The Feministing Five: Margaret Cho

photo by Mary Taylor via margaretcho.com
photo by Mary Taylor via margaretcho.com
Originally posted on November 16, 2015 on Feministing.com

Margaret Cho, the standup comedian, actor, writer, activist, singer-songwriter, mensch, and wedding officiator, is also an unapologetic feminist. Cho is known for using her comedy as a weapon against racism, sexism, and homophobia. In her latest show, PsyCHO, which she is touring with now, Cho jokes about vibrators but also deals with things like police brutality and homelessness.

Another serious issue Cho uses her voice to address is rape. In November of 2014, Cho tweeted, “I am a rape victim and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I come forward in solidarity with all women who have suffered. #tellyourstory.” She spoke about her experience in more depth during an interview with Billboard Magazine in September of this year. And on November 13, Cho’s new song and video “(I Want to) Kill My Rapist,” debuted on perezhilton.com.

And now, without further ado, the Feministing Five with Margaret Cho!

Katie Halper: who is your favorite fictional heroine, and who are your heroines in real life?

Margaret Cho: My favorite fictional character is Mina Harker and all of her permutations in the vampire genre. My heroines in real life are from that era too, George Sand and Mary Shelley.

KH: What recent news story made you want to scream?

MC: Anything about Bill Cosby. He’s done such horrible things to women for over 40 years and he really was a pioneer in comedy and also the kind of pioneer that I would have liked to have been. He brought about so much change when it came to African Americans in comedy and television and so he was such a hero but the fact that he was a rapist for 40 years and got away with it and women didn’t feel like they could come forward or they were not believed, it’s an outrageous misuse of the power and comedy.  It’s a horrifying thing and the fact that the stories have been around for over 40 years and people didn’t believe them is really terrible.

What is amazing about it is that women are finally coming forward and are able to tell their stories and that will create change in the conversation around rape. As a survivor myself, I think it is incredibly healing to hear these women tell their truths. And there’s no statue of limitations on the truth. Even though he can’t be prosecuted in the matter he should be, at least we have some kind of justice. And we can take this as a lesson that you can put your rapist on blast. And that lets you get some of that rage out instead of internalizing it. I think that sexual abuse often recreates itself within the survivor as eating disorders, as depression, as suicide, as self mutilation and that when we can murder the rapist inside of us that thrives on our own suffering, that we can find that healing.

KH: What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge facing feminism today?

MC: The possible defunding of Planned Parenthood! We’re basically going back in time. Why are we trying to turn back time? We’re looking at this huge campaign to defund Planned Parenthood that’s based on lies, based on misogyny, based on the idea that somehow we are public space, that our bodies are part of America, that they can legislate our uterus. The fact is that Planned Parenthood is there for so many other reasons besides abortion. The most troubling thing is that they want to take away reproductive health for low-income women. And that is something that we cannot let happen. There are so many lies around Planned Parenthood. And they’re not particularly good ones because they can be fact checked so easily. All we are asking is that people check the source.

KH: Why do you identify as feminist and how is feminism present in your work? 

MC: I think I’ve always been a feminist. I don’t know when I actually started implementing the word but I’ve always felt it growing up, mostly through standup. I started standup very early, 14 or 15, and I knew that I had that point of view. I started identifying as a feminist in the 70s, I guess! I feel like a baby bra burner! Now feminism has gone through a lot different incarnations, even to the point where some women were not calling themselves feminist and didn’t want to be associated with feminism. But I think feminism has become much more aggressive and much more progressive, especially in comedy, with people like Amy Schumer, and Tig Notaro, and hopefully myself. I really like the way feminism is on display with people like Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling — there’s so much great stuff happening, so much great comedy.

Feminism isn’t just a white middle class movement. It is a white middle class movement. It’s also a movement for people of color. It’s also a movement for poor people. It’s a movement for people who need to empower themselves, no matter who they are. We need to understand that we still don’t make equal pay, no matter how much you work. Feminism is a lot of things. And the expression of feminism is different for everyone. The patriarchy likes to shame us and belittle us by criticizing feminism. Feminism is a way to heal from patriarchy, from abuse, from inequality. There’s so much more involved in feminism that goes beyond race and class and that goes beyond countries’ borders.

