Patricia Arquette’s Backstage Comments Overshadow Oscar Speech

Amelia McDonell-Parry | February 23, 2015 - 10:40 am

Patricia Arquette gave one of the best speeches at last night’s Oscars, calling for equal pay and equal rights for women and earning the enraptured applause of Meryl Streep. But backstage in the press room, Arquette continued her call to action, saying some things that were decidedly tone deaf.

“It’s time for women in America and all the men, all the gay people, the people of color, to fight for us now. We need federal laws that are comprehensive.”

Yikes. Arquette seems to need a lesson in intersectionality and the ways in which women’s rights like pay inequality also massively impact people of color and the LGBTQ community, and that these are not in fact separate fights. In fact, women of color disproportionally shoulder the wage gap. Also, the implication — made in both her comments backstage and her speech — that gay people and POC have had, as Roxane Gay put it, “their time in the struggle spotlight,” and that it’s time for those marginalized groups to focus on the rights of women (i.e. straight white women, I guess?) is just straight up squicky. I still appreciate so much of her speech, but I sure hope someone puts a copy of Feminism Is For Everybody by bell hooks in her non-Oscar-holding hand ASAP. [Fusion]