Why Are Feminists Attacking Patricia Arquette?

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Why Are Feminists Attacking Patricia Arquette?

Postby admin » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:30 pm

WHY ARE FEMINISTS ATTACKING PATRICIA ARQUETTE?
by Lizzie Crocker

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February 23, 2015

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Sunday night at the Oscars, the actress made a powerful plea for gender equality. On Monday she was deemed to have not been radical enough.

Patricia Arquette made an impassioned plea for women’s rights and wage equality during her Oscars acceptance speech Sunday night. Her rousing words prompted a “#YesAllWomen” moment from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez, who were seated next to each other and whooped in raucous applause.

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Arquette, who won Best Supporting Actress for her demanding performance and immersive role as a mother in Boyhood, thanked “every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation” who has “fought for everyone else’s equal rights.”

“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all,” she continued, “and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

It was an early, passionate moment in what had thus far been a sleepy awards show in an evening that proved to be very political. The Internet and feminists everywhere rejoiced at Arquette’s moving speech—and then quickly turned against her.

Within an hour, The New Republic’s Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig had extrapolated a hidden political agenda from every word of Arquette’s speech.

Her shout-out to mothers—a banal, straightforward message echoing the “behind every great man is a greater woman” trope—was deemed reductionist by Bruenig, who turned up her nose at Arquette’s evoking “old-fashioned reactionary visions of Republican Motherhood.”

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.”

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Bruenig dished out more contempt over Arquette’s use of the word “taxpayer,” which she found “rather unsavory (and typically right wing) habit that advances the notion people are worth what they pay in taxes.”

Sure, the final impassioned words of Arquette’s speech were the hurried mutterings of a Hollywood star. But the message was a positive one: equality for women! And yet that wasn’t enough for some feminist pundits, who took offense that Arquette didn’t hit every political note perfectly, in a way that reflects modern feminist argument.

But why must a brief speech about women’s rights be parsed to death? Was Arquette’s speech really “unsavory” because she failed to target all the on-point feminist erogenous zones?

Arquette didn’t win any more points when she elaborated on her speech during a press conference backstage. Women remained the focal point: She stressed that “even though we sort of feel we have equal rights for women,” we still have a long way to go.

“And 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.”

More word parsing: The Frisky called it “tone deaf,” while Fusion rushed to decry Arquette’s “feminist whitesplaining” because she failed to clearly articulate “a basic fact: LGBT people and people of color are, in fact, women too.”

Surely this is a low point for punditry. It is certainly symptomatic of the usual shrill condemnation that awaits anyone who doesn’t stick to the received feminist script and also fails to include every other minority-within-a-minority concern in their speeches.

By Monday afternoon, Arquette responded to the criticism herself, modifying the message of her speech to be more inclusive: “Wage equality will help ALL women of all races in America. It will help their children and society,” she tweeted.

That she had to write that tweet is somewhat depressing. Hers was a sensible, plainly worded speech. Nowhere did she imply that she was not fighting for equality for everyone.

The anger directed at Arquette is, in some sense, understandable—there are far too few speeches that present these issues to a mass audience in the way Arquette’s did at the Oscars. But feminism is about accepting and celebrating a range of women’s voices, even when they don’t say exactly what you want them to say.

Think about the foundation of Arquette’s sentiments: What she said was vitally political, and a rallying call for equality.

There is perhaps a dark irony that the left-wing critique of what Arquette’s speech lacked dovetailed neatly with the right-wing scorn she also received. Clueless star Stacey Dash weighed in on Fox & Friends that Arquette “needs to do her history. In 1963, [President] Kennedy passed an equal pay wall. It’s still in effect. I didn’t get the memo that I didn’t have any rights.”

And so an important feminist message, passionately voiced to an audience of millions, finds itself the-morning-after mired in whingeing and selective parsing. One hopes Arquette’s words will, in the long term, resound louder.
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Re: Why Are Feminists Attacking Patricia Arquette?

Postby admin » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:31 pm

The Problem With Patricia Arquette's Oscar Speech
by Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig @ebruenig

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February 22, 2015

On Sunday night, Patricia Arquette won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her performance in the 2014 film Boyhood. She deserved it; hers was certainly a unique and demanding role. Nonetheless, her acceptance speech veered into odd political territory.

The Oscars have traditionally served as platforms for the political opinions of various artists over the years, with Marlon Brando famously declining his best actor award for political reasons in 1973. So Arquette was by no means out of line in airing her sentiments about, inter alia, women’s wages and women’s role in the economy; it’s just that the ideas she proposed were a little off-kilter.

The thrust of Arquette’s speech seems to have been an appeal for gender equality. She thanked “every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation,” declaring that “we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights!” The progressive internet rejoiced, and so did Meryl Streep; a meme was born. But Arquette’s words warrant scrutiny.

The feminist project in general tends to be suspicious of attributing women’s political significance solely to their role as mothers, as in old-fashioned reactionary visions of Republican Motherhood. Further, addressing people as taxpayers is a rather unsavory (and typically right wing) habit that advances the notion people are worth what they pay in taxes. Children, among others, are a direct challenge to the pay-in-cash-out way of conceptualizing the destination of resources: people are intrinsically worthy of the necessities of life, regardless of what they pay in taxes. Programs that attempt to distribute resources based on tax payments rather than need generally don’t shake out in women’s favor, as is the case with child tax credits versus child allowances.

And there’s more. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and to fight for equal rights for women in America,” Arquette went on, evidently referring to