Jennifer Lawrence is often cited as a role model for young girls. Her “realness,” supposedly evidenced by her self-deprecating humor and frequent references to her junk food consumption during red carpet interviews, is touted as a breath of fresh air in an industry filled with perfectly coiffed and poised actresses such as Anne Hathaway, whom some have criticized for being “too enthusiastic” and therefore fake.
However, just how “real” is Jennifer Lawrence, really? And just how advisable is it to encourage young, impressionable girls to look up to an actress who, for all her success and talent, dumbs herself down for the sake of producing Tumblr-worthy GIFs and sound bytes? Lawrence’s schtick, and particularly its pretended glorification of slackerdom, is horrifically detrimental to the cause of encouraging young girls to assert themselves as individuals with valuable, worthy opinions and goals.
In an interview with The Straits Times, Lawrence made light of her inability to focus on set, saying that, “because I started [acting] very young, and I’m still very young, it’s hard for me to be serious sometimes and really focus. I’m like ‘Rah rah rah rah! I don’t want to! I’m bored!’” Even in a profession without office spaces, this validation of inattentiveness and its implied dismissal of the value of hard work is deeply troubling. To a young girl who hears that one of her role models simply floats through life with such a lackadaisical attitude, such statements can be discouraging, as they give one of two impressions: either that success should come without effort, which is categorically untrue in most pursuits, or that striving to achieve success is fundamentally “uncool” and therefore not worth the effort. Given the persistent gender gap in top-level positions, it is obvious that women cannot afford to follow Lawrence’s example and hope for the best in their pursuits without putting in real effort.
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