Here’s What You Should Take Away From Patricia Arquette’s Oscar Speech (Apart From This Epic Meryl Streep Moment)

by Holly Trantham

The Academy Awards pulled out a surprise move this year wherein everyone relinquished their winnings in the name of art, because they realized that art is subjective and awards are stupid.


There were a few good moments, though. We’re mostly thinking of Patricia Arquette, who brought the house down when she turned her acceptance speech—for her Best Supporting Actress in the film Boyhood—into a final call for wage equality (and throwing a shout out to her awesome organization Equal rights for women is definitely something we can get behind.

Like any actor dipping a toe into politics, though, Arquette’s words were not without issue: She stated, “We fought for others’ equal rights,” which kind of makes it sound like we’ve solved discrimination against everyone except for women. People of color, the impoverished, LGBTQ members, and anyone paying attention to all forms of inequality—whom she addressed in her backstage Q&A—would beg to differ. This is problematic because it insinuates that women’s rights aren’t concerned with race or queerness, and that queer people and people of color are not women. Feminism encompasses all of these groups; it helps no one to erase other social justice movements for the sake of campaigning for one. Her ignorance sparked the hashtag #whitefeminism on Twitter, and we totally understand why.

But Arquette is right about a couple things: the Constitution was not intended for women, and we are still fighting for equality. It’s great that she’s trying to put wage inequality—something that should have totally been solved by now—back on the map. We shouldn’t have to rely on celebrities to bring awareness to these issues, but that’s a truth we have to live with.

And if nothing else, her speech did give us this moment: 

Image c/o John Shearer/AP, Vulture

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