery of her lower wages than her male counterparts in a Sony film when Sony was hacked last year. In it she says, “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable f— that!”
As a woman, I admit I have participated in this phenomenon as well. More than once have I stayed silent, just so no one was put out. Don’t cause a fuss is a common thing for us ‘good women’ to think because we don’t want to put anyone out. But, who exactly are these people that women are offending by asking for an equal share? Who is put out by a woman receiving the pay she deserves or what is at least the equal to a man doing the same work?
But we can only go so far to blame the show or the companies or the industry before WE all admit that WE contribute to this outdated treatment of women. Even JLaw admitted that she wasn’t mad at Sony when she found out about the pay discrepancy: “I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.” The gist of her reason was that she didn’t want to seem like a brat or spoiled for asking for more money. She writes that she also realizes now that there wouldn’t have been the same thought of a man for asking the same.
Applause to all the men who support women receiving equal pay, like Bradley Cooper for Jennifer Lawrence and like the recent scandal on the Netflix series, Grace and Frankie. Martin Sheen and Tom Waterston came forward and agreed that they should receive less pay than Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, two female stars of the show.
Not to get too cheesy, but we ALL need to contribute to empowering ourselves, our team – us humans who want the world to keep progressing into a greater and greater place. This is a human problem, not an industry problem, and WE are all responsible for how we got here and how WE get out. WE all deserve equal pay.
If you are aware of any woman earning less pay for the same work as her male counterparts, you have a responsibility to yourself and all of us to speak out and correct the error. WE all will be better for it.
And while I have your attention, and in the spirit of a great week in baseball, let’s all stop saying, “He/She throws like a girl,” in a negative way. WE need to set a better example for OUR next generation of awesome girls and support them as strong equals.
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Jennifer Lawrence and bird photo adapted from vanityfair.com/at premier from hitfix.com
Blue Jays photo from thestar.com