WOMEN
02/26/2016 04:40 pm ET Updated Feb 27, 2016

Jennifer Lawrence Calls Out The Most Damaging Myth About Feminism

Reminder: "post-feminist" is not a thing.
Mike Windle/Getty Images for Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Jennifer Lawrence offered a penetrating and personal take on the state of feminism during a dinner event focused on women's equality Thursday night, drawing laughs and applause.

And she did it while wearing a glittering semi-sheer top and wondering about her nipples.

"One of the most important things for this movement is to get out of this mindset that we're in a post-feminist era," said the actor. "I don't know who came up with that term, but it's the most damaging term that we have because it's just not true."

Jennifer Lawrence looks at co-host Marc Benioff during The Dinner for Equality in Beverly Hills on Thursday ni
Mike Windle/Getty Images for Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group
Jennifer Lawrence looks at co-host Marc Benioff during The Dinner for Equality in Beverly Hills on Thursday night.

Lawrence, who's up for a Best Actress Oscar on Sunday for her role in "Joy," became a champion of the pay equity movement last year after she wrote about being paid less than her male costars on the 2013 film "American Hustle."

Things appear to have turned around since then. Lawrence is the highest-earning actor, male or female, among those up for Oscars this year, according to Forbes' most recent ranking of actors' incomes. She took in $52 million over the 12 months ending June 2015, earning more than all of the other Oscar-nominated actresses combined. None of them made more than $6 million during the same period, according to Forbes.

Lawrence's essay on unequal pay, which ran in Lena Dunham's email newsletter last year, was frequently mentioned at Thursday night's dinner. The event, dubbed The Dinner for Equality, was co-hosted at a private residence in Beverly Hills, California, by actress Patricia Arquette and Marc Benioff, chief executive of the software company Salesforce. Attendees were also shown a trailer for a new documentary titled "Equal Means Equal" about the push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

Arquette lit a fire under the equal pay movement at last year's Oscars, when she used her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress to stump on the issue. "It's our time to have wage equality once and for all," she said that night to raucous applause, particularly from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez.

Patricia Arquette had some pointed words to say about equality at last year's Oscars.
John Shearer/Invision/AP
Patricia Arquette had some pointed words to say about equality at last year's Oscars.

Benioff has become an outspoken proponent for women in business. Last year his San Francisco company spent $3 million handing out raises to even out pay differences between its male and female employees.

The CEO encouraged everyone to fight for equality -- in gender rights, gay rights and income. America needs to make the same kind of advancements on these issues as we're making in technology, he said at Thursday's dinner. "People willing to fight for equality need to be encouraged."

The dinner was attended by a mix of celebrities, including Stevie Wonder, Lily Tomlin, Reese Witherspoon and Marisa Tomei; chief executives like Tesla founder Elon Musk and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich; and equal rights activists who have been fighting for women for decades.

Lawrence's essay and Arquette's rallying cry were hot topics last year. After those women spoke out, "our cool factor went up," said Noreen Farrell, executive director of the nonprofit Equal Rights Advocates, at the dinner.

California state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson told the crowd that she was able to push through an equal pay law in her state this year on the momentum of Arquette's Oscar buzz. "It was a match that lit a simmering issue," she said.

She also called Lawrence "my hero" for drawing younger women's attention to equal pay issues. After the actor's essay came out, "suddenly, I got props from my daughter," Jackson said, drawing laughs from the audience.

California state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and co-host Patricia Arquette pose at The Dinner for Equality.
Mike Windle/Getty Images for Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group
California state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and co-host Patricia Arquette pose at The Dinner for Equality.

For her part, Arquette spoke movingly about the need for equal rights for women and greater protection for the victims of domestic abuse, among other issues. Thirty-three million women and children would be lifted out of poverty if we closed the gender pay gap, she said.

"This is a national emergency," Arquette said.

Lawrence struck a more personal note.

"This issue kind of landed in my lap and I'm learning more as I go. It's weird being a public figure talking about all this stuff because you put a target on your back," she said.

"It's strange, a lot of people were afraid to talk about [equal pay] for so many years because it made you sound unlikable …”

Lawrence trailed off, looked around the room with her trademark goofy grin. "I had a point and then I lost track. I started wondering if my nipples were out."

"They're not," she added.

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