Jennifer Lawrence will wear what she wants, gosh darn it.
“Get a grip people,” she wrote Wednesday on Facebook. “Everything you see me wear is my choice. And if I want to be cold THATS MY CHOICE TOO!”
Lawrence’s passionate post refers to a controversy surrounding an outfit she wore on Tuesday to a photo call for her new thriller, “Red Sparrow.” News outlets and social media users ruminated on whether her choice, a Versace dress with a plunging neckline and thigh-high slit, was appropriate for brisk London weather.
“Please give Jennifer Lawrence a dang coat,” Jezebel pleaded. Twitter users replied to the Versace account’s photo of her in the velvet gown with comments such as, “I’ve seen your beautiful suits and coats. Why don’t you respect Ms Lawrence enough to dress her appropriately for the weather?” An editor at the British magazine New Statesman tweeted a photo of Lawrence with her bundled-up co-stars and added, “This is such a quietly depressing (and revealing) image. Not least because I’ve been outside today and it’s bloody FREEZING.”
Many critics presumed that Lawrence had not chosen the outfit herself, implying that it represented persisting gender inequality in Hollywood. Jezebel, for example, began its post by calling out her stylists: “If you’re looking at a woman and she is appropriately protected from the ravages of wind and rain, will you forget how hot she is? Yes. Thank you, J. Law’s stylists, for respecting this truth.” Lawrence targeted this notion in her Facebook post, emphasizing her own sense of agency.
“That Versace dress was fabulous, you think I’m going to cover that gorgeous dress up with a coat and a scarf?” she wrote. “I was outside for 5 minutes. I would have stood in the snow for that dress because I love fashion and that was my choice.”
Joel Edgerton, one of the pictured co-stars, also chimed in on the issue via an interview with Yahoo Movies UK.
“Yesterday, on the balcony, seemed like a lose-lose situation because if Jennifer wore jeans and a coat, I’m sure somebody else would have criticised her,” he said. “At some point it seemed like the weather was blamed because it was the optics, plus the weather, plus the four of us in our outfits. . . . It seems like everywhere Jennifer goes she’s part of some international incident.”
He added, “The body-shaming and outfit-shaming that goes on in the perishable Internet media is really disappointing.”
Much of the “shaming” took place on Twitter, a site of frequent outrage, and one that Lawrence has spoken against in the past. While promoting a “Hunger Games” film in 2014, soon after a hacker leaked nude photos of the actress, she vowed to never join the social network.
“I’m not very good on phones or technology,” she told BBC Radio 1. “I cannot really keep up with emails, so the idea of Twitter is so unthinkable to me. I don’t really understand what it is, it’s this weird enigma that people talk about. And it’s fine, I respect that, but no, I will never get a Twitter.”
Though Lawrence’s playful antics in the public eye are normally well-received, she is often a recipient of online criticism that claims she puts on a crafted “cool girl” persona. For instance, backstage at the 2016 Golden Globes, when she snapped at a reporter, “You can’t live your whole life behind your phone, bro,” critics said he might have been using the phone for work.
The actress deemed this most recent incident an overreaction.
“This is sexist, this is ridiculous, this is not feminism,” she wrote. “Over-reacting about everything someone says or does, creating controversy over silly innocuous things such as what I choose to wear or not wear, is not moving us forward. It’s creating silly distractions from real issues.”