Patricia Arquette Undermined Her Own "Most Feminist Moment" of the Oscars

patricia arquette

I usually eagerly anticipate the Oscars. As a cinephile, I love seeing films, actors, and filmmakers celebrated. But this year, I dreaded them.

The Oscars may be the most visible celebration of filmmaking in the U.S. and possibly the world. This is why they matter. Whether we agree or not, they signify what films are collectively deemed important in our society.

That’s why it’s so frustrating that the Oscars often overlook female filmmakers—only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director and no women of color have ever been nominated—and the awards show seriously lacks racial diversity, especially this year. Several of last night’s Oscar winners took their opportunity in the spotlight to make powerful statements about race and gender.

Labeled as “the most feminist moment” of the night by many writers, Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette advocated for equal pay and women’s rights during her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress: “To every woman who give birth to a taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s rights. It’s our time to have wage equality, once and for all. And equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Yes, yes, a thousand times YES. Patricia Arquette’s speech was a declaration condemning the gender pay gap and the need for wage equality. Hearing the words “wage equality” and “women’s rights” uttered on a national broadcast delights me. Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez excitedly cheering in the audience was the icing on the cake.

meryl streep and jennifer lopez applauding

But then Arquette undermined her important words. In a backstage interview after her acceptance speech, she elaborated that after the age of 34, female actors earn far less than their male colleagues. But unfortunately, here’s where Arquette’s speech unravels. She said: “It’s time for all the women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve fought for, to fight for us now.”

Sigh. Why couldn’t she have just stopped? My initial excitement faded to disappointment, irritation, and anger.

Her statement implies that LGBT people and people of color have achieved equality. They haven’t. LGBT justice and racial justice still have far to go. It blatantly ignores coalition building that has happened across movements. Arquette excludes women of color and queer women with her statement. Women have multiple, intersecting identities. To ignore that fact erases many women’s existence. When feminists talk about women’s rights, we should not be claiming, either overtly or covertly, “women” equals straight, white, cis women. We white women need to do a much better job to make feminism an intersectional, inclusive movement.

 Andrea Grimes wrote this good advice on RH Reality Check today in response:

“White women: let’s not go all ‘Je Suis Patricia Arquette’ on this shit. Let’s listen to people who know better than we do about what it’s like to be a non-white or non-straight or a non-white non-straight person who is asked, from one of the world’s most prominent media platforms, to ‘fight’ for someone who already has so, so much more.”

Patricia Arquette’s statements have been the top news of the Oscars today, but I think it’s important to recognize several other moments from last night. 

Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne won Best Actress and Best Actor for playing people with disabilities. Each actor mentioned ALS and Alzheimer’s in their acceptance speeches. Moore said: “I’m thrilled we were able to shine a light on this disease… Movies make us feel seen and not alone.” However, The Theory of Everything has been accused of being guilty of “inspiration porn” and using a person with a disability as “Oscar bait.” Julianne Moore was absolutely outstanding in Still Alice. A chameleon, she melted into the complex, nuanced role. It was also great to see a woman win for a film revolving around a female protagonist. Considering the ageism of Hollywood and the Oscars, I appreciated seeing a woman over the age of 50 win. We need more roles for women in general but particularly women of color, queer women, older women, and women with disabilities.

john legend and common

Meanwhile, Selma was snubbed in the Best Director and Best Picture categories. But a tribute to the film and to racial justice was depicted in Common and John Legend’s powerful performance of “Glory.”  In their passionate acceptance speech for Best Song, Common spoke about the historic bridge in Selma where the civil rights march took place.

“This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation. But now it’s a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, social status… This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion, and elevated by love for all human beings.” 

John Legend highlighted institutional racism, incarceration of Black men and the prison industrial complex:

 “Nina Simone said, ‘It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live… Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more Black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850.”

As Legend says, Selma remains extremely relevant, a reflection of the racism and white supremacy happening currently with the harrowing murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and the activism in Ferguson and with #BlackLivesMatter. It was crucial to hear Legend discuss the pernicious racism of our criminal justice system. Sadly, while the audience met Patricia Arquette’s speech with resounding applause, the lack of applause for Legend and Common’s statements was extremely disconcerting.

But perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised at the audience’s reaction, especially as many in Hollywood look the other way when it comes to racism and abuse of women. I cannot fully express my disgust at seeing Sean Penn, an abuser of women, as a presenter onstage. He made a racist joke when announcing Birdman, directed by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, as the Best Picture winner: “Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?” How lovely to see racism and xenophobia at the end of the Oscars.

Thankfully, Iñárritu took the opportunity in his acceptance speech to counter Penn’s racism advocating for immigrant justice. He dedicated his Oscar for Best Picture to his “fellow Mexicans” and Mexican immigrants. He is the second Latino to win Best Director and the first Latino to win as producer for Best Picture. Iñárritu spoke of the need to build a new government in Mexico and for the need for rights for immigrants, "I just pray they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.” 

What this disjointed awards show accentuated to me is the need for an intersectional lens in everything we do: our daily lives, activism, making media and consuming media. 

Related Reading: The Oscars Needs to Solve Its Diversity Problems—Or Become Irrelevant.

Megan Kearns is Bitch Flicks’ Social Media Director and a Staff Writer, a freelance writer, and a feminist vegan bloggerShe tweets at @OpinionessWorldThis is an edited version of an article cross-posted on feminist film site Bitch Flicks. 

 

Megan Kearns
by Megan Kearns
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Megan Kearns is Bitch Flicks’ Social Media Director and a Staff Writer, a film critic, freelance writer, and a feminist vegan blogger. She tweets at @OpinionessWorld.

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48 Comments Have Been Posted

I can't help but wonder if

I can't help but wonder if Arquette was just the wrong face to make those statements. Marginalized groups do need to support each other, but we also need to remember that white women straddle privilege and marginalization. For a white women, especially a wealthy white woman, calling on other marginalized groups for support lacks sensitivity. At the same time, the wage-gap is, right now, a "women's rights issue," and I think it is fair to call on men from ALL marginalized groups to support women on this, but it is pretty irksome when it's a wealthy, successful white woman making that call.

I think part of the point is

I think part of the point is that there <i>were</I> no women of color given the opportunity to make such a statement.

I totally agree with you, but

I totally agree with you, but I do still applaud her for saying something. I mean women of all creeds have been advocating for women's rights, but few have gotten the chance to be on national television when the world is watching to make such a statement. When its already someone who is a known person, people are willing to listen. all in all, I'm just glad that someone said something. The sad truth is, a poor woman of color wouldn't have gotten this chance, but perhaps through Arquette we can further the fight to support our least supported women.

We all straddle privilege and marginalization

Unless we're a wealthy, white, cisgendered, straight, able bodied man living in the "first world"

Giver her a break.

I do understand your point about Patricia Arquette stopping while she was ahead. However... if one 'person' is reached and regarding the inequality of pay for woman it was worth it. I applaud her and thank her for speaking out on our behalf. I also think she clumsily tried to articulate that we all should be supporting and speaking out for each other in the fight for inequality.

Most importantly in this case, lets not knock down women who are genuinely trying to use their voice for the good of all women. We should be bigger than that.

--
Kelly Thompson

your statement

"Her statement implies that LGBT people and people of color have achieved equality. They haven’t. LGBT justice and racial justice still have far to go."

Your statement implies that LGBT people <i>want<i> equality. Like marriage equality. Many do not.

LGBT equality is definitely

LGBT equality is definitely not synonymous with marriage equality. Although important, LGBT rights encompass far more than merely that, such as healthcare, poverty, homelessness, sexual assault, bi phobia/erasure, trans justice. And I'm also a queer woman.

Yes please do not imply the

Yes please do not imply the author automatically meant marriage equality. I would be hard pressed to find a queer person that did not want broad equality that creates safe environments and protections as well as general acceptance. Further more, most anti-marriage equality arguments I've heard explain that it's because there are much larger issues effecting queer communities such as homelessness and medical care and marriage often becomes too much of the focus of what defines "equality", not necessarily that these people don't want marriage equality ever. And I am also a queer person.

Hear, hear!

