Gabrielle Union wants to elevate the voices of all those women who don’t have as much privilege as big Hollywood stars.
The actress and author recently sat down with The New York Times to discuss her new book, We’re Going To Need More Wine, and how as a rape survivor, she’s been dealing with the current wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations.
Union, who discusses her rape in the book, said the #MeToo movement has been powerful, but she wishes more women of color were included in the conversation.
“I think the floodgates have opened for white women,” Union told the Times. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence whose pain has been taken seriously. Whose pain we have showed historically and continued to show. Whose pain is tolerable and whose pain is intolerable. And whose pain needs to be addressed now.”
She noted that if the women who first came forward against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein hadn’t been famous, the discussion might have been much different or nonexistent.
“If those people hadn’t been Hollywood royalty,” she said. “If they hadn’t been approachable. If they hadn’t been people who have had access to parts and roles and true inclusion in Hollywood, would we have believed?”
Like so many other social justice conversations, the burgeoning #MeToo movement ― and the larger discussion around sexual violence ― has focused on white people’s pain. Many people assumed that actress Alyssa Milano launched the #MeToo discussion because she had originally tweeted the hashtag, when, in fact, black youth organizer Tarana Burke started the “Me Too” campaign 10 years ago.
Actress Jane Fonda similarly said in October that while the Weinstein accusations sparked this watershed moment, it has only happened because most of his accusers are famous white women.
“It feels like something has shifted,” Fonda told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “It’s too bad that it’s probably because so many of the women that were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein are famous and white and everybody knows them. This has been going on a long time to black women and other women of color, and it doesn’t get out quite the same.”
Union told The New York Times that those long-ignored people must be brought into the conversation. And she posed the question: “When we have the microphone, how often do we pass it back to the people who are experiencing a different challenge, but who are equally worthy as having the microphone?”
Head over to The New York Times to read Union’s full interview.