Actress Jennifer Lawrence announced this week she’s giving up acting for a year to “fix our democracy.” For this the 27-year-old “Hunger Games” star was roundly mocked on social media. But Wednesday her response to a very silly online outrage mob suggests she might be onto something that would help.
It all started with a Versace dress at an outdoor press event in London. As part of Lawrence’s promotional work for the upcoming spy thriller, “Red Sparrow,” she posed with male costars Jeremy Irons, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, and the film’s director, Francis Lawrence, on a rooftop. The men were bundled in pea coats, dress jackets, and boots while Lawrence wore a black formal dress with a plunging neckline and high slit.
Some observers declared it a literal picture of sexism that Lawrence was exposed to the relative cold while the men were dressed casually and comfortably. The dress was discordant with the #TimesUp movement, you see.
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) February 20, 2018
True equality means either Jennifer Lawrence getting a coat, or Jeremy Irons having to pose for a photocall in assless chaps.
— Helen Lewis (@helenlewis) February 20, 2018
— Sara Tasker (@meandorla) February 20, 2018
But Lawrence had something to say to them. She is a grown woman who can decide whether she needs a coat. She’s a star, she gets to pick her own dresses, and she’ll be cold if she wants to, she said in a Facebook post.
Wow. I don’t really know where to get started on this ‘Jennifer Lawrence wearing a revealing dress in the cold’ controversy. This is not only utterly ridiculous, I am extremely offended. That Versace dress was fabulous, you think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf? I was outside for 5 minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.
This is sexist, this is ridiculous, this is not feminism. Over-reacting about everything someone says or does, creating controversy over silly innocuous things such as what I choose to wear or not wear, is not moving us forward. It’s creating silly distractions from real issues. Get a grip people. Everything you see me wear is my choice. And if I want to be cold, THAT’S MY CHOICE TOO!
Some would tell us it was society that made her wear the dress even though she thinks it’s her choice— that a system of sexist expectations, seen and unseen, compels her to make choices she wouldn’t otherwise make. That she’d have been happier in a pea coat and boots, too. But Lawrence isn’t exactly known for being a shrinking violet, and when I look at that picture, I think I’d have enthusiastically picked the Versace, too, and not because of the patriarchy.
She doesn’t want the Internet’s blanket of condescending concern draped over her shoulders. She wore a great dress. She was outside for a few minutes in it. Get a grip, people. The battle over who can be most outraged and woke at all times about even the smallest things is one we all lose, and it makes it harder to discuss anything, particularly things of more consequence than Lawrence’s wardrobe.
If Lawrence takes the next year off of acting to implore people from coast to coast to “get a grip” and stop “overreacting about everything someone says or does, creating controversy over silly innocuous things,” she will have genuinely gotten us closer to fixing our democracy.