Her post-ceremony comments may have been a bit clumsy, but I don't think it diminishes what she said on stage. I doubt she believes these other minorities have reached equality, but most likely was only citing that Americans have rallied to these causes (regardless of how far we've gotten) and now it's time to do the same for women (of all color)! Privileged or not, I'm glad to see her speak out on the matter.

I totally agree.. Let's use

I totally agree.. Let's use this moment to discuss what needs to be improved with feminism rather than tearing apart this woman's every word. She had the time to plan out and think about her Oscar speech, to really choose her words wisely and effectively. I can't blame her for what honestly seems like poor word choice. I honestly don't think her intention was to imply that other minorities have achieved equality or that only white women deserve equality. She simply meant that just like we fight for racial and gay equality, other minorities should fight for gender equality. And I completely agree with that.

Beet

I'm a person of color and I thought it was great that she spoke out on this, my only worry is that her phrasing seemed to imply that "other minorities" haven't already been fighting for gender equality. I've been fighting for gender equality for over a decade. I mainly feel so powerless and helpless that I can't do more. But overall I agree that she should generally be supported for her speech.

The fight for inequality? God

The fight for inequality? God help us, but I want the opposite!

"the need for an

"the need for an intersectional lens in everything we do: our daily lives, activism, making media and consuming media"

Yes where can we find that please? An untinted lens.

yeah, I get why

yeah, I get why intersectionality is important, but I don't think anyone is truly able to be truly intersectional, you're always going to miss a perspective, so it's just setting people up to fail

Triple Blind

The writer is also limited by her own intersectionslity to the degree that she can not accurately interpret arquette's message nor sentiment. One must look beyond their insectionalism of race and advocacy for traditionally accepted as oppressed groups, beyond their dismissal of white middle class women as bogart feminists, beyond ther alligence to LGBT solidarity to women, just plain ole goddess of the universe, the most oppressed of any group in world history, the slowest gains literally of any group ever, the least atonomy, the most likely to be robbed, raped, marginalized, and underpaid, Women. Do you realize drug convictions get longer sentences that rape and 9 of 10 rapes are against women? When blacks are free, men can vote. Not women. When gays want equality they get it. Not women. When do women even get to make choices about their bodies? What she meant was that we as women put everyone's struggle first while we continue to suffer and are only secure as long as men allow it. Understand what intersectionslity really is and how we suffer from your own blindness because history guarantees that groups will come up but women barely do.

Sufferagettes made the

Sufferagettes made the argument that black men shouldn't get to vote before white women. White feminism has a long history of excluding people of color and only fighting for their own personal rights. True feminism needs to be inclusive, not dismissive of the achievements of others. And white feminists need to be honest about the privilege they do have, not pouty when other minorities make gains. We need to fight for those more oppressed than us for our own equality.

yes

Agreed

Lack of APplause

I just want to point out that a lack of applause during Common and Legend's speech may have to do with the awkwardness of applauding/not applauding their statements, which I think is clear in the awkward smattering of applause they did get. It's "equivelant" to liking a depressing post on facebook. The like doesn't mean you like the statement, but it's that your supporting them. Similarly, I think an applause would have been to show support of the negative outcomes in society....versus supporting what the actors were saying. I may also just want to give the audience the benefit of the doubt...

I agree

That's how I interpreted it too. To applaud a statement highlighting how many black people are incarcerated may be interpreted as approval of that practice. The applause given at the end of their speech showed that the audience approved the message.

Oh C'mon!

So she stands up in front of millions of people and advocates for equal pay and equal rights for women and the problem is she suggested in a backstage interview that other marginalized groups might help the cause? Seriously? Women are over half the population of the world and are subjected to inequality, discrimination, abuse and violence just for being women while still managing to be the only mammal who can bring human life into the world and we should wait for our turn??!! Because she's a white, hetero woman? You've got to be kidding me. The entire crux of the problem is that women should shut up and wait til everybody else gets theirs. Enough! We have fought, we have marched, we have signed petitions, we have advocated and battled. The real shame here is that in 2015 we are still talking about half the world being treated equitably. Have you considered the implications passing the Equal Rights Amendment lo those many years ago may have had for all marginalized groups? The time has come to recognize the essential equality of all human beings - hey - let's begin with half of them first...

