Don’t let Matt McGorry’s onscreen alter egos fool you. Sure, he may battle with some internal conflicts about respecting women as a prison guard on “Orange Is the New Black.” And his womanizing, bro-ed out antics on “How to Get Away with Murder” are as eye roll-worthy as they are hilarious. But in real life, McGorry is an outspoken feminist who’s doing his part to encourage equality.
In March, McGorry shared an important message with his Facebook fans in which he addressed the sentiment that feminism is a hot topic, but is also easily and widely misunderstood. “I’m embarrassed to admit that I only recently discovered the ACTUAL definition of ‘feminism,’” he admitted, before proclaiming, “I believe in gender equality. Being a feminist is for both women AND men. I AM A FEMINIST.”
On Wednesday (April 15) the 29-year-old actor continued to embrace his feminist stance by penning an impassioned essay about National Equal Pay Day, which symbolizes how far into the year women have to work to earn the same as a man earned the previous year. That’s based on the statistic that the average woman in the U.S. earns 78 cents to every dollar earned by a man.
In an accompanying video, McGorry admits he spent two hours writing the caption, which is totally understandable given that it inches close to 900 words and is really more like a mini declaration. Though he admits he’s a “newb to the fight for gender equality,” it’s clear he’s been studying up — and getting riled up.
McGorry explains that he felt “compelled” to write the essay because it’s a topic he feels so strongly about. “When I think and read about these issues and see your comments of support, it fires me up so hard I just want to kick myself in the nuts,” he wrote. “But that would help no one.”
The essay covers a lot of important ground, from maternity and paternity leaves to the unfairness of women being discouraged to devote themselves to their careers. He also addresses the striking inequalities in men and women’s salaries, echoing Patricia Arquette’s Oscars acceptance speech in February, where she asserted that “it’s our time to have wage quality once and for all.”
And in a move that would surely make Nicki Minaj proud, McGorry also laments the double standard that ambitious women are deemed “bossy” whereas men are applauded for their drive. “This starts very young and certainly doesn’t help [girls’] chances of wanting to pursue leadership positions or be a strong force in the classroom (and later, in the workforce),” he wrote.
McGorry caps off the impassioned essay with a call to action: “We need to create a society where girls and women are getting the same encouragement and support to build their careers as the boys and men are. From the start. That’s just my #78cents.
If that doesn’t deserve a round of applause, I don’t know what does.