Panel - The State of Feminism in America

June 16, 2016 - Anika Noni Rose 06/16/2016 Views: 1,113

Anika Noni Rose, Franchesca Ramsey and Holly Walker weigh in on President Obama's speech at the United States of Women Summit and discuss what it means to be a feminist. (7:15)

Welcome back!I'm here with my panel.

First up, Nightly Show contributor Franchesca Ramsey.

(cheering and applause)

And Nightly Show ContributorHolly Walker.

(cheering and applause)

And she's a Tony Award-winningactress and singer,

and she's garnering all kindsof praise for her role as Kizzy

in the amazing Roots miniserieson the History Channel,

Anika Noni Rose.

(cheering and applause)

And for everyone at home,join our conversation right now

on Twitter, @NightlyShow,using the hashtag #Tonightly.

Now, during, uh,Tuesday's first ever

United State of Women Summit,organized by the White House,

Obama gave an impassionedspeech. Take a look.

I may be a little grayerthan I was eight years ago,

but this is what a feministlooks like.

(cheering and applause)


So, is he right?

Is that what a feministlooks like?

-Yeah. It's not justfor women anymore. -Yeah. -Yes!

-Sure. -Absolutely. Andhe's done the work, you know?

He has done a lot of thingsto speak up about wage equality,

uh, whether it's beenhealth care,

which is also a feminist issue,because women need

-to have access to birth control-Mm-hmm.

and be ableto get, uh, safe abortions.

So he's not just sayinghe's a feminist.

He's actually doing the work.

-And we need men to befeminists. -Yeah. Mm-hmm.

We need mento push this message,

because, you know, you don'tlisten as strongly to the other.

You listen much more tothe message coming from somebody

-who is of your area,whatever that means. -Mm-hmm.

So when it can come from...

someone with extra thingshappening between their legs,

-then somehow it's stronger.-Yes. Yes. -Right. Hmm.

Do... Now, is, uh,does femini...

What does feminism meanto you today?

Do you think it's changedfrom how it originally...

the original meaning of it?

Or is it basically the same

but peopleare just understanding it now?

I think there are a lotof things that are the same

and a lot of things thathave changed, that, you know...

-I think, for me, I thinkof wage equality. -Mm-hmm.

I think of, certainly,having the ability

to be in charge of what'shappening with my own body

and my own health and not havinga group of men sitting

-behind some wall decidingfor me. -Sure.

Um, but here we are in 2016discussing abortion

like we didn't havethis conversation

and make a... make a pointabout it in 1972.

Unfortunately, we are stillhaving the same conversations.

Yeah.People like to talk in America.

People like to talk.

You know, and people thinkit's all about, you know, oh--

some men--women not wearing bras

and running... And clearlyI chose not to today.

-(laughter) -You know,I have a really good designer,

so I'm all right. But, you know,I don't think a lot of women,

since the adventof the-the push-up bra,

-are too worried about that,you know? -Uh-huh.

Does feminism mean somethingdifferent for women of color?

-Absolutely. Yeah. -Absolutely.-Yeah. Definitely. -Yeah.

I mean, historically,the feminist movement

has been very white.

I mean, even if you lookat the suffragette movement,

Ida B. Wells was very upsetwhen she was told

that she needed to be atthe back of the march, you know,

and was like, "There's no wayI'm gonna stay back there."

-So...-Ida B. in the front.


-Yeah, so... -I ain't tryin'to be in the back.

-Right, right. Mm-hmm.-So I think today,

a lot more women of colorare comfortable

calling themselves feminists,but, personally,

I am not botheredif someone isn't okay

-with calling themselvesa feminist... -WILMORE: Uh-huh.

As longas you're doing the work,

I think thatthat's what matters the most.


And quite frankly,unfortunately, for me,

being a feministand dealing with feminism...

-WILMORE: in the backseat

to dealing with racism,so there's always racism...

WILMORE: Feminism'sin the backseat, you say.

-Well, sometimes, yeah,sometimes. -Yeah.

And, unfortunately,they also combine.

-RAMSEY: And intersect. Yeah.-They intersect. -Right.

So, it definitely is differentfor women of color,

-'cause we're also dealingwith different things. -Mm-hmm.

But it's also differentfor women who have disabilities.

-Right. -It's also differentfor transgender women.

It's differentfor a lot of different women.

