If you watch Orange Is The New Black, you know who Matt McGorry is–he plays Bennett, a corrections officer who has fallen in love with and impregnated Daya, an inmate at the prison he works at. On How to Get Away With Murder, he is Ascher. While McGorry is pretty days these days being fully submerged into Hollywood and primetime television series, his downtime is spent on quite the contrary.
McGorry is an intersectional feminist. He studies and observes the various categories–biological, social, and cultural–that women use toward classifying their own identities. Within these categories are subcategories such as race, class, sexual orientation and various other potentially divisive and oppressive concepts. With intersectionality, feminist studies and observances can span across multiple issues within the subcategories. They interrelate. Feminism is all inclusive. That, to me, is the absolute true meaning.
Some people have the antiquated conception that feminism is only practiced by women. However, this is simply not true. Matt McGorry is the perfect example, as of late. He was recently interviewed by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd of Jezebel, in which he further made visible his radical views on current newsworthy topics like Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out. He often tweets and posts his protesting efforts to his social media with the hashtag #feministbeastmode.
“I think this often comes from ignorance rather than bigotry, but saying ‘OMG how is Caitlyn Jenner prettier than me?’ isn’t a compliment. It’s still insulting, like saying ‘OMG how is that Asian a better driver than me?’ The problem is you’re comparing a trans person to a certain standard of beauty that inherently excludes trans people. And that is perpetuating a negative stigma, even if it was intended as a compliment. So even if your INTENTION is pure behind the compliment, please consider the actual impact of it…”
Well said, Matt. While I am so excited for his passion in making a firm stance in feminist rights publicly, I can understand why McGorry chooses to still tread lightly and steadily. There is a difference between being uneducated on a certain issue and having a prejudice toward it, he reaffirms. “I think what I’ve been trying to do is have a conversation and sort of, making it okay for people to fuck up. I think we need to all be careful about when someone is talking out of ignorance, versus bigotry.”
Hopefully the takeaway here by fans, followers, and lurkers alike, is that these conversations continue to not only exist within our communities (personal and online) but also thrive and grow. While we are all ignorant to one thing or another in this lifetime, there is always room to devour more knowledge, that is, if it means anything to us. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be issues that solely affect who we identify as.
This is where Matt McGorry’s public display of fearlessness comes into play. We are all cut from the same cloth, at the end of the day. We share one pretty major thing in common with one another–a soul. Underneath our clothing, underneath our different skin complexions and shades and beneath our sexual preferences, bank account statements, or anything else, lies the same spiritual structure. He gets it. More people will, eventually. It’s a conversation, a statement, a movement that needs to keep happening. Matt acknowledges that while his original perception of certain womanist issues will likely differ from others, it will be redefined and refined with every bit of passion and open mindedness that he chooses to thrust at it.
“The people we have to convince who are gonna be allies, like me–the people I feel like I’m trying to go after are the good people who just maybe have blind spots about gender inequality like I did…I’m trying to incorporate an easy way in for those people who don’t know a lot about it. Who actually have good intentions.”
Follow Matt on Twitter and keep being proud to be a conscious woman who is making waves. @MattMcGorry