I’m a feminist because I have no other alternative.  I’m a feminist through and through.

All my work is feminist. My latest show, PsyCHO, is feminist. I’m saying what I need to say, and everything is on my terms. My song Fat Pussy is feminist. It’s about fat pride, enjoying my body as opposed to feeling bad about it.

KH: You’re going to a desert island, and you’re allowed to take one food, one drink, and one feminist. What do you pick?

MC: I want buttered kettle corn with vodka and Gloria Steinem.

Continue reading “The Feministing Five: Margaret Cho”

Ta-Nehisi Coates on reparations, racism, and sexism

Originally posted on Feministing, November 6, 2015

https://i2.wp.com/assets.feministing.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/ta-nehisi-coates-nina-subin_wide-7757d564e70b8fd9b1fbadde9c7b26e0e926ff76.jpg
Image via Willamette News

I was thrilled to speak with journalist and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates on my WBAI radio show last week. Coates’ latest book Between The World and Me was called “required reading” by Toni Morrison, was nominated for a National Book Award, and earned him a MacCarthur Genius Grant. In the summer of 2014,  Coates rekindled a national debate with his piece Atlantic cover article “The Case for Reparations.” Coates didn’t always believe that reparations were owed. When I asked him what changed his mind he responded:

I think I was a much more standard issue liberal in the sense that I thought that many of the problems in the African-American community could be fixed by class-based solutions. And then increasingly as I saw more research about segregation, as I saw more research about community poverty, it became clear that Black people themselves are a class in and of themselves, that one can’t sub in and out the Black middle class and the white middle class, that these are different groups of people, that racism itself is an injury, not just a different kind of classism, that it is an injury in and of itself, that Black people have been injured, that Black middle class people have been injured, that Black quote un quote rich people have been injured.

Coates compared the way class privilege doesn’t cancel out racism to the way class privilege doesn’t cancel out sexism: “In the way that sexism injures women… it doesn’t matter that some of these women are rich. Just being rich does not mean that you’re not injured, or that you can’t be injured by sexism. When I could recognize that as an interest in and of itself, well that changed things.”

You can listen to the whole episode on soundcloud or iTunes, where you can subscribe to, rate and review The Katie Halper Show.

RIP children’s writer and illustrator Vera B. Williams

Image via Meet the Illustrator/ author program
Originally posted October 19, 2015 on Feministing

Vera B. Williams, an award-winning illustrator and writer of 17 children’s books, who spent a month in a federal penitentiary for participating in a women’s peaceful blockade of the Pentagon, died last Friday. 

Born on January 28, 1927, in Hollywood, California, Williams moved to the Bronx as a child, studied fine arts at the High School of Music and Arts in Manhattan, and received her BFA from Black Mountain college in North Carolina. It was at this experimental arts college that Vera met her future husband Paul Williams, with whom she would have three children, and fellow artists with whom she would c0-found the Gate Hill Cooperative and the Collaberg School, in Stony Point, New York. Williams worked as a teacher and artist but it wasn’t until she was 46  and moved into a houseboat in Ontario, Canada that she started drawing and illustrating children’s books.

In 2004, Williams was the US nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest recognition for creators of children’s books. She won the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature in 2009 and a Caldecott Medal award in 1983 and 1991. She was also featured in the Library of Congress exhibit “Family, Friends, and Community: The Art of Vera B. Williams,” in 1995.

Vera was an activist in life and on the page. She was a member of the executive committee of the War Resisters League from 1984 to 1987, and served a month at a federal penitentiary in Alderson, West Virginia for participating in a women’s peaceful blockade of the Pentagon.

Her books are known for their cultural, racial, and socio-economic diversity. One of my personal favorite books as a child was A Chair for My Mother, a book about a young girl named Rosa, who lives with her mother and grandmother with whom she saves coins to buy a comfortable chair after their house is burnt in a fire. It’s also one of Missy Elliott’s favorite books.

