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Intersectional feminism and the #MeToo movement served as the backdrop for the SheKnows Media #BlogHer Creators Summit, as speakers Amy Schumer, Gabrielle Union and Uzo Aduba encouraged attendees to amplify every woman’s voice.
Schumer, who made a surprise appearance at the two-day conference this week in New York, asked the predominantly female audience to pledge to “promote the ever-loving shit” out of other female creators.
“Things are bad for women, but there’s no one that it’s worse for than women of color,” Schumer said Wednesday. “Once you see that and your eyes are open to that, if you don’t do everything in your power to lift them up, then you’re a piece of shit.”
In response to the men who label the #MeToo movement a “witch hunt,” the comedian recalled the original coinage of the term.
“You mean when you burned us at the stake for no reason? You don’t have to support us, but come up with a better fucking example,” Schumer said onstage at the conference, which was held at Pier 17.
Other speakers encouraged their peers to support other women and called upon Hollywood to do the same.
In a conversation on Wednesday, Union expressed her excitement for the upcoming Asian rom-com Crazy Rich Asians. The actress said that when she and her husband, NBA player Dwayne Wade, were asked to hold a screening of the film, she wanted to de-center herself and focus on the film’s accurate representation of Asian-Americans.
“The rest of us should be amplifying that message,” the actress said. “To center us would be a problem.”
Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba echoed that sentiment Thursday in her discussion with Time’s Up CMO Rachel Terrace. In order to make real cultural change, the Emmy-winning actress said women in Hollywood and around the world need to act as their “sister’s keeper” for females of all backgrounds.
“We are all in everyone’s fight. Everyone is suffering,” Aduba said. “Just because your issue is on the front burner does not mean there are no [other] issues. Until we understand what that means, there will not be real change.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who has made a number of appearances to support female candidates running for office this fall, suggested that paid family leave could economically elevate women.
“If we had a national paid leave plan that worked for all jobs and all states, you would allow more people, particularly women, to reach their full economic potential, to earn more money for their families and to continue to move up the ladder,” said Gillibrand, who has introduced bills in support of this initiative.
During the conference’s closing panel, actress Jessica Alba said that her natural beauty business, The Honest Company, offers 16 weeks of paid leave for women and eight weeks of paid leave for men.
“Every time I went back to work after having one of my children, I cried,” said Alba, a mother of three. “I know what a fragile time it is for parents.”
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