The Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer 'backlash' shows how easily celebrities can fall into this trap

By Emily Yahr

Actresses Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence. Photo / Getty Images
Actresses Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence. Photo / Getty Images

Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer are suddenly best friends after a year spent frolicking on vacation and writing a movie script. After the past two weeks, they have one more thing in common: They fell into a trap.

Specifically, that celebrity trap in which people assume that you are the characters you play. Not the characters onscreen in movies and TV shows - but the actual person you present to the world.

The problem with celebrities being more accessible than ever these days is that people assume their personalities on Instagram (or Twitter, talk shows, Reddit AMAs, etc.) are actually what they're like in real life. Hey, maybe Lawrence really doesn't have any kind of filter, and Schumer really is that self-deprecating. Those goofy personas are relatable, which is why both actresses have such rabid fanbases. Regardless, those personas are still crafted for the public and the press as they promote projects.

However, people forget that, which is why Lawrence and Schumer experienced recent controversy. Lawrence got flack after the Golden Globes when she snapped at a reporter backstage who was looking at his phone. "You can't live your whole life behind your phone, bro ... You gotta live in the now," she told him.

Lawrence was harshly criticised when the video went viral, especially given that the reporter didn't speak English as a first language and may have been using his phone to help ask her a question. Others jumped in to defend Lawrence, saying the reporter was indeed taking pictures of her. It didn't matter. The incident trended on Facebook and Mic declared Lawrence's moment as America's Sweetheart over.

Read more:
Amy Schumer denies stealing jokes: 'That would be so stupid for me to do that'
Amy Schumer's critic apologises for tweets

Meanwhile, Schumer got attention this week when a teen film critic met her at the Critics' Choice Awards and tweeted a picture with the following caption: "Spent the night with @amyschumer. Certainly not the first guy to write that!" Schumer shot back with a tweet of her own: "I get it. Cause I'm a whore? Glad I took a photo with you."

Almost immediately, the teen apologised, and sites jumped on the exchange with headlines like "Amy Schumer Perfectly Shut Down A Film Critic For His Sexist Comment" and "Amy Schumer takes down sexist troll on Twitter with a single tweet." Still, some people slammed Schumer for responding so harshly when much of her stand-up addresses her sexuality. ("Amy Schumer can't take a joke," declared an opinion writer at Newsday.)

Of course, the reason people reacted so strongly is that both occurrences went against what they know about each actress. How could Lawrence ever come off as obnoxious - isn't she the quirky best friend to everyone? And why would Schumer take offence to a joke about her sex life - isn't her comedy based on that very idea? Plus, there's the fact that they're a package deal now, the Cool Girl squad that you wish you could join.

The lesson to take away from each instance is that, no, despite how "real" Lawrence and Schumer come off to the public, that's just how people know them: in public. Behind closed doors, they're just regular people who get annoyed with perceived rudeness or tweets about their sex lives - they react as anyone would.

So just because celebrities are expected to be "themselves" to gain fans in a social media world, it's crucial to remember that even when they show their "true" personality, you really don't know anything about them at all.

- Washington Post

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