Why We Need More Role Models Like Jennifer Lawrence … and Now!Suzanne Jannese
Lets hear it for Jennifer Lawrence! While in the UK this week to promote her latest film in the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, Jennifer spoke to BBC’s Newsnight about the sexualization of women in her industry.
When asked about examples set by such artists as Miley Cyrus, she replied: “It is a part of the entertainment industry that sells. Sex sells, and for some disgusting reason young sex sells even more.”
Whilst she refused to name or shame any famous women, she did state: “For some people, that’s how they feel best, that’s how they feel sexy.” She continued that as long as she stars in movies that appeal to young girls, she will “make conscious decisions” to set a good example. She said that she hoped her role as Katniss Everdeen — the ultimate heroine in teen films — encourages young women to value strength of character over appearance.
The 23-year-old Oscar winner said: “Growing up I didn’t have a female hero the way that Katniss is, and I think she’s a wonderful role model for young girls. I’m happy that they have a character like that.”
Amen to that sister! At last we have a smart, dignified actress who doesn’t have to get naked to land a great role, and what’s even better is that the characters she tends to veer towards are generally resilient, determined, courageous women. From Winter’s Bone to X-Men to Silver Linings Playbook, the characters all have chutzpah. They are no wallflowers. Neither is Jen, as anyone who watched this clip of her meeting Jack Nicholson can see.
So while Miley twerks and strips and does all kinds of bizarre antics to get attention and prove she has “grown up,” some other women choose to do so in a more dignified manner. Whilst I am certain all that Miley is doing is in direct relation to how controlled she has felt during her years as a child star, it makes me sad that she feels the only way to strike out is to reveal so much of herself — literally and metaphorically!
Miley isn’t alone of course — there is a long list of starlets and reality TV show wannabes who seem to think any amount of fame is good. What bothers me is whilst some folk have to rely on shock/naked tactics to get noticed, those with talent — and I am looking at you here Miley — don’t need to do this to prove anything. Their exceptional voices/acting ability/star quality is enough.
In the old studio days, the Hollywood stars were deliberately kept away from the press; the mystique of their lives was something we all appreciated and respected. Now, a 24/7 media demanding new pictures, stories, and ever more shocking headlines means our stars have to give more to feed this frenzy.
The younger the star, the more they think that this is necessary to maintain a public profile. But it isn’t!! Here in the UK, we are proud of such great actresses as Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Helena Bonham Carter; singers such as Katherine Jenkins, Adele, and Emeli Sande — all of whom do not get their kits off to gain column inches!
So in a sea of young women who use their sexuality as some kind of media weapon, it is refreshing to hold up Jennifer Lawrence as the poster girl for young women. She champions her friends, tries to love a normal life, has a British boyfriend that she refuses to discuss in the press, and seems completely down-to-earth. She is the kind of woman young girls should aspire to be. Can we clone her?!
Photo Credit: Pacific Coast News