-Depending on what yourbackground is I think... -Yeah.

it morphs daily, and I think

there's also a different feelingabout...

If black womenare feeling very strong

and set in a pointabout feminism,

we are, all of a sudden, angry.


In a very different way, whichmeans something very different.

-And I think... -WILMORE:Well, feminism has always had

that kind of, uh...

The peoplewho were anti-feminism--

although I don't know how...

-That doesn't even make senseto me, that phrase. -I...

But that was always the...

RAMSEY: Check my mentionson Twitter. They out there.

Well, that was alwaysthe criticism--

why is she so angry?You know, why are

-feminists so angry? -ROSE: Whyare you so angry? But there's

a very big difference when...

WILMORE: There was a good reasonto be angry, by the way. Right.

There's a good reasonto be angry,

and there'sa very big difference.

-When black women become angryabout something... -Mm-hmm.

...all of a sudden, it's a ragethat people are scared of.

-You know what I mean?-WILMORE: Right, right.

Like,it's the fire you can't put out.

As opposed to women realizing,

-"Listen, did you not comefrom a vagina?" -(laughter)

Do you not have a reasonto support feminism?

-WILMORE: Right. -'Cause I thinkwe all swooped in the same way.

RAMSEY:And even sometimes

if you're not angry, they applythe angry label on you.


Even when you're saying itin the nicest way possible.

-ROSE: Right? -WALKER: You can'tbe passionate, right.

-WILMORE: Calm down, Franchesca!-ROSE: Calm down!

-I'm gonna flip your sable furright now! -(Walker growls)

-Right?-Right. You just happened

to have a really good eyebrowwax that day....

-I'm not angry.-Yeah.

My eyebrows are on point,you know?

-It's different.-(laughter)

Right. But even Hillary Clintongets that.

When she's just speaking loud,she's shouting and angry. Right.

WALKER:Right, if you're passionate,

-that equals angry to...-WILMORE: Mm-hmm.

for a lot of women,unfortunately.

-WILMORE: And but... -ROSE: Andwe aren't allowed to hold anger.

-Right. -We aren't allowedto have anger and utilize anger

and be righteous in our angerin the same way that men are.

We have the right to be madabout something. You know, if...

-(cheers and applause)-Yes. -Yes. -WILMORE: Yes.

If men get angry,they are strong,

they are headstrong,they are leaders,

they are to the point.

If we get angry,we're instant bitches

-who need to be puton time-out. -WILMORE: Right.

-Right. A time-out.-Like, it makes no sense.

We're emotional.

-We have PMS, we have...-"You must be on your period."

-Yeah, exactly.-Yeah. -ROSE: Right.

If Hillary Clinton does becomeour next president,

what do you think that'll dofor feminism, if anything?

Because a lot of peopleare saying,

"Oh, if Obama becomes president,racism's gone."

-You know?-Yeah. Not, not.

You know,and Shirley Chisholm said

that women were emotionally,sexually

and psychologically stereotyped

from the moment the doctor says,"It's a girl."

WILMOREYeah. That is a fact.

When will that change?

Well, especially in China.

I mean, that's, like, one of theworst places to be born a girl.

You're instantly stigmatized,I think, for that.

Well, there was a pointwhere you were

not only stigmatized,but you were thrown away.

-WILMORE: Yes, exactly. Yeah.-Literally.

So, you know, we've gone...

we've gotten better than that,

and I thinkthey've changed that.

We've gotten better.

-Um...-WALKER: But there's a lot...

RAMSEY: There's still a lotof work to do.

ROSE: There's a lot of work tobe done. -WALKER: Yeah. -Yes.

Um... is there a place for...

This is a questionI always wondered.

Do you think....?Is there a place

for things like chivalryin feminism,

you know, with men? Yeah.

-WALKER: Yes! -ROSE: Yes!RAMSEY: Absolutely.

-As long as you're not usingyour hand... -Right. lift me bodilyfrom the bus... -Oh. I'm getting outof my subway seat... -Damn it!

-...I appreciate that little bitof help. -Yeah.

You know what I mean?

And when we get equal pay,I will pay for dinner equally.

-WILMORE: Right.-You know what I'm saying?

-Exactly.-I will pay for dinner equally.

-I like that. That's a veryclear thing. -(cheers, applause)

-That is.-WILMORE: All right.

We'll be right back.That is exactly right.

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