Out of the dark cracks in Hollywood and across the leading tech, entertainment, and media industries, social movements and trendy hashtags have emerged in the name of cultural advancement.
Just this year, we’ve seen #MeToo, Time’s Up, Build Bridges Not Walls, and #RefugeesWelcome. While these movements aim to serve different demographics, they have one thing in common; they’re intended to lift up the perceived downtrodden – whether they’re women, immigrants, or sexual assault survivors – and bring them into the light of equality.
But #EqualPayDay is different. Rather than following a colorblind or gender neutral narrative, #EqualPayDay seeks to emphasize the differences between two disparate groups: men and women.
It’s odd, really, that a movement typically associated with left-leaning activism is so bent on the difference between a man and a woman. Haven’t we been told for years now that there’s no real difference between the two? That, when it comes to sex, biology is just a social construct with no real meaning? I thought men could be women and vice versa. Bathrooms, makeup, and identifying pronouns were supposed to be as fluid as an ice cream cone on an August day.
But on Equal Pay Day, which seeks to highlight the gender wage gap, men and women couldn’t be more different. Feminists – who normally advocate for self-sufficiency and power – suddenly become helpless waifs beholden to greedy and authoritative men. They hit on age-old talking points, claiming women make 80 cents on the dollar. Just one Google search for “gender pay gap” returns hundreds of thousands of results. Sociologists, female entrepreneurs, and male apologists wax poetic on the injustice, and demand that some nebulous man in charge fixes the difference immediately.
We know that, as it stands currently, female millennials are actually starting to out-earn their male counterparts. But why is the movement only focusing on the male-female divide? What happened to race? Have publications touting the virtues of #EqualPayDay, like Cosmo and Vulture, suddenly forgotten about the black and Asian men who make significantly less than their white counterparts?
Why stop at women? What will come of national awareness days like today once that gender wage gap is theoretically “closed?” It’s truly reckless to simply advocate for one interest group. We can’t have an entire hashtag suddenly dry up. Somebody needs to fix this immediately. Maybe that same guy in charge of unfairly paying all the women.
Follow Jena on Twitter.