clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

You wish your yearbook quote was as cool as this feminist teen's

A high school yearbook quotation is the perfect opportunity for graduates to smash the patriarchy and combat homophobia in one fell swoop, which is what Caitlyn Cannon chose to do:

The 17-year-old self-proclaimed feminist said she tweaked a quote she found on Tumblr, and told The Huffington Post in an email, "I was tired of seeing the same old quotes from popular books and movies and authors, and I wanted to call attention to a problem that women face. I've never really been ashamed to say that I am gay, so the LGBT aspect was simply who I am."

She only just graduated from high school, but she already recognizes the challenges women face regarding equal pay

There are a variety of ways and metrics to measure equal pay, and the exact difference is disputed. However, the existence of a gender wage gap is not.

Based on recent data, the average year-round, full-time woman worker earned 78 cents for every dollar her male counterpart earned (not 75 cents, as Caitlyn states). When looking at weekly wages, however, the Labor Department measures that women make 82 percent of what men make. Based on the rate we're going, the US won't close the gender wage gap until 2058.

Unfortunately for Cannon and her female classmates, increased education doesn't fix the problem:

wage gap graph

LGBT rights are as much about the question of equality in America as the fight for equal pay

Although LGBT Americans still face widespread workplace discrimination, social acceptance of LGBT people in the US is at a record high, with 60 percent of Americans now supporting the legalization of same-sex marriages. That Cannon laced together two pressing social issues in such a short space — LGBT rights and equal pay — speaks to the changing values and attitudes of younger Americans as much as it does to Cannon's creativity.

Cannon says she needs feminism. Feminism could use more champions like Cannon, too.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.