February 27, 2013

This week, the trendy thing to do on the Internet is to love Jennifer Lawrence and hate Anne Hathaway. Before I start telling you why you’re wrong, YOU’RE ALL WRONG, there’s one thing I need to clarify: I am not pitting these women against each other. I refuse to say “Jennifer is better than Anne” or “Anne is better than Jennifer,” despite the fact that they’ve been overwhelmingly presented to the internet as the antithetical to one another, and despite the fact that what you’re about to read is essentially one big comparison.

We shouldn’t put women into direct—especially when it’s this petty—competition with each other. It simply weakens us, period. As an aside, periods can often also weaken us (with the ouchy cramps and violent hormones). Moreover, let’s not even judge them as women, but just as people who breathe and walk about and do things.

Now that we’ve established that, this isn’t a case of J-Law vs. A-Hath, or a case of pesky women just being pesky women, we can get to the point: Jennifer Lawrence isn’t as good as you think she is, and Anne Hathaway isn’t as bad as you think she is. Let’s take a look at the evidence:

The Oscars
All of the love and vitriol this week comes from both these women’s performances at the Oscars. While Jennifer moaned about being hungry on the red carpet and then FELL DOWN when she went to collect her award for Best Actress, shooing off the two hunky babes trying to help her up (Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper), Anne whispered to her trophy before she began her speech and her nipples may or may not have been visible through her dress.

Am I the only one that finds Jennifer’s schtick unbearable? We get it girl, you’re like, way smarter and sassier than all these other vacuous Hollywood chumps because you are just so down to earth and Girl Next Door. I guess I just don’t find anything particularly humble about Jennifer Lawrence; I see her “down to earthedness” as plain superiority. I don’t buy her “of the people” thing because she’s not of the people; she’s beautiful and thin and smart and talented, and I get the impression she’s very aware of that, sometimes condescendingly so.

I know I’m definitely the only one that thinks Anne Hathaway’s “fabulous gay man in a boring straight woman’s body” routine is completely endearing. Look, I’m not saying Anne Hathaway is completely sane, but I find her ostentatious laughter, blathery drivel and bat-shit crazy talking to her Oscar trophy moments kind of fun. I mean, have you watched Beyoncé’s documentary? That woman is absolutely mad—she carries a laptop around with her and talks to it instead of talking to actual PEOPLE—and we’ve collectively decided she’s the second coming of our Lord and Savior. Bey is just as nuts as Anne, so I say, let’s give little loopy Annie a chance. Crazy is way more fun anyway. And, damn it, aren’t we just past obsessing over women’s nipples being visible through their clothes, or any other lady part for that matter?

Their Talk Show Personas
This was basically summed up by their performances at the Oscars. Jennifer Lawrence: self-deprecating, sharp as a really sharp knife, doesn’t take anything (least of all Hollywood and diets) seriously. Anne Hathaway: flamboyant, earnestly passionate, JUST SO MUCH. This excites people and bums people out respectively.

But of all their television appearances, I remember one for each of them most distinctly. I remember Jennifer Lawrence on Letterman, defending an unflattering image of her butt, insisting that it wasn’t really her butt at all. What’s so “down to earth” about that? I think, more than anything, it’s sort of nice that J-Law is as insecure as I am about her butt, but on the flip-side, her even caring about such a triviality (when she always INSISTS, by making joke after joke about Hollywood’s obsession with thinness, that dieting is THE WORST. Sidebar: I can, in fact, vouch for the fact that dieting is the worst), negates all her “I don’t give a shit what you think of me” palaver. In sum: Jenny is just as vapid as everyone else who cares about their body looking gross in photos. Yay!

I remember Anne Hathaway also defending her body, but in stark contrast, she did it with such a dignified, poisonous tongue, it was truly a wonder to behold. After the famous picture of her bare vagina did the rounds on the Internet, Anne appeared on the Today show and very articulately, very gracefully, ripped Matt Lauer’s face off with her words, and made a BRILLIANT, STANDING OVATION WORTHY segue into talking about Les Mis. It was a big, bold, showy moment for Anne, but it made my heart absolutely flutter because she didn’t just stand up for herself, she stood up for women, AND promoted her product. Simply wonderful.

Filmographies
I think we’re supposed to think of Jennifer Lawrence as a “real” actress and Anne Hathaway as a not-real actress pretending to be a real actress. I’m not sure why. Anne has more years under her belt than Jen, which generally means “more time to do rom coms”, but Silver Linings Playbook was, in my opinion, little more than a glorified rom com where J-Law just acted as an extension of her surly public persona. In fact, the only interesting thing in SLP was Jackie Weaver, bless her amazing accent. I haven’t seen Les Mis, but I did watch the bit where Anne sang in the trailer, and her performance seemed incredible, even though Les Mis looks like a pile of shit. So I guess we can just agree that Oscar movies suck.

While on the more serious side, Jen has Winter’s Bone and Anne has Rachel Getting Married, I think it’s more important to note that Jen has The Hunger Games and Anne has The Princess Diaries. The Princess Diaries has Julie Andrews. The Hunger Games has Lenny Kravitz and a dude who paints himself as moss. I believe I’ve made my point.

Nothing Really In Particuar, Just Because
At the end of it all, I think people just like Jennifer and don’t like Anne. I think it’s an instinctive thing, and maybe I was wrong when I said we shouldn’t be assessing them as women, because I think that might be precisely the reason why people have taken up arms the way they have in both cases.

Jennifer Lawrence is relatable because she’s “humble”; she eats McDonalds and acts undeserving of her status. Anne Hathaway is alienating because she’s entirely self-possessed and brash. Perhaps we ask our women to be talented, but not pompous in that talent; loud, but only when she’s denouncing herself; elegant, but fallible, prone to falling down. My question is, do we ask the same of men? Is there any feat of self-aggrandizing flagrant theatre and other bullshit that Robert Downey Jr., George Clooney or Christian Bale could participate in that would lead us to brand them the same way we brand Anne Hathaway?

Jennifer Lawrence is lovable to people, generally, because she’s safe; because you could be her friend and just hang out in your sweats and talk about periods and hamburgers. And that’s great. But every woman should also have a friend like Anne to teach us that it’s OK to love yourself and to be yourself (I mean she’s not killing puppies is she?), no matter how obnoxiously grandiose that self is.

Comments >
The Bullet Shop