Wrong, Michelangelo wrong.
Madonna knows what every woman knows if she is at all honest about the world and how women are treated. Things really haven’t changed for most women since the days when Simone de Beauvoir wrote Le Deuxième Sexe (The Second Sex) in 1949. Women are imprisoned in the role of lesser human beings by gender, gender, gender far more than they are by any physical of intellectual limitations.
Gay men are men first and foremost. With all the perks that go with having a dick and balls. Yes gay men do have a lesser status than straight men, but nonetheless they are men with male privilege.
Indeed much of the oppression experienced by trans-women is the same oppression experienced by all women. Including the violence experienced by those who work the streets or go in harms way at times of the night and in neighborhoods where the armored up cops ride two to a car and won’t get out of the car without back up.
Gender, gender, gender has been used since the start of the Second Wave Feminist Movement to undermine both feminism and any gains made by women.
It is time for women, all women including lesbians, bi-women, trans-women and women of color to focus their energies on putting women first and not only preventing further erosion of our rights but on the struggle to gain full equality.
Time to stand up for and fight for the rights of women. Until we have equality with men we need to focus on our own struggles because damned few men seem willing to fight for our equality.
It’s happened to many seasoned LGBT activists, to many progressives, to many in the media, and to other celebrities (like Patricia Arquette), so why shouldn’t it happen to Madonna?
The legendary performer and great supporter of LGBT rights told Out magazine:
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. 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.
And this is where, on LGBT rights, Madonna has succumbed to what I call “victory blindness” (which is title of the first chapter of my soon-to-be-released book). She and many others are intoxicated by the heady whirl of victory — which the media magnifies in an extraordinary way — and appear to believe, living within this seductive moment of advances for LGBT rights, that we’ve “arrived” and the rest of it is inevitable.
Madonna is absolutely right about women and the backlash to their equality. But it is precisely because of that backlash and what it teaches us that she is absolutely wrong about LGBT equality. Women’s equality stalled, experiencing a backlash that took feminists by surprise in the ’80s, and it’s a backlash that they are battling right up until this day. But only in hindsight can the backlash be seen.
In the moment, during the heyday of the ’70s and federal legislation and Supreme Court rulings upholding women’s autonomy, many women thought full equality was inevitable, exactly like many LGBT activists, progressives, some in the media — and Madonna — seem to think today about LGBT equality. Many feminists celebrated and talked of how they’d “advanced.” Many women stopped paying attention, became apathetic, thinking the fight was won, while the enemies of women’s equality were working fiercely to roll things back.