Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence last night used her platform at Elle‘s Women in Hollywood event to share some of the humiliations she endured in her earlier Hollywood days.
She described being asked by a producer to lose 15 pounds in two weeks for a film role, having seen another actress be fired for not having lost weight quickly enough. “During this time, a female producer had me do a nude line-up with about five women who were much, much thinner than me. And we all stood side by side with only paste-ons covering our privates, ” she went on. “After that degrading and humiliating line-up, the female producer told me I should use the photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”
Her comments come in light of explosive allegations made against producer Harvey Weinstein in the New York Times, detailing decades of covert abuse. Since the report appeared, it seems the floodgates have opened, with many of Hollywood’s brightest stars, including the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne, Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and Léa Seydoux speaking out about their experiences with Weinstein, as well as countless others voicing experiences of sexual harassment and abuse within the industry.
Indeed, Lawrence described the discussion sparked by the revelations as “oddly unifying,” adding that, “It’s so fundamental to the female experience to be mistreated and feel ashamed of it.” The industry’s rampant sexism is now coming to light with a momentum like never before, igniting fierce debate about just what can change and what happens next. For now, Hollywood has welcomed the removal of Weinstein from his own company, as well as his expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (a.k.a. the Oscars).
Lawrence described feeling “trapped” by her experience, and says: “I let myself be treated a certain way because I felt I had to for my career,” showing that even someone with as much pure talent and charisma as J. Law is not immune to the pressures of industry and cultural expectations of how a woman should behave.
Even when Lawrence fought back, she was met with sexism. “I asked to speak to a producer about the unrealistic diet regime and he responded by telling me he didn’t know why everyone thought I was so fat; he thought I was perfectly fuck-able.”
She went to say that, “In a perfect world, every human being should have the power to be treated with respect because they’re human,” and that one day, at least, it might be possible to “stop normalizing these horrific situations.”
We’ll be waiting.