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The beacon of hope that is Jennifer Lawrence

By   /   January 31, 2014  /   Comments Off

We live in a culture overflowing with unfortunate precedents for young women. Whether we like it or not the media has an almost authoritarian grip on self image in our country. If you are unfamiliar with the word “Kardashian” you are doing something so right and I would like to know your secret – please get in touch with me.

The media is an invisible force that buries itself inside the subconscious of anyone that it is exposed to. Some celebrities may not realize the impact they can make on people’s minds with the examples they set. This is a sad ignorance seen carried by many of the women propelled into stardom on the basis of sexual appeal or their relationships with famous men. They need to realize the impact they can have on a young impressionable mind that is trying to figure out what to make of itself.

I shudder to think about the example the “Twilight” series has set for the young women in our society. The lead character Bella is a blank slate grasping on to the nearest hunk to try and add meaning to her life. This is not good. Stephanie Meyer, why did you write this? Please go away now.

Along comes the powerful gaze of Jennifer Lawrence in the bleak and affecting “Winter’s Bone.” At the age of 20, Lawrence gave a masterful performance as Ree Dolly, a girl trying to save her family from financial crisis by solving the mystery of her father’s disappearance. This role displayed a fresh new talent to the world and was the first rung of the ladder Lawrence has climbed to the top of.

Since “Winter’s Bone” she has become a premiere talent, winning an Oscar for ‘Silver Linings Playbook” and finding a place in Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World.’ She recently grabbed another Oscar nomination for her role in American Hustle. Most importantly to the topic at hand is her role as Katniss Everdeen in the “Hunger Games” franchise; the series has become extremely popular with today’s youth and thankfully, this is a good thing.

Katniss is a strong female character that acts on her own agency. She does not borrow strength from the men around her, but finds it within herself. Much of this is reflected in the actress herself; Jennifer Lawrence is aware of her position as a role-model.

When discussing her character with BBC’s Newsnight she said: “Growing up I didn’t have a female hero the way that Katniss is, and I think she’s a wonderful role model for young girls. I’m happy that they have a character like that.”

She also remarked on the topic of examples set by Miley Cyrus: “It is a part of the entertainment industry that sells. Sex sells, and for some disgusting reason young sex sells even more.”

 Lawrence seems to fill the intimidating role-model status almost effortlessly. She is an intelligent and fearless woman who will not sell her body for fame. She talks about her love of junk food and is conscious of her physical appearance, and the precedent that it sets. Maintaining her well known sense of humor she remarked: “I’m considered a fat actress. I’m Val Kilmer in that one picture on the beach.” She refuses to starve herself under the pressures of what the media deems to be beautiful.

She can steal a scene away from the great Christian Bale using her worked for talent and not just wearing a skimpy dress. I am so thankful for Jennifer Lawrence. I hope her honesty and independence can continue to spread to our youth and help get them off this dangerously unhealthy, Twilight fueled road.

 

–Jake Pelenis

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