There’s been a slow and steady increase in the attention paid to how much women are getting paid for their work — across the board — in Hollywood. The fight for pay equity in the film industry has led to a fair number of actresses, mostly, speaking up in favor of equal pay and calling out the bullshit practices that have contributed to their economic inequality.
The latest voice in the fight for equal pay is Diane Kruger, who said she had no qualms about being considered a bitch by demanding that she is paid fairly. Her interview, part of the Women in Motion series at Cannes 2017, features one strongly worded excerpt about why she doesn’t care if she’s perceived as a bitch for demanding fair pay.
“You know, it depends on you and how you want to be treated,” Kruger said. “And sometimes, I’ve certainly made the experience that if I speak up and I don’t sugarcoat things, that people think, ‘Oh, you’re harsh,’ or, ‘You’re a bitch,’ you know? And men would be treated as ‘great artists’ and passionate about their work. But it’s a matter of yourself to just create that space and say, ‘No, this is where I draw the line.'”
This difference, Kruger’s statement goes on to imply, is crucial in recognizing and then systematically tearing down unequal pay structures, potentially across the board but certainly in Hollywood. In a recent Variety interview, Jessica Chastain spoke similarly about this aspect of earning equal pay. She touched on the need for women to begin to feel comfortable enough in themselves to ask for their fair share; they have the power within themselves, so they should use it, Chastain said.
Kruger finished her statement on her feelings about equal pay by recognizing that this is easier said than done: “I know that’s sometimes difficult. I’ve certainly never been paid as much as a male co-star in the United States.”
What Kruger’s statements give rise to is the idea that maybe getting tough is the way to get equal treatment. It’s certainly food for thought.