There's a lot to love about Jennifer Lawrence. Although she may no longer be Hollywood's darling, one thing she isn't, is a coward.
The Hunger Games star recently published an essay entitled "Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars?" in which she discusses the gender inequality in her industry. Though she may not have enamoured herself to contemporaries in the process, the vast majority of us are fist pumping behind our screens because J Law had the balls for telling it like it is.
But she isn't stupid. She knows her "problems aren’t exactly relatable." She knows it's hard to feel sorry for someone as successful as her.
Many of us balk at the feminist label - Lawrence included - that in itself is part of the problem. We hate to speak too loudly, too forcefully because deep down, we aim to please. Ultimately we want to be remain sweet and likeable. Yes, even Jen Lawrence.
In the essay, she admits that she blamed herself when the Sony hack revealed the pay gap between actors and actresses. She blamed herself for backing down, for not negotiating her own deals as vigorously and unapologetically as male costars like Bradley Cooper.
So what held her back?
"I didn’t want to seem 'difficult' or 'spoiled,'" she writes. Like so many of us, she admits to this "lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t 'offend' or 'scare' men."
Well, I can tell you, Jen, that experience isn't limited to Hollywood. Those same dilemmas and double standards continue to dog working women in every industry, and I've been guilty of it myself.
If women simply speak in the same tone or manner as a man, they are blunt or bitchy, where the dude is "commended for being fierce and tactical."
Lawrence questions whether things would be different if she didn't happen to have a vagina. Probably... But at least now she has balls to go with it.
School lunches, how I loathe thee! Let me count the ways...
What if I told you that there was a way to get out of packing school lunches once and for all? There is, but there's a snag: you'll have to move to Boston.
Smart Lunches offers meal plans for the entire week or just a few select days. There's no minimum, and though there's a premium, how many of us would be willing to foot the bill just to get out of the lunchbox drudgery for a while?
Parents initially set out any food restrictions, allergies, likes and dislikes. The rest is up to the biz.
The menu changes daily, with "at least 50 entrees to cycle through," at a cost of around $6-7 apiece. And participating schools see 1-2 per cent of profits.
Founded by two moms in 2011, Smart Lunches knows how tedious lunch-making can be. And the idea is catching, with 200 schools signed up in several U.S. states.
For now the company only operates with private or independent schools, but hopes to eventually partner with public schools, too.
In fact, a similar program ran at my kid's last school. I won't lie. It wasn't a perfect arrangement. My son is/was a fussy eater, and sometimes even meals that were 'sure bets' came home uneaten because they tasted fractionally different than that to which he was accustomed.
And yet, even though we couldn't afford to take advantage every week, I can't tell you how giddy I was on the mornings I remembered that lunch was covered. Like a little brown bag fairy had answered my prayers!
These days, all I can do is look longingly at the school calendar and hold out for the next pizza day...
It's been 10 months since she gave birth to daughter Kaya, and actress Hayden Panettiere is coming out with some serious news. She's taken the spotlight - not for her role in Nashville, but for her real-life struggle with postpartum depression (PPD).
Unlike some celebrities, who would quietly go into hiding, posting cute, captioned Instagram photos, reps for Panettiere have released a statement announcing that she has voluntarily checked herself into a treatment centre for PPD.
"I can very much relate," said 26-year-old Panettiere in a previous interview about her character on Nashville. "It's something a lot of women experience. When [you are told] about postpartum depression, you think it's 'I feel negative feelings towards my child; I want to injure or hurt my child.' I've never, ever had those feelings. Some women do."
"But you don't realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It's something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they're not alone, and that it does heal."
Panettiere went one further, to dispel some myths that PPD is simply caused by hormones. The depression is real, not something that's just "in her head." And anyone who's been through it knows you can't just shake off those feelings and simply enjoy your baby, as much as you'd like to.
For some reason, depression is hard to reconcile with this beautiful little bundle you've been given. Life is the truly greatest gift, and depression doesn't negate that fact.
Suffering from depression doesn't mean you harbour ill feelings toward your baby. It doesn't mean you regret having a child or that you don't or can't love your baby. It doesn't mean you are a 'refrigerator mom' whose infant will be damaged goods as a result of your mental health issues.
What it does mean is that you need extra care and understanding to get back to yourself. And you will get back to yourself, in time, and become the mother you want to be.
But the first step is to stop pretending everything is fine.
Thanks to Panettiere for making it that bit easier for other moms to admit they need help.
Image Source: WikiCommons