She is survived by her three children Sarah, Merce (Laurie) and Jennifer, grandchildren Hudson, August, William, Rebecca, and Claire, and a sister, Naomi Rosenblum

RIP Vera B. Williams.

The New Black: a film on race, same-sex marriage, and intersectionality

Originally posted in September 2015 on Feministing.

Yoruba Richen‘s documentary about the African American community’s struggle for marriage equality is coming soon to a TV screen or laptop near you.

The New Black, a film by Yoruba Richen, explores Black organizing for (and against) the successful 2012 Maryland referendum on same-sex marriage.

The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, won awards at AFI Docs and Philly Q Fest and the Frameline LGBT Film Festival. The film had its theatrical premier at The Film Forum in New York City and its television premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens. And this month, the film is finally available on NetFlix.

I spoke to Yoruba about her film on my WBAI radio show [it starts at 32:56]

Katie: What inspired you to make the film?

Yoruba: I started conceiving of this film with the election of 2008… the first election that Barack Obama won and where Proposition Eight, which outlawed marriage equality [in California], won. And I happened to be in California at the time… And what was so crazy, what started happening was, not only was there this huge progressive victory but there was also this loss that was so devastating to the LGBT community. And pretty much immediately Black people started to be blamed for the passage of Proposition Eight. And I wanted to look at why this was happening, how it was that these two groups were being pitted against each other, essentially… But I wanted to look at how the African American community, specifically, was grappling with this in light of the election of President Obama, and the fight that we were seeing over the legacy of civil rights.

Katie: How did you feel, as an African-American lesbian, when you heard people pitting these two groups together as if they were mutually exclusive?

Yoruba: I got really frustrated and angry because Black LGBT voices were shut out of the debate. And as African-Americans we often are considered a monolith and the… complexity of what’s going on in our community is not featured or brought out by the media.  I felt like the media was really getting the story wrong — and not just the media but activists on both sides of the issue also were coming out with latent racism and latent homophobia. It just felt to me that this was a story whose time had come and because it was a story that was going to be unfolding over the next few years. It was a story that I could follow and see where it would end up, and again, I had no idea that we would end up where we have.

Katie: For someone like Pastor Derek McCoy [the President of the Maryland Family Alliance and Maryland Family Council] who opposes marriage equality, one of the reasons that marriage equality is so dangerous is because of the way the [assumed heterosexual] Black family was able to resist… slavery, which divided up families, separated people… And Bishop Yvette Flunder uses that same history to kind of say… ‘We [African Americans] have always had a sort of untraditional family structure. And because of that it almost lends itself to same-sex marriage.’

Yoruba:  A lot of the push back that you get in the Black community is that we already have such a fragile family system: teenage pregnancy, high rates of divorce, women not marrying, and this is another threat to the family. And what Bishop Flunder is saying is that, “because of the history and legacy of slavery and racism and segregation, we’ve always had to reconfigure out families in a different way. Depend on grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles, neighbors. Not that we don’t have sort of traditional families. There’s another part in her interview that  I didn’t use in the film where she says that ‘I feel like the Black community could learn a lot from the LGBT community in terms of family and structuring family.’

You can listen to the entire interview with Yoruba below. It starts at 32:56

Why Kerry Washington thinks you should know about financial abuse

Originally posted September 30, 2015 on Feministing

Kerry Washington is using her celebrity, her love for fashion, and her designing skills for a good cause: to empower women to escape from financial abuse, which is present in 98 percent of cases of domestic abuse. When I asked Kerry why the issue was so important, I saw she was just as sharp, articulate and passionate as the Olivia Pope character she portrays on Scandal. 

In 2014, the Allstate Foundation asked Washington to design a purple purse to call attention to financial abuse and raise money — $2.5 million — for foundations which fight against it. And this year, they did it again, unveiling Washington’s new purse at a purple carpet event at the Plaza in New York last week.

