This week, while Pope Francis was speaking out in support of women and closing the pay gap, Stacey Dash, best known for her role as Cher’s best friend, Dionne, in the movie Clueless, expressed her opinion that the issue is completely overblown on The Meredith Vieira Show. Why does Dash take issue with women fighting for equal pay for equal work?
“Well, because I feel like it’s an excuse,” Dash told Vieira. “It’s the same thing with race, you know? It’s an excuse. Stop making excuses. If there are opportunities, seize them. And be prepared for them. And be the best, if that’s what it takes. If you have to be extraordinary, then be extraordinary.”
Looking almost stunned at the pure ignorance of that statement, Vieira pushed back with some cold, hard facts: Women make 78 cents for every dollar earned by men holding the same full-time, year-round job. What’s more, Vieira pointed out that at the rate we’re going, her 22-year-old daughter will have to wait until she’s 65 to see pay equality.
Dash brushed it off, saying, “Well I don’t know if that’s really true.”
Like, seriously Dionne? You’re going to argue with census data? You’re not going to acknowledge that even though more women than men are going to college, the wage gap starts immediately, with millennial women making 82 cents for every dollar paid to their male peers in their first year out of college? You haven’t done enough homework to find out that for women of color, the news is even worse?
Well here’s the deal: While you, as you told Meredith, aren’t going to “put your fate into anything other than your own actions” and “will not be a victim,” I’m going to one-up you. I’m going to continue to do all of that (like the rest of the smart, successful females in the work force that I know) and get as “pissed off” as Vieira told you she is about the fact that I don’t make the same bucks as my guy friends.
You know what else I’m going to do?
I’m going to keep “seizing opportunities” and aiming to “be the best”—despite the fact that my best is valued at 12 percent less than my male counterparts’ best.
I’m going to “be extraordinary,” even though my paycheck may not reflect it.
I’m going to count my lucky stars that I’m not a Latina, making just 54 percent of a white man’s earnings.
And I’m going to write to my senators, explaining my outrage that the Paycheck Fairness Act still hasn’t passed.
Do I hope the women in my life, and the women reading this post do the same? Yep. Do I expect you to stop spewing uninformed information about the very real discrimination women face when it comes to how much we earn?
Ugh, as if.