Rooney Mara on Gender Pay Gap in Hollywood: 'We're Having the Wrong Conversation'

Although she hasn't had to personally deal with the issue more than once, Mara thinks lower pay is a matter of less respect

Photo: Gary Gershoff/WireImage

Like many other Hollywood actresses, Rooney Mara is giving her opinion on the gender pay gap in the film industry.

“I think that we’re having the wrong conversation,” Mara, 30, told Deadline. “The conversation isn’t we’re not getting paid as much as men. The conversation should be why and where does that come from because it’s just a side effect of something much greater.”

While the Carol star agrees that some form of the conversation is necessary, and unequal pay is a problem in Hollywood, she admitted to the website that, for the most part, she hasn’t had to personally deal with the issue. Mara revealed that she’s only really had one experience with a studio film, in which she got paid less than her male counterparts without good reason

The actress credits her good fortune to the fact that most of her work has been on smaller films, where everyone gets equal pay, but also believes that the problem with women getting paid less is a matter of respect on bigger films.

“If you’re a female who is sort of opinionated or has a point of view or is self-possessed in a way, you get described with this language in ways that others would never talk about me,” Mara added. “I think when you’re getting paid less, there’s sort of this sense that ‘Well you don’t really respect me or feel like you need me as much as you need these other people.'”

The conversation on women in Hollywood became a hot button topic after Jennifer Lawrence penned a personal essay in October, slamming the wage gap between men and women.

“I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable!” Lawrence wrote in the candid piece. “F— that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard.”

Since the essay was published, multiple actresses have come out, sharing their own experiences with the unequal pay in the movie business.

While the topic is certainly a popular talking point in Hollywood, it presumably wasn’t an issue in Carol, in which Mara stars alongside Cate Blanchett.

A bigger issue for actress was keeping her nerves in check while playing Blanchett’s love interest.

“It was pretty easy to pretend to be enamored by her,” Mara told Interview Magazine in November. “She’s very confident. It’s amazing. Usually it’s not that great to meet your idols and work with them; it’s kind of a letdown.

“This definitely wasn’t. She’s much different than I had in my head, but kind of better, in a way. It was also obviously terrifying.”

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