There's a seat reserved for Madonna next to Patricia Arquette.
Madge may be the high priestess of pop and an arbiter of pop culture, but the songstress proved no expert in intersectional feminism in an interview with Out Magazine about her new album, Rebel Heart.
In the story published on Tuesday, Madge opined on the state of women's rights and other social movements. "Gay rights are way more advanced than women's rights. People are a lot more open-minded to the gay community than they are to women, period," she told Christopher Glazek. "It's moved along for the gay community, for the African-American community, but women are still just trading on their ass. To me, the last great frontier is women," she added.
The last great frontier could be women -- our rights over our bodies, safety and income are under assault around the world and across the United States. Except that LGBTQ people, people of color and women aren't three disparate groups.
Madonna's comments are practically lock-step with Arquette's backstage Oscars call-to-action, where she asked "gay people, and all the people of color that we've all fought for to fight for us now." Arquette's speech was a paradigm of the failings of mainstream feminism boiled down into a single sentence: White woman feminist takes credit for entire movement, erases other identities and entitles herself to the support of the LGBTQ community and people of color.
So, here's a quick lesson for Madonna, Patricia and others struggling to understand how these identities interact with each other:
1. Gay people are women, too. We often call ourselves "lesbians" or "bisexuals" or just "LGBTQ."
2. Women are also people of color. Sometimes referred to as WOC for short.
3. Now, let me really blow your mind: There are LGBTQ WOC.
Madonna has long been an ardent supporter of the queer community, at times, a cultural appropriator. Her work has made sex-positivity and feminism accessible to a mainstream audience. She is a trailblazer. But, in the wake of events in Ferguson and Staten Island that have brought national attention to the systematic policing and government sanctioned violence against people of color, bills in state legislatures that are seeking to legalize LGBTQ discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs and the climbing number of murdered transgender women in 2015, comparing how things have "moved along" for one identity over another is willfully ignorant. For those of us who count membership to multiple groups, these challenges to our freedom and equality are amplified and complicated by our intersectional identities.
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