Issa Rae reminds us that there’s a lot of work to do to achieve equality for women, and especially for women of color.
When Issa grew up in the 1990s, she was influenced by a diverse spectrum of roles and characters people of color filled on television and TV. She explains, “Then, when the millennium hit and we disappeared, I felt kind of… hopeless, in a way.”
Using the Internet, Rae grew a strong audience base and now takes a stand to question how women of color are represented in media and film. In her chapter “Leading Lady,” Rae asks “How hard is it to create a three-dimensional leading lady on television? I’m surrounded by them.” Media representation is just one example of inequity among all women, and particularly women of color.
Gender inequality is felt by all women, but there is a spectrum, and women of every culture experience dramatically varying degrees of discrimination, violence and inequity. Some believe that the mainstream feminist movement privileges white women.[I'll go a step further. Some white feminists only care about making abortion a form of birth control sans consideration for anything else. Some white feminists complain about intersectionality as a distraction because they only thing they are trying to do is repair white womanhood so that the benefits associated with white supremacy are less fractured; They are only looking achieve equality for white women so that they are on par with white men, to the exclusion of all others -- though many may not realize this.
Black women, being unable to live their gender separate from their race and class and religion, know that all the oppressions must be worked on at the same time.]
To put [the inequality of women] into perspective, consider the fact that in the United States, women are paid an average of 70% of the salary a man would earn for doing the same job. For women of color, it’s 64% or less, demonstrating how wage inequality varies culturally in America. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you speak out against men, it is a call for all humans to be created equally, and this includes women of all cultures.
You may have heard the excerpt of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech in Beyoncé’s hit song, and you can watch the full speech below, which was a Ted Talk by Adichie, “We Should All Be Feminists.”