When I asked Washington why she chose to behind this campaign, she said,

I had never really heard of financial abuse before but then I learned it’s the number one reason why women stay in abusive relationships and why they go back even after they’ve left. They don’t feel like they can take care of themselves financially. And I thought this is a way I can do work on an issue I’ve been involved with for a long time, violence against women, and be part of a really tangible solution, giving them the tools to do it and doing it through fashion. It was so many things that I love coming together.

I’ve always seen domestic abuse as complex and as a social issue, a psychological issue, an emotional issue. But it’s so much a financial issue. And identifying the financial issue makes me feel really hopeful. Because I feel like all those other issues are very important but allowing a woman to have the tools to have the financial independence to leave an abusive partner let’s her really tackle all the other issues.

One out of four women report experiencing domestic violence in their lifetimes. The Purple Purse Program explains that financial abuse “prevents victims from acquiring, using or maintaining financial resources. Financial abuse is just as effective in controlling a victim as a lock and key. Victims of financial abuse live a controlled life where they have been purposely put into a position of dependence, making it hard for the victim to break free.” Financial abusers do things like control how money is spent; withhold money from their partner or grant it in the form of an “allowance;” forbid their partner from working; or steal their partner’s money, identity, property or credit. According to a survey commissioned by the Allstate Foundation in 2014, 98 percent of women in abusive relationships reported that financial abuse was one of the things that kept them with their partners.

Though financial abuse is almost always an integral part of domestic abuse, and affects all socioeconomic classes, most people are unfamiliar with this epidemic. Seventy-eight percent of survey participants, for instance, hadn’t heard much about financial abuse as an aspect of domestic violence. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents said  their family or friends wouldn’t know if they were in a financially abusive relationship and seventy percent can’t say they would know how to help them.

Check out the resources available at the Purple Purse Program, including a curriculm to help people identify if they’re in a financially abusive relationship. If you want to support the cause and can afford it, buy a purse or a charm. And read our Feministing Five interview with Washington from awhile back.

Melissa Gira Grant on Amnesty International’s vote to decriminalize sex work

image via Amnesty International
image via Amnesty International

Originally posted August 2015 on Feministing

The Human Rights NGO Amnesty International cast a historic vote to decriminalize sex work on Tuesday. I spoke to Melissa Gira Grant, author of the book Playing the Whore,  about what this really means and the connection between Black Lives Matter and sex work.

Tuesday, Amnesty International delegates gathered in Dublin, Ireland voted to endorse a policy of decriminalizing sex work.  But weeks earlier a leak of the policy sparked a backlash, including a petition critical of Amnesty, which was signed by female celebrities, as Vero wrote about previously.

Melissa Gira Grant is a journalist and writer who  covers politics, tech and sex work for outlets like  The Nation, The New York Times, Wired, The Atlantic, Glamour, The Guardian, In These Times, The Washington Post, Dissent, Slate, and Salon. She is also the author of Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work.  I interviewed her for my WBAI radio show on Wednesday. Here is part of our conversation.

Why is the vote so significant? What does it mean?

What they’re doing by deciding as an organization that they are going to bring this issue of sex workers’ rights under this larger umbrella of Human Rights work that they take on [is] not only sending sort of a signal to their members to take this issue on but I think they’re also sending this message to other Human Rights organizations and activists. [A message that] sex workers’ rights– including the decriminalization of sex work to protect sex workers from the harms they might experience because what they do is considered a crime or they themselves are considered outlaws or criminals–  are a mainstream human rights issue right now. And I think that is the most significant part of what they’ve done.

What was the leaked document? 

If you actually looked at what was leaked, and most news outlets didn’t, what you would find in that document was a brief on research that Amnesty did in four different countries where selling sex might not be illegal but a lot of the activities around it are criminal. They found that that creates dangerous situations for sex workers and environments where sex workers’ rights, when they are violated, they have very little recourse in the legal system.

There is one quote-unquote Feminist framing that sex workers are victims as opposed to criminals. Then there is this other Feminist framing which is that sex work is inherently empowering. There is this false dichotomy where sex work is the most degrading thing in the world or the most empowering thing in the world. And what’s so interesting and frustrating and puzzling to me is  does it matter? The point is, it seems to me, for anyone who cares about the quality of life, protecting the safety and health, recognizing the humanity of sex workers, [that] it doesn’t matter if you see it as a Feminist thing as a sexist thing. It’s not going anywhere. Do people actually think that they’re going be able to prohibit it out of existence?

