Patricia Arquette used her Oscar acceptance speech for her performance in Boyhood Sunday night to call out wage inequality for women. During her moving speech I was totally with her (and so was Meryl Streep and J-Lo) until I heard her words offstage in the press room.
"It's time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is the older women get, the less money they make. The highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households. It's inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don't. One of those superior court justices said two years ago in a law speech at a university that we don't have equal rights for women in America and we don't because when they wrote Constitution, they didn't intend it for women. 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 at play that really do affect women. 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."
That last line made me cringe. As my feminist friend (who is African-American and bisexual) pointed out on Facebook that, again, a white person is praised for putting pressure on marginalized groups rather than challenging the white and rich to change society.
Patricia Arquette used her #Oscars win to tell gays & blacks they now "owe" white women assistance. This is gristle logic; I can't digest it— ?Blue-nita Applebum (@bluecentric) February 23, 2015
Patricia Arquette is gonna feel really silly when she realizes queer black women exist...and earn far less than that stat she shared.— Donovan X. Ramsey (@iDXR) February 23, 2015
Her stance is typical of a white, cisgender, and heterosexual woman who prescribes to a second wave version of feminism. Arquette certainly needs a crash course in intersectionality and realize inequality spreads across racial, social and economic divides and that fighting for justice is not reserved to a singular group or cause, but encompasses multiple identities.
While, yes, we all need to stand together to fight for women’s equality, we also need to be heavily reminded that women of color and gay women are disproportionately affected by the gender pay gap and LGBTIQ people are discriminated against in the workplace. We want fair and safe labor practices for all, and that means for ALL.