California high school senior Caitlyn Cannon was just being herself when she submitted a yearbook quote about how the wage gap impacts lesbians. A friend took a pic of the brilliant quote and posted it to Twitter, where it quickly went viral and was retweeted over 6,000 times within two days.
Cannon told the Huffington Post that she picked the quote (a rewrite of something she’d seen on Tumblr) because she was tired of seeing the same old book and movie references in yearbooks.
“I wanted to call attention to a problem that women face,” Cannon said. “I’ve never really been ashamed to say that I am gay, so the LGBT aspect was just who I am.”
No one on Twitter seemed to even notice Cannon’s reference to her sexual orientation, which is refreshing considering how often LGBT teens are bullied online. But many of the responses to the viral tweet did take offense at the Oak Hills High School grad’s reference to the fact that women are paid less than men for the same jobs.
Cannon’s humorous acknowledgement of the wage gap brought out the truthers. Apparently, none of these critics are familiar with the United States Department of Labor, which declares an Equal Pay Day every April to educate the public about gender inequities in workplace compensation. According to the department, U.S. women currently make 78 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same jobs.
These people also seemed unaware of President Obama’s Equal Pay Task Force or the passage of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, both major White House initiatives dedicated to closing the existing 22-cent gap in wages. According to a 2013 White House report released on the 50th anniversary of the federal Equal Pay Act (designed to fix the problem way back in 1963), the pay gap has barely closed in half a century—and much of the narrowing is actually due to an overall drop in earnings across genders.
Given the amount of government agencies, nonprofits, and social scientists constantly monitoring the fluctuations of the wage gap over the past 50 years, it’s pretty safe to say it’s a thing. And despite reality’s dogged effort to make itself known, wage gap deniers continue to demand “proof” of an established fact cited in one teen girl’s high school yearbook quote—and to insist that women actually prefer to be paid less than men.
Cannon has completely ignored the wage gap truthers, though, instead focusing on the myriad interview requests she’s gotten from news outlets and the over 50,000 notes linked to her name on Tumblr.
Cannon, who says in her Twitter bio that she’s “really gay,” “feminist,” and “headed to NYC,” has a future that looks pretty bright. And ideally, whatever she decides to do with it, she’ll make equal pay for equal work and marry the rich, successful girl of her dreams.