I don’t think so. I would say that the issue of empowerment comes in at: are you empowered to take advantage of your rights? Are you empowered to get justice when you experience violence? Are you empowered to negotiate the conditions of your own work? And criminalization makes all these things really, really hard. So what you have happening for some folks on the opposition, what they’re primarily opposed to is sex work itself existing ever… And so I think that’s why we end up in this kind of circular thing of are you empowered and did you choose it or whatever. And you know, to be honest, when police arrest you they don’t ask you are you empowered or are you a victim. They’re just going to take you away.

It seems like people want to know what your position is on sex work as opposed to [evidence of the impact of criminalization on] sex workers.

Exactly and it becomes this performance, it becomes this… conversation about our feelings on sex work rather than having a real grounded conversation about what’s going on in people’s lives. What do they need. Let’s have pro and con conversations about policy. Let’s do that. But let’s not do that in this abstract way that has nothing to do with the lives of sex workers.

The thing that’s so frustrating about the empowerment conversation is it’s a double standard. We don’t apply this to anybody else in any other job. We don’t say to the fight for 15 folks, “do you really love McDonalds? I dunno! I’m not so sure.” Why is this somehow the exception where labor organizing is somehow impossible? Where people think it condones an industry? Would we say [that about] workers in other industries that are dangerous or that we don’t accept? Are we trying to protect people from the very dire situations that all workers face when their rights are not respected? Or are we trying to express some kind of opinion?

A lot of the Feminist project has been about defining a particular kind of valuable woman. She has a career, she loves her job, she has this perfect equitable relationship with her partner, she’s professional, she’s educated. And I think anybody who sort of falls outside that frame is seen as somebody to help, not a partner.

What is the evidence about how decriminalization improves the lives of sex workers?

HIV isn’t just about individual behaviors, its about the environment that you live in…. When sex work is criminalized or when police target sex workers, whether or not what they’re doing is considered criminal, one of the ways they look for a pretext to harass them is to turn out their purse and see if they have condoms. So this is a really classic case of creating an environment where because of how police workers are interacting with sex workers, because of how sex workers are profiled in public spaces, we are actually damaging their ability to care for themselves and their health. And we were doing this in New York until very recently. How much money does our Department of Health spend making condoms available to all New Yorkers? And yet we’re also paying the police to take them out of their hands.

How much harder is it to have recourse to protection when it is criminalized?

A few years ago I wrote about a man who had targeted several transgender women in Philadelphia, some of them sex workers, some of them trans women that he thought were sex workers. And he killed a trans woman — after other women had already known that he was targeting the community. After they had already gone to the police and asked for help and been denied help by the police.

When we’re talking about violence that sex workers face, we’re not just talking about violence that they face from customers but we’re talking about state violence and police violence. And whether you’re talking about sex workers in Jamaica Queens or whether you’re talking about sex workers in Bangalore, India, the rates of violence that they’re facing from police targeting them are much higher than the rates they’re facing from customers.

So that is something that isn’t even just about criminalization. That is about this very complex set of issues that have to do with how police officers use prostitution laws to profile Black women and trans women, which I think is moving only further to the top of the agenda especially when we look at how Black Lives Matter this summer has taken a turn towards talking about Black women and how Black women are criminalized. That’s where I hope this conversation goes in the United States. To bring it under this larger and very upsetting umbrella of police harassment and police profiling and police violence.

I actually have a lot more hope about addressing these issues under police violence and under Black Lives Matter movements than under feminist movements that historically have been really slow to jump on board.

Listen to the entire interview here. 

Finally! The Mad Max-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt mashup

Image via Youtube
Image via Youtube
Originally posted on Feministing

Wednesday, Alexandra presented the Feminist Mad Max Tumblr. Today, we bring you this Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt-Mad Max mash-up.

