Last night was the Oscars. Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood (read my earlier blog post about how amazing Boyhood is). When Arquette went up to take her award, she criticized the wage gap and said that women need to be paid the same as men. A lot of people have repeated this message over the years, but because the wage gap still exists, I guess we still need to be saying it. I actually really appreciate that she used the platform of the Oscars to bring up what is a tired, but still very important, issue.
Here was her exact quote, though:
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Instead of focusing on the main point of her statement, which, again, is that the wage gap needs to be eliminated, most media outlets (conservative and liberal) have chosen to reject her request to end the wage gap, and instead have been trying to tout a message that she’s stupid. Patricia Arquette is not stupid, she is a hero.
I was really disappointed that Slate, which I sometimes actually like reading, wrote this awful article that rejects Arquette’s much-needed message in favor of being a judgmental jerk about it for no reason. A lot of other liberal publications have echoed Slate’s ugly and harmful sentiment. I mean, it came as no surprise to me when I heard that Fox News immediately was like, “Nah, no one ever mistreats women!” But when Slate is demeaning someone who, instead of just accepting the award and saying thank-yous, actually uses the platform to present an important message, I get real angry.
No one should be criticizing Patricia Arquette. Instead, we should focus on the part where she brought up that there is a wage gap, and that’s terrible so it needs to go.
I feel like the news is deliberately trying to slow the progress of equality in this nation by using Arquette’s somewhat-weak rhetoric to undermine what she was trying to say.
It is being said that we shouldn’t listen to, or believe in, what Arquette has to say because of the way she spoke. Arquette kind of made it sound like the wage gap is only a problem for white women, and that people other races and sexual orientations do not have equal-rights struggles of their own. But you’d have to be an idiot to think she meant it that way.
Here’s what she meant: there is a wage gap. Wage gaps shouldn’t exist, they are terrible and unacceptable. Everyone deserves equal pay.
I’m so disappointed that many people are disregarding what she had to say, to instead only criticize her. I feel like everyone is taking a “holier-than-thou” attitude towards her. That’s funny, Slate, I didn’t see you just win Best Supporting Actress at the biggest film-awards night of the year, for one of the greatest films ever made that has already impacted cinematic history.
As is often the case, I’m ranting, and I apologize if I’ve jumbled around what I’m trying to say. Here’s my main point: when people speak about the inequality that exists today, we should listen. It doesn’t matter if they sounded like a “ninth-grade debate club debut” (as the disrespectful writer at Slate described it). It doesn’t matter what someone looks like, sounds like, what their interests are, what their race or sex is. What matters is that if someone points out how corrupt society is, we listen, and then work together to eliminate that corruption.
Patricia Arquette is a hero, and I’m grateful that she used her acceptance speech as a platform to speak about equality.