This post is a piece on the Oscars and feminism, as an Oscar winner, Patricia Arquette, used her speech to further the feminist cause. It was entertaining to watch the reactions of Meryl Streep and JLo as well. Overall, I think all of their hearts are in the right place, but the main issue I have is with Arquette’s post-speech ‘clarification’ backstage. I will address this, as well as the speech itself and criticisms Arquette has gotten about this topic.
Let me begin by praising celebrities that use their social influence to fight for the underprivileged and those without a voice. I think it is noble to use a higher platform to advocate for social justice, and I think it shows a connection back to the rest of normal humanity. As a feminist, it’s lovely to know that I have support and allies from high places, such as Arquette, Beyonce, and other famous feminist actors. It means a lot when I hear equal rights being spoken for at an awards ceremony as prestigious as the Oscars, and I enjoy the publicity that topics such as the wage gap get with speeches and statements such as this.
That being said, the speech was commendable- the post- speech clarification, not so much. This is the video that I’m referring to of the backstage elaboration on her speech, if you’d like to take a look.
Firstly, backstage Arquette calls on “all the men that love women, all the gay people and all the people of color” that feminism has fought for over the years to step up for our rights. This draws a line between any gays, or black people, and implies that one cannot be gay and a woman at the same time. Or black and a woman. Which is just baloney. I’m not black, but I am bisexual and I am a woman. I fight for both causes indiscriminately (as well as the battle against racism). It is unfair to categorize each one individually, and make it sound as if there is no cross over, because there definitely is. Asking a woman of color to fight for woman’s rights is redundant, as is asking a lesbian.
Secondly, the way she stated that these groups should ‘fight for us now’ makes it sound as if their battles are over. Those who are ethnically not white still struggle to obtain the same opportunities in society. Those who wish to marry their love, despite being the same gender, still face discrimination and difficulties. Both of these groups still fight the good fight, every day, for their right to be equal. We should all support each other in the quest for equality, but it is a mistake to imply that gays and minorities’ fights are over with. Not to mention, the whole ‘fight for us now’ coming from an ethnically white woman’s mouth sounds like she is demanding that ethnic minorities and the LGBT fight for white woman’s rights. Women are oppressed, but black or gay women even more so than normal women. They’re trying to further their own causes as well as feminism, just as a byproduct of their efforts. No need to remind them. It is anyone who directly or indirectly oppresses women that needs to be reminded that they have a mother, a sister, a female friend who needs equal pay. They have an aunt, a grandma, or a girlfriend who wants to be taken seriously in the workplace, and desires to be uplifted just like her male colleagues are. Women are everywhere. We have souls, and we feel emotions. We deserve to be politically, socially and economically equal to men.
With that being said, I appreciate the shoutout done by Arquette, even if maybe the followup wasn’t phrased as it should be. It’s a good beginning, but next time- plan just a little bit better.
Questions? Comments? Put em below 🙂