Don’t pit women of color against each other

Michelle+Tam

Michelle Tam

By Jamie Linton, Columnist

We live in an unequal society in terms of rights for men and women. 

In certain cultures, this inequality presents itself in varying degrees; however, if you can’t see that women are treated as the lesser sex in most instances, data will prove your argument otherwise.

For instance, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research says, “Female full-time workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent.”

This, paired with a whole host of factors, such as a significantly higher sexual assault rate and having to live under an administration willing to strip away our reproductive rights, will lead most anyone to conclude that, on an institutional level, it’s much more difficult for women to keep up. 

These disadvantages are even greater when it comes to women of color.  On average, in comparison to white men, they make between $365,440 and $1,007,080 less in a lifetime. In at least 12 states, Latinas can expect to earn less than half of what white men would earn in a year.

With this being said, it’s outrageous that our society, in particular the media, is so obsessed with pitting women against each other.  Whether it’s on competitive reality shows or even in real life, women are constantly being told they have to act, do or be better than their peers. 

This is especially true for minority women, many of whom unfortunately feel they have to go above and beyond the norm because society expects less of them.  Unlike male public figures, women of color are put in situations in the media where they are unfairly compared to one another. 

Whether that be publicizing who has more Instagram followers, publishing articles on “who wore it better?” or even polling audiences as to who has the cutest baby, women can’t get a break.

Therefore, it came as no surprise to me that when Beyoncé posted her twin pregnancy on Instagram, the internet turned to Kim Kardashian to assume this public announcement was “throwing shade” after her recent tweet hinting she was trying for a third. 

Entire articles have been published tracking woman-on-woman celebrity feuds, and Beyoncé-Kim drama is by no means the first case of such a phenomenon.  Considering the current political climate, rights for women of color are becoming increasingly important to focus on. The media must be a tool for uniting and building them up, rather than dividing and tearing them down.     

Marginalized groups must constantly work harder for their rights than their white male counterparts. 

We should celebrate the accomplishments of women, especially women of color, in order to promote equality rather than ruin the progress that many have already worked so hard to achieve.   

Jamie is a freshman in Media.
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