Justice

Rowan Blanchard Wrote a Powerful Essay About Feminism

August 24th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

Thirteen-year-old "Girl Meets World" star Rowan Blanchard blew the minds of many when she penned a powerful essay on white feminism over the weekend. The actress, who spoke at the U.N. Women’s annual conference about gender inequality, wrote the Tumblr/Instagram essay in response to a fan question on "how common feminism might exclude women of color and non cis/queer women." Blanchard replied by broaching the subject of the gender pay gap in America, adding that women of color tend to face an even larger pay gap than white females.

"[W]ith as many issues as feminists have succeeded in adopting, many of us seem to have not accepted the fact that police brutality and race issues are our issues too," she wrote. "'White feminism' forgets all about intersectional feminism. The way a black woman experiences sexism and inequality is different from the way a white woman experiences sexism and inequality. Likewise with trans-women and Hispanic women. While white women are making 78 cents to the dollar, Native American women are making 65 cents, black women are making 64 cents, and Hispanic women are making 54 cents."

This is consistent with a recent report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which found earlier this year that Hispanic women experience the biggest pay gap of all by making just a little more than half of what the average white male earns.

The young actress went on to say that trans women are especially at a disadvantage when people say they aren't real women. She also noted the tragedy of Sandra Bland, a Black female who died in jail after being pulled over for failing to signal her lane change.

"It is SO important to protect trans women and trans youth as they are incredibly at risk when it comes to sexual assault and hate crimes," she wrote. "People also seem to forget that black women are victims of police violence too- from Sandra Bland to India Clarke- a trans woman who was beaten to death in Florida just a month ago."

Blanchard also wrote about "Hunger Games" actress Amandla Stenberg, who called on the public to end the "angry black woman" narrative last month around the same time that she posted an Instagram image about Black females:

 

A photo posted by amandla (@amandlastenberg) on

"The fact that when Amandla Stenberg wrote this beautiful and truthful piece she was automatically labeled the 'angry black girl' says enough," Blanchard wrote. "We are so quick to applaud white women for commenting on race issues/discussions like #BlackLivesMatter, and #SayHerName, but when a black girl comments on it- she is told she is overreacting or being angry."

Many praised Blanchard's insightful perspective on feminism, including U.N. Women ambassador Emma Watson:

Another big name who applauded the essay was Blanchard's co-star Rider Strong, who famously portrayed Shawn Hunter in the 1990s hit "Boy Meets World" and reprised his role in "Girl Meets World":

This comes a week after Strong spoke at a Scenarios USA panel in Los Angeles about his character having a Black girlfriend named Angela, portrayed by Trina McGee, in "Boy Meets World," a seemingly progressive decision for a TV series in the 1990s.

"The idea was that my character should have an ethnic girlfriend," he said at the event. "I don't want to give the writers all that much credit, I don't think they planned it all that well. Trina was a really good actress. They ended up hiring a Black woman writer [to help write this part]. She became an integral part of the show and that forced the writers to be like, 'OK, let's make this the world.' It had the impact culturally better than they ever intended."