A collective of feminist students hosted a panel of distinguished women in their annual “Shut Up Men” conference at Appleby Hall. The panel consisted of actress and wage-warrior Jennifer Lawrence, survivor and journalist Katie Way, and Iranian national Masih Alinejad.
All three women worked tirelessly to promote women’s equality throughout the world in 2017.
Jennifer Lawrence spent 2017 racking up nominations for worst performance of the year award for her movie Mother! While one might think that making a film that bad would take all of someone’s time, that was not so for Lawrence. She managed to confront Hollywood over the wage gap. While some would argue that Lawrence may be paid less because she is bad at negotiating contracts and delivers poor performances, those people are sexists.
Katie Way worked to highlight the #MeToo movement. During a date with scumbag Aziz Ansari, Way realized that she was just not into him, but Ansari continued in a physical pursuit of Way. While she did not use her words to express that she was not interested, and Ansari apologized profusely when she told him the next day, Way wrote an expose on Babe.net. Though some journalists saw this as nothing more than poor communication, Way made sure to disgrace and humiliate Ansari anyway.
Masih Alinejad is a woman from Iran who made national headlines as she was photographed protesting Iran’s oppressive law requiring women to wear a hijab. She and the other Iranian women who fight for gender equality risk their lives in attempting to receive equal rights.
The panelists all gave brief summaries of their efforts to promote equality before opening up to question and answer portion of the evening.
“[What is the] advice I would give myself about the industry? Make sure you know how much everyone else is getting paid before you say yes," stated Lawrence, following a question on what she learned from her battle against the wage gap.
Lawrence also touched on her #MeToo experience. As a young actress auditioning for a role in which she would have to be naked on set, Lawrence was asked to be naked for a scene. Though the whole audition was done in a room of all women, her male producer did not support her anger and stated that she looked f***able.
Way jumped into this conversation. “Just because we put ourselves in compromising positions and never stated that we were uncomfortable does not mean that using the #MeToo movement is wrong. It isn’t like we are comparing our experiences to people who are raped, as Matt Damon suggested.”
When asked for her thoughts, Alinejad stated, “While I admire the struggle you two women face, women in the Middle East face the threat of death for not covering their heads. We could use the #MeToo help.”
Alinejad was referring to the fact that it is illegal for women to uncover their heads in Iran. In Saudi Arabia, women cannot make decisions without a male “wali” – an official guardian, typically a father, brother, uncle or husband. Women in the United Arab Emirates face jail time for reporting rapists.
Although Hollywood has been all about the #MeToo movement, Lawrence and Way had no response to Alinejad’s request for support.
“I kind of feel like it would be offensive to those countries if we called them out because America has just as many problems,” stated Lawrence.
“I agree,” stated Way. “If we start ranking problems, then feminism will never progress. Bad dates are worth fighting as much as oppressive regimes.”
Though the feminists could not see eye to eye on every issue, Lawrence and Way enjoyed the opportunity to speak freely without men mansplaining. Alinejad enjoyed the event because it is not an event that is legal in the Middle East.