Stop Negging Jennifer Lawrence, Please

Are you a man? Are you reading this? Are you a man who is reading this? That’s fantastic. Can you please stop negging Jennifer Lawrence? Or anybody? Stop negging. Stop negging everyone.

But especially Jennifer Lawrence because girlfriend is getting negged right and left, apparently.

“No one ever asks me out,” she told Vogue in her cover feature. “I know where it’s coming from, I know they’re trying to establish dominance, but it hurts my feelings. I’m just a girl who wants you to be nice to me. I am straight as an arrow.”

She also added that she had been dating someone (not Chris Martin), who was super-hot and/or babely, but he made her feel bad. Which, in all due respect, totally sucks.

The whole interview is really interesting (so read it up), but what stuck out to me is that oh-so-familiar pattern of dudes being threatened by a woman’s success and then lashing out in hopes of becoming more powerful. And it happens constantly. I can’t count how many conversations I’ve been on the receiving end of where a guy opens with a condescending comment in an attempt to make me feel less than, or to seem charming or cute. And when I was younger, it kind of worked. I’d think, “Oh maybe this guy is cooler than I am because he’s calling bullshit on things I like or am proud of.” But then I realized: nope.

Nothing screams “I’m an insecure man-baby” like opening with a line that makes who he’s talking to want to walk into the sea. It’s not indicative of his smarts, or his talents, or his capacity for having an actual conversation — it’s actually just indicative of how he can’t handle speaking to women. And it’s embarrassing for him. (Which is why I now have no qualms about saying something that will emotionally scar guys like this for life — or you know, just turning around and not acknowledging that they exist in any way. Either/or.)

I think what makes it worse is that, aside from a very well-delivered one-liner and/or creating such a terrifying essence around one’s self that no man dare speak to you aside from saying, “Thank you for looking in my general direction I am lucky to have made eye contact with you for a second” (which is a goal of mine I work towards every day), there’s nothing any of us can do. Men be negging. This is their problem to fix. It’s up to them to realize that the tried-and-true schoolyard approach of pulling a woman’s pigtails is not conducive to creating anything but an imbalance of power. Also, that there’s a difference between banter and making jokes and being an asshole.

Talking to a woman is not an excuse to shit all over her for the sole benefit of trying to make yourself look smart or special or important. If a woman’s a boss (which she probably is), talk to her like you would any other boss. Maybe even your boss. And odds are, if you were to neg somebody you considered an equal, you would be fired and/or shunned and/or cut out of a lot of Facebook photos because you’d be your circle’s Jeremy Renner a.k.a. The Worst.

Tags: Anne T. Donahue, Jennifer Lawrence, Vogue

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