The mash-up creator Albert Lopez had the following to say in the his Youtube description of his UNBREAKABLE FURIOSA video: “All the haters who are pissed off that there’s a strong female lead in the new Mad Max film need to realize something… FEMALES ARE STRONG AS HELL!!!!!! Behold… the UNBREAKABLE FURIOSA!!!!”

Watch young filmmakers take on domestic violence, sexuality, and courage

image via Scenarios Facebook
image via Scenarios Facebook

 

Three engaging and exciting  movies by young filmmakers premiered at New York City’s legendary Angelika Theater Tuesday night. I was thrilled to be there and see the films on the big screen. Luckily, even if you couldn’t be there, you can still watch the films online.

Since its founding in 1999, Scenarios USA has worked to empower young people from traditionally underserved communities. Students submit their writing to a contest and the winners are paired up with established directors with whom they create short films.

This year’s winners, all of whom who in attendance, included New York City high schooler Lani Pringle. Her film Aleahdirected by Laurie Collyer, explored domestic violence, slut-shaming, abortion, and gang violence in a story of a young pregnant woman thrown out of her house. Pringle turned to her own biography and  family history for inspiration, choosing to shoot the film  in the very Brooklyn projects where her own father was killed before her first birthday: “The story was very influenced by what I knew of my mother’s life… I intended to write a very realistic, heartbreaking story that would keep people interested,” Pringle said in an interview with Scenarios USA. You can rent the film here (explicit) or here (edited for language).

House not Home, written by Skyler Edge, 16, from Cleveland, Ohio, and directed Joshua Butler, tells the story of Terran, a gender fluid teenager who faces bullying but is also part of a supportive community. During the Q and A session, the 16-year-old writer, who is trans and white,  explained that the casting call didn’t specify any racial or ethnic background. It was only after giving the lead role of Terran to Cyle Black, who is African-American, that Edge realized how much he had to learn about the experiences of people of color. This provoked an enthusiastic applause from the audience. Watch the film here. 

Veracity, which you can watch here, examined the shared struggles and solidarity between two African American lesbian teenagers. The film, written by Janaya Greene, a 17-year-old from the South Side of Chicago, and directed by Seith Mann, displayed a subtlety, realism and understatement rarely found in college and graduate student films, let alone in student films written by high-school students. Greene, now a student at Ohio State, was inspired to write the film after a debate over marriage equality in her high school English class senior year: She was baffled that it was even an open question.

The films were reason enough to attend the screening, but adding to the excitement were the “Scenarios Influencers,” invited by Scenarios USA’s Rebecca Carroll, which included Issa Rae, who hosted the screening. Other “influencers” included Luvvie Ajayi, Thomas Page McBee, Elizabeth Plank, Alexander Chee, Franchesca Ramsey, Trymaine Lee, Bevy Smith, and Aparna Nancherla, who graced us with a hilarious standup set. Michaela Angela Davis introduced the screening with powerful words: “To the young people: You are the movement, you are the inspiration and you are the revolution.”

Support the revolution and watch all three films.

Originally posted on Feministing

“Asking For It”: A one-woman comedy show that skewers rape culture

image via http://www.adriennetruscott.com
image via http://www.adriennetruscott.com

Did you hear the one about the dancer/performance-artist/comedian who did a funny one-woman show about rape? 

Though the majority of rape jokes told at comedy clubs are neither funny nor empowering, I’ve always thought that rape humor, in and of itself, is not inherently and automatically off limits. In comedy, as in all forms of art, the issue isn’t the content, but rather the perspective and framing.

image via youtube
image via youtube

Adrienne Truscott’s one-woman show, “Asking For It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy And Little Else!which I saw at Joe’s Pub, proves not only that rape jokes can be acceptable but that they can be powerful tools of protest and education.

Over the course of an hour, Truscott, a choreographer, circus acrobat, dancer, writer, and comedian, skewers rape culture, taking on Bill Cosby, Todd Akin, Daniel Tosh and more, while wearing a wig on her head, high heels on her feet, and a jean jacket/ rolled up dress/bra(s) above her waist and for almost the entire piece, absolutely nothing over the area between her waist and ankles.

