Jennifer Lopez Says She’s Underestimated, Which Is Shocking Until You Think About The Sexism Behind It

You know her as Jenny from the Block, J. Lo, and the woman who brought Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla to life in Selena. Oh, yeah, she was also a judge on American Idol, executive produces and stars in NBC's Shades of Blue, has her own residency in Las Vegas, and continues to put out hit single after hit single. So, you may find it surprising that Jennifer Lopez says she still isn't valued for her intelligence. I know. It's beyond shocking that someone like the Golden Globe nominated actor is overlooked at all both for being smart and as one of the most successful women in the entertainment industry.

In an interview for the May issue of W magazine, the 46-year-old superstar reflected on her current relationship with the public, especially now that her fans see her as more of an "accessible, genuine, and likable" person, as W's Lynn Hirschberg puts it.

Lopez said,

It has been easier. People may now think I’m "nice," but they still act surprised when I’m smart. It’s a man’s world, and, truly, people in a business setting do not value a woman as much as a man. I feel like I’m constantly having to prove myself. If a man does one thing well, people immediately say he’s a genius. Women have to do something remarkable over and over and over. And, even then, they get questions about their love life. People underestimate me. They always have, and maybe that’s for the best. It’s fun to prove them wrong.
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And she has proved them wrong on more than one occasion, hasn't she? Her response is very telling in the sense that there are some individuals who label a smart, successful, and outspoken woman as unfriendly. However, and like Lopez notes, men who hold those qualities are seen as leaders and as being valuable. Those unfortunate stigmas feed into the gender bias that could very well influence young women to not become leaders and refrain from finding their voice in any aspect of their lives.

Whether a woman is famous or not, it's clear that many women deal with sexism, especially in the workplace and when it comes to equal pay. Sadly, Lopez's words show that even though she is beyond fierce and has achieved so much that women continue to be held to different standards than men. I think J. Lo would agree with me that those double standards need to go, stat.

Thankfully, Lopez hasn't let that get her down or affect her many accomplishments. Here's hoping that everyone will soon recognize (if they haven't already) just how intelligent and valuable she is. If you need a little convincing (and, really, you shouldn't), here are a few of her other achievements that you may not know about, which show why Lopez should never be underestimated.

She Was The First Woman To Receive Billboard's Icon Award

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At the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, Lopez received the Icon Award — and was the first woman to do so. The lifetime achievement award honors an artist's contribution to music and there's no doubt Lopez has given back to the industry in amazing ways. During her acceptance speech, she gave an important message to "all the little ones sitting in the living room floor watching the TV right now, just like [she] used to do when [she] was back in the Bronx." She told them, "Have faith. Dream big. Think big, and know that anything is possible. You never know where you might end up."

Her Big Break Came As A "Fly Girl"

If you didn't know, Lopez first came on the scene as a "Fly Girl" in the Wayans brothers' hit Fox comedy show In Living Color. You can see her in action in the above video, which is totally worth a watch, especially since Lopez reflects on how she scored the gig.

She Had A Movie & Album Top The Charts In The Same Week

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It's no secret that Lopez is recognized as both an actor and a singer. According to a January People report, in 2001, both The Wedding Planner and her J. Lo album topped the charts in the same week. Those successes led to Lopez becoming "the first entertainer ever to have the No. 1 album and movie in the same week," per People.

She Has An Influential & Inspiring Charity

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Did you know that Lopez and her sister, Lynda, are the faces behind the Lopez Family Foundation, which launched in 2009. The foundation increases the availability of access to both healthcare and education for women and children. The above video shows Lopez talking about giving back at Variety's Power of Women luncheon in 2014. As she says in the video, "We wanted to provide every mother and child with the healthcare and education that we all deserve."

Those are only a few of J. Lo's accomplishments, so the next time you think about underestimating her, don't.