Patricia Arquette Under Fire Over Oscar Speech

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At this year’s Academy Awards broadcast, winners and presenters called our attention to more than one political issue, including racial equality and gay rights. (If you say you weren’t tearing up after Graham Moore’s speech you are LYING.) One of the most memorable moments, and one of the first, was Patricia Arquette’s call to action:

To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation we have fought for everybody’s equal rights. It is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.

As you can imagine, my reaction–and that of many others–was “YEAH! YOU GO GIRL!” I mean, anything that makes the great Meryl Streep react like this is truly amazing.

Yes. Everyone pretty much agreed that it was a fantastic acceptance speech.

However, after the show in the press room, Arquette expanded her speech, and with it ended up rubbing some people the wrong way.

So the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women. And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.

What quite a few people are pointing out is that “all the gay people” and “all the people of color” still don’t have equal rights either, yet Arquette called them out to fight for women.

After the backlash, Arquette came back with responses on Twitter to try and explain her speech.

Clearly what we have here is a case of a well-intentioned woman expressing herself the wrong way. Taken at face value, her speech in the Oscar press room truly does alienate women of the LGBT and racial minority communities. In my opinion, she meant to convey the fact that equal rights for all women will affect these communities as well. Equal pay is just one topic in the broader spectrum of equal rights, but you have to start somewhere.

So, should her original, Meryl-Streep-cheered-for-it speech be ignored because she didn’t explain herself well enough? Definitely not. If anything, her comments should incite more action in women–and men–of every race and orientation.

Morgan McMurray
Morgan McMurray is an editor and gender equality blogger based in Seattle, Washington. A 2013 graduate of Iowa State University, she has a Bachelor of Arts in English, Journalism, and International Studies. She spends her free time writing, reading, teaching dance classes, and binge-watching Netflix. Contact Morgan at staff@LawStreetMedia.com.



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