Yes! Thanks you! At least if

Yes! Thanks you! At least if half the world's population is finally getting equal pay we can really start severely fighting for badly marginalised groups as well - however, when we're still battling this after three generations how are we supposed to help other at the same time?

What? Is this serious or is

What? Is this serious or is this satire?

Cause if this comment is satirical it is great, a wonderful mocking of me first, you worse off people when I feel like I'm ready, if ever.

If it is serious, holy wow, so equal pay is more important than anything that "badly marginalised" groups face? Not to mention, other fucked up shit that happens to women because they are women, you know like lack of reproductive control from access to abortion to forced sterilization, or say, rape, domestic violence, shall I go on?

But again, if satire, thumbs up. I just want some clarification...

i'm so sorry that someone's

i'm so sorry that someone's offhand backstage remark after winning a huge award failed to embody the complex intersectionality of all of women's identities. Is it possible that the quote included here, a quote that is barely longer than a single line, was meant merely to say that these various groups should be working together to promote equality?

Really, we don't know. But "feminists" like you seem to take more pleasure in tearing other women down, nitpicking every semantic implication, than enjoying a moment where important issues take a center stage. You would quicker be outraged, instantly reduced to "disappointment, irritation, and anger" than to think that her comments have done good even if she doesn't share your exact brand of feminism, or perhaps just doesn't express it in every comment.

Indeed, a reasonable response could have questioned the intent of her backstage remark. But instead you've attacked her. "She should have just stopped," but what you're implying is that she shouldn't have started at all.

yes! this is exactly what i

yes! this is exactly what i was thinking. and one of the reasons i have not renewed my bitch subscription. i am saddened by this lack of nuance in critique and, for me, it goes in the same category of politicians/media who take sound bites and ignore the intended message in order to further their point.

your scolding and holding to impossible standards makes it really hard to want to "do right" and stand up for things in this world. feels a little like "why bother, it will NEVER be enough" equal rights for all is frustrating enough. sheesh.

I second this statement and

I second this statement and as a long time Bitch supporter will not be renewing my membership. I can't get through some of the articles without thinking "this is what the author is choosing to focus on?" I want to be informed and challenged not just barked at.

Why does this include woman

Why does this include woman who have given birth only?? Do childless and childfree women fall into a different bracket??? Im fairly sure we arent excluded from rape, misogyny and discrimination.

Thank You

I really thought this was going to be the topic of this article. I want to cheer PA for standing up on stage and making a feminist statement, but that "give birth" comment made my head spin.

As for her off-stage comment: clumsy, ill-thought out. All in all, not a great success, but hey, she tried.

You're right

Thank you. I absolutely should have pointed that out in my article, especially since I am a childfree woman.

what I thought this was

what I thought this was referring too was the "mommy tax" or the fact that mothers make less money and are less likely to be hired than non-mothers

She should be supported, not chastised

Wow, it didn't take long to turn on her. It infuriates me that people are so quick to criticize those who are fighting the fight but who aren't doing it the exact way that the critic would. That sort of self-aggrandizing behavior prevents others from entering the fight. If you have take criticism from those who agree with you, while also getting criticism from those who don't - it becomes more exhausting and can feel useless. I'm not saying that intersectionality isn't important - but, in this case, it wasn't worth tearing down the first woman (in a field with so few) to speak to the issue in this way. It's time we support each other - most especially when we're fighting for the same damn cause.

And what about the 'gave

And what about the 'gave birth' thing at the front of her statement? She wasn't after inclusivity...

Intersectionality Everywhere!

Thank you, Bitch Magazine for your recent advertisement posting for a partial hire graphic designer who has a job description in clearly inclusive terms for everything imaginable but with DISABILITY de facto excluded as an exception.

You really have a non-accessible office and fail to specifically describe any willingness to accommodate? In fact, you go through clearly saying that it is not available for telecommuting. I guess that is because there is just no way that submission and design could happen over some sort of magical transportation system to deliver ideas with instantaneous outcomes to share and collaborate with each other in an Inclusive Sisterhood then.

Bitch, Please. Don't raise torches and pitchforks against Patricia Arquette for delivering a speech that was not as perfectly spoken as you'd have liked it to be in retrospect without first examining the absolutely disgusting exclusion of a class of employee from even applying because of disability. Before you start criticizing an Arquette for failing to speak and having some mistakes, recognize that Bitch is actively and by willful choice marginalizing the disabled in the very office where this page was designed first.

Equal Pay for Everyone! Yes! Except for Discount Writers and Organizations of Complicity.

I was already a bit hesitant

I was already a bit hesitant about the "...we have fought for everybody else’s rights. It’s our time to have wage equality..." part. I sort of read that as the same underlying meaning as that later statement, so I can't say I'm that surprised. :/

I think the issue with

I think the issue with Arquette's speech is that it shows a sense of entitlement and self-aggrandizement at the expense of communities of color and the LGBT community. You cannot make a statement like "we fought for you, now you owe us one" without coming off as confused. Again, her statement reads that there are three distinct groups: women, gays, and people of color. Each was doing its thing, but then women supported gays and people of color, but then were left hanging when it came time for their rights to be highlighted - and that's simply not true - white feminists have had a history of fighting (justly) for women's rights, but at either the expense or the dismissal of race issues or LGBT issues - and, btw, other progressive groups have done the same (no social movement is free from internalized racism/homophobia/sexism). Instead of saying "look you gays, you got yours, now it's time for us" which derailed her great message on stage, it might've been better if she said "women are treated badly, often because of their gender, but also because of their race, sexual orientation/gender expression, class status, and nat'l identity - and that all needs to be fixed."

Yes, you are right that we need to come together, but...

I think you are knee-jerkingly foisting your own interpretation onto Patricia' statement where you say that she implied that LGBT people and people of color have achieved equality. I don't read that into her statement at all. And she is not a practiced activist or politician, so she is not going to say the perfect thing every time. I truly believe that in her heart of hearts, she is for equality of LGBT, disabled, and people of color. Her statement was just worded awkwardly.

Sigh

Yeah, this comment totes negates any of the good Arquette might have done bringing up gender equality at an event that has historically marginalized women. I'm sure talking about a contentious, loaded issue like the wage gap in front of 36 million people wasn't totally terrifying, especially considering how well-received opinionated women have been by larger culture of late. She absolutely deserves to get castigated for a poorly-worded off-the-cuff statement, and it would have been more feminist to actually just say nothing at all. Y'all, she probably DOESN'T EVEN REALIZE that a person can be a woman, of color, and gay at the same time! Tsk.

/sarcasm

Look, I have no idea who this woman even is and am most definitely not crying any tears for rich, famous, kind-of-clueless white ladies. However, in all honesty, it's stuff like this that sometimes makes me hesitant to call myself a feminist after claiming the title my whole life. So much of "feminist" discourse right now seems to be holding up a microscope to every activity a woman does that could be somehow construed as a gaffe and then yelling at her for it. I find this nitpicky, weird, and frankly, kind of misogynist. Also, as much flak as I might catch for saying this, sometimes it seems like "intersectionality" is specifically used to shut down women -- this critique never seems to get leveled at men no matter what they do or say. It also often seems to come mostly from white people.

Next time you want to waggle your finger at another woman for failing to endorse your specific brand of feminism (as another commenter put it), maybe you should, I don't know, scold somebody who actually benefits from the patriarchy instead.

If you think that discussions

If you think that discussions of intersectionality happen mostly among white people, you need to read more political writing by people of color.

And rich white ladies DO benefit from the patriarchy. It's why they are often complicit in the power structure. (Think Anne Coulter, Hillary Clinton, Margaret fucking Thatcher) Not as much as the menz, but white supremacist capitalist patriarchy has created tiered systems of privilege and access, and rich white ladies are up there in terms of actual benefits.

I think she was referring to

I think she was referring to their not being a feminist movement in popular culture and that the gay rights and civil rights movements are present in popular culture. She didn't articulate that point very well, but I highly doubt she meant to alienate any group. Lets not attack her Bill O'Reilly style and just commend and perpetuate the point she was trying to make on such a large platform.

I completely disagree.

I completely disagree. Patricia was simply voicing what many liberal women think especially when it cones to men (white, black, gay) ...
We fought for all sorts of causes - but when it is simply a cause for women and their pro choice rights or equal pay - many of the groups we fought alongside with (whether or not the cause impacted us - many of those groups don't return the favor.

If you are going to moan about your first world problems - I'd start there rather than attack a fellow woman for speaking for ALL women's equality

Do the queer part of me and

Do the queer part of me and the Black part of me need to start picking up some slack for the female part of me? The second half of her comments don't make any sense and I wish we could all just own that. I appreciate the fact that Patricia Arquette got up in front of millions of people and called out the fact the women still do not benefit from equal pay with men. I don't understand the whole "giving birth" thing though. I have a child and that doesn't mean that I'm more deserving of equal pay than any other woman. Her comments on stage were strong, and good intentioned and needed and again, appreciated. But backstage comments reflect a certain level of ignorance and disregard for the fact that there are women who are also people of color and/or queer and that regardless this isn't a god damn contest between the people of color, queers and women. To me, this is just another episode of sexism, racism, homophobia and the like distracting and dividing us more while those who are making oppressive decisions just get to go about their business. Again I admire and appreciate her for getting up there and being bold and for speaking out for us. But her comments taken as a whole are confusing and contradictory. Having said all of this she's a person and tearing her down also divides us more. So let's take it all for what it is and LEARN from it.

???

You've interpreted her statement in the most negative way possible. Why is that? She was saying we should all help and fight for each other, jeez

Patricia Arquette Didn't Undermine Anyone

The only "underminers" are all those who appear to exist to ring false alarms.

If you can't forgive Arquette for not being as well versed as you because she's an actor and not an expert in the academic terminology of all things feminism, then you're a SNOB. A snob excludes, and that's not what she was doing in her post-Oscar comments. She was clear to remind us today that she was making a rather general and innocuous statement that says all progressive, marginalized groups should come together for their women kind. Because no matter your special interest niche, a woman gave birth to you.

If anyone thinks she was actually "erasing WoC off the Earth", you need to check your sanity because you sound like someone from angry right-wing radio.

Progressives: STFU and stand together. We're ALL for equality and human rights for ALL people. Patricia Arquette is on the good team. Her deeds are good. That is all.

I think the premise of this

I think the premise of this article is misplaced. I think your reading of what she implied about people of colour and from diverse backgrounds reads into something that's not there.

It sounds to me like she advocated for solidarity amongst those who experience repression and inequality.

Arquette speech

Your take that Arquette undermined the message of equality for women misses the point a bit I think. As a 67 year old lesbian feminist I got it exactly. While I agree that one could construe that she is saying GLBT and people of color have equal rights, the fact is that women of all stripes have been the core energy in organizing, advocating and enacting rights for all my life and yet the only right guaranteed to women under the constitution is the right to vote. Unlike GLBT and people of color, discrimination in all things other than the vote for women, when challenged at the SCOTUS level receive intermediate, rather than strict scrutiny. This is why we need ERA now-not because GLBT and people of color has achieved equality and it is our turn, but because it is time for women to have the legal floor of constitutional protection to be able to fight for that equality, with equal standing to other forms of discrimination as we all continue to work to unravel the centuries of inculcated discrimination that results in the disadvantaged all who are not white male must plow through to gain equity.

Validation

My blood is boiling. She was born white and female, she achieved success and wealth. Patricia Arquette had the platform to speak about her experience with institutionalized oppression and asked for the support of other social justice movements. Is she just supposed to sit down and shut up because there are others who have suffered more than she? There will always be subtext, please let’s focus on the big picture here.

Really?

I applaud Bitch for posting this article, and I'm shocked and surprised that so many people are having a fit over a critique of her speech. Were there wonderful parts to what Arquette said? Yes, most definitely. Am I glad that she spoke up for women? Again, yes! Of course. But I can recognize the good components of her speech without dismissing the VERY negative connotations of some of her statements.

The women's movement has a history of excluding people of color and the LGBT communities, and the patriarchy has a long history of suggesting that women are defined by their reproductive abilities. You can look to Betty Friedan's suggestions that lesbians are "the lavender menace" and Susan B. Anthony's refusal to advocate for women of color to see the start of this misconception. Much of the women's movement is ingrained with the same sense of white, straight superiority that is a flagrant part of patriarchy. Regardless of whether she "mispoke" or not, the comment was still problematic, and as such it should be dissected and critiqued.

I'm not asking that she be attacked or silenced here. I'm happy she gave the speech, but having someone suggest that marginalized groups (some of whom ARE women) owe the women's movement is flawed. Moreover, it remains true that the wage gap is even worse for women of color and trans* people, who as we all know, are disproportionately represented in poverty. Whether or not her overall message was well-intentioned and positive, Arquette's comments lacked intersectionality. By otherizing LGBT communities and women of color, she reinforced the idea that the women's movement is white and suggested that POC and LGBT folks are not and have never been a part of fighting for our rights. The reality is quite the contrary becuse for every Susan B. Anthony, there was an Ida B. Wells.

Patricia Arquette and other white, straight feminists certainly do not need to sit down and shut up. Their voices are important to the movement; however, they are only one component of it . All women should be given the chance to gain a voice, but it should be one informed by the concerns of all peoples, not just the "dominant" culture. So ultimately, I'm not villianizing Patricia Arquette for her comments, but I do want to critique them and hope that intersectionality is something that she and other white, straight, cis feminists begin to strive for in their feminism.

I don't want to be a part of a feminism that goes unchecked and relies on the unconditional support of all statements made by women. I want to be a part of a feminism that consistently challenges racism, sexism, ableism, xenophobia, and class discrimination. The struggle to attain that kind of feminism is probably never-ending, and I will consistently be learning, but that is the fucking point.

Intersectionality is not a

Intersectionality is not a perspective that is intrinsic to white people and it is not taught or even considered in many college classrooms if you are not a humanities or history major. Some would say this is because the particular brand of liberalism collegiate institutions tend to manufacture is still that of the white, male, liberal and they would probably be right... However, liberal ideas are not invaluable merely because they decline to acknowledge the oppressive paths of each and every minority group in every breath and tenant. Liberal thought does not acknowledge its own white saturation of its cultural perspective because white culture is, by colonialism, disenfranchisement, theft and abuse, the dominant culture. Now that's unfair, but it's true. There are plenty of problems with the dominant cultural lenses and narratives that white people grow up with but not seeing through them does not make them racist. Just because someone does not think intersectionally, does not mean they are unintelligent, ignorant, or ill-informed, it means they are human beings who are speaking from a place of their own experience and understanding. Liberals who acknowledge white privelege and acknowledge racism and bigotry exist and who try to help these groups achieve equality are not irrelevant or invaluable because they are white. Secondly, it is foul play to accuse these people of infantilizing or patronizing these groups because they want to help. That is inherently devisive, unproductive and silly.Those people matter. Their work matters. They are actively trying to shed their privilege blinders. White women should not "sit down and shut up" because they are white. Women of color and white women should talk to each other. Women of color and white women should stand together. There is more that can be achieved with the unity of oppressed and disenfranchised groups than with blame. White women who are self aware and trying to help people should not be villianized for trying to do so. I agree her backstage comments were misplaced and I have only recently learned how valuable intersectional thinking can be and how to think intersectionally (and I work in social work and I have a college degree from a major university) but the academics and the informed thinkers to whom intersectional thinking is intrinsic should not forget that that viewpoint was learned and concluded upon after thinking way outside their frame of reference and studying these issues and considering them deeply. It is not an intersectional world. There is almost nothing in media that informs this concept. People who don't think this way are not bad people or even ignorant ones, they are just unfamiliar. I can forgive Patricia. Just like I can forgive my white sisters who don't think this way. More power to anyone in the world whoever they are that is trying to end oppression, poverty and violence and stand up for human rights. More power to then all the way. The people. You can acknowledge racism and discriminatory history and still fight for the over arching problems that face humanity without white washing the voices of the oppressed. Good for anyone who wants to change things and actively speaks up or tried to make it happen.

(I only talked about one

(I only talked about one issue here as an example but obviously LGBT people and all other groups are included. Again, I do not care how or why people reach the conclusion that things need to change, merely that they see what they need to see in order to further worthy causes that they are passionate about. And all change or discussion that furthers equality and human rights is valuable and should be more than welcome. Live and let live. We are all fighting the same white male oligarchs and the grotesque plutocracy that is capitalist globalization here.)

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