My phone vibrates and I open it to read this text message from Crystal, my friend and colleague in pop culture analysis and criticism:
“Oh my God. I cannot, cannot stand her!”
“Who?” I write back, though I already know she’s probably referring to Jennifer Lawrence, the ridiculously popular actress who has just fallen down on live television while navigating the red carpet at the Academy Awards—making it the second consecutive year she’s biffed it at that swanky award show.
Crystal’s response confirming she’s talking about Lawrence is followed by: “I hate her. What a…[word that rhymes with blunt that I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to publish]. I’ll bet you anything she did this on purpose.”
“Well, she is an actress. But somehow I doubt she just fell over on purpose while wearing a gown worth more than a year’s college tuition.”
Crystal dislikes Lawrence for the same reason I believe most of the people who have venomously turned on the 23-year-old actress do: she is wildly famous and successful, due deservedly to her performances in both indie/artsy/award-winning (Silver Linings Playbook, Winter’s Bone, American Hustle) and super mainstream (the Hunger Games trilogy) films ; she is charismatic in a goofballesque kind of way; and for some reason the media has become so obsessed with her that she could drop a deuce and it would be news.
Envy is also probably at the root of it, too. Jealousy makes a hater hate, as they say, and most women—and men—in my age range would love to have the life that Jennifer Lawrence has. Anytime somebody who acts and looks normal is having astronomically abnormal success, it’s easy to predict that he or she is going to become heavily chastised. This same thing has happened to Anne Hathaway.* Americans hate famous and successful people who seem vaguely similar to them.
Oh, and some people probably dislike her because it’s becoming hip to do so.
But Crystal would never tell you these are her reasons for detesting Lawrence. The reason I hear most often is that she is inauthentic—that her “mostly normal if somewhat nerdy girl who just happens to be really good at this kickass job she has” is a shtick. Many believe that everything that comes out of her mouth, every clumsy fall she makes in heels, is a planned public relations stunt.
Maybe it is.
But if so: who really cares? At least she acts gracious, humble, and, well, sane. The things she says do not cause my blood to boil (unless it is out of jealousy, which is admittedly stupid). I prefer this over the insane behavior of Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Jaqueline Bisset, David O. Russell, LeBron James, or that idiot with two Hispanic first names who was on the most recent season of The Bachelor, to name just a few of the names on a list I keep in my burn book.
Whether the way Lawrence acts is really the way she feels inside, I do not know. You can’t really know this for sure about anybody in the world. (If she is inauthentic, the only way you’re going to be able to say she is is if she does something horrible, or reveals she’s been Joaquin Phoenixing us this entire time.) But I do think that most of what she does is because she actively wants people to like her, and believes that behaving like a kind human being is the best way to do so.
According to Metro, Lawrence seems to be very self-aware. She predicted last year that people may start hating on her.
“I’m always just very nervous,” she said. “I never feel like ‘I’ve got this.’ I’m always very nervous and aware of how quickly people can hate you and that scares me. I never feel like I’m on top of it or I know what I’m doing.”
If that quote pissed you off, ask yourself why. Then ask yourself why you expend energy getting angry about Jennifer Lawrence.
Wouldn’t it be better if you concentrated on the real dicks of the world, like your mean boss or Vladimir Putin? That guy is very genuine. A genuine asshole.