Truscott describes her humor as twisted and dark, in an interview with Australia’s SBS2 The Feed (see the video below), but is careful to distinguish between humor which challenges rape culture and humor which perpetuates it: Continue reading ““Asking For It”: A one-woman comedy show that skewers rape culture”

On Equal Pay Day, a 1970s Batgirl could teach today’s GOP a lesson about equal pay

image via batman wikia
image via batman wikia
Originally posted on Feministing

I guess it’s utopian of me to think that today’s politicians and mainstream media would be as radical as a Batgirl from a 1970’s Department of Labor PSA. But a girl, bat or otherwise, can dream, can’t she? Either way, it’s Equal Pay Day! 

In the 1970s the radical, gender-norm-challenging-binary-questioning Batgirl character came out in support of equal pay. Today, decades later, the gender pay gap stands at 78 cents to the dollar and hasn’t narrowed in the last decade. Every April, Equal Pay Day marks how far into the year the average American woman must work to make what the average man made last year.

It’s sad that many of today’s politicians and so-called journalists aren’t quite as progressive as this character from over 40 years ago.

For instance, when I search Google News for “equal pay,” the first thing that comes up is an opinion piece by Diana Furchgott-Roth, a free-market fundamentalist who rails against feminism and the environment. Her book Regulating to Disaster: How Green Jobs Policies are Damaging America’s Economy is a page-turner, I’m sure. Her op-ed, published in Market Watch is called “Feminists overreach with Equal Pay,” and it argues that “in many ways, women already are ahead, but feminists won’t acknowledge that.”

Furchgott-Roth opens her opus by writing, “April 14 is feminists’ misconceived Equal Pay Day. That’s the day of the year, they say, when all women’s wages, allegedly only 78% of all men’s, ‘catch up’ to what men have earned the year before. The fairy tale is that women have to work those extra months to get their fair share.”

Just listen to all the terrible things we feminist extremists are agitating for:

Paycheck Fairness Act would allow women to sue for unlimited compensatory and punitive damages. It would encourage class actions by requiring workers who do not want to participate to opt out, rather than opt in, a radical change from conventional law and practice. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission would collect data on the race, sex and wages of workers to test for and prevent discrimination.

In other words, Furchgott-Roth argues that this law would…wait for…discourage discrimination. What could be less lady-like and more unAmerican?

She continues, “Feminists want Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced in this Congress on March 25 by Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro, both Democrats.” Like the best of journalists, Furchgott-Roth makes her point by using incredibly unflattering images of the two Congresswomen. Because doing your darndest to make so-called feminists look unattractive is a great way to compensate for your lack of logic or integrity.

Since we’re mentioning political parties, you may want to know that Furchgott-Roth served under George W. Bush as the chief of staff on his Council of Economic Advisers and as the chief Economist of the United States Department of Labor. Her position make sense, given that the Republicans in Congress have voted down the Paycheck Fairness Act four times since 2012!

Here is an updated Batgirl-based PSA from today’s Department of Labor, which is sadly as relevant today as it as back then. The text below the video reads, “40 years ago, Batgirl fought for equal pay for equal work, a fight that persists today. While the wage gap has closed slightly, women still earn 78% of what men earn, on average. And for women of color the gap is even wider. We can — and must — do more for #EqualPayNow.”

Here is the transcript for the original video:

Batgirl Teaches Batman a Lesson about Equal Pay

Announcer: A ticking bomb means trouble for Batman & Robin.

Robin: Holy Breaking and entering it’s Batgirl!

Batman: Quick Batgirl! Untie us before it’s too late.

Batgirl: It’s already too late. I’ve worked for you a long time and I’m paid less than Robin. Same job, same employer means equal pay for men and women.

Batman: No time for jokes Batgirl.

Batgirl: It’s no joke! It’s the Federal Equal Pay Law.

Robin: Holy Act of Congress!

Batgirl: If you’re not getting equal pay, contact the Wage & Hour Division, U.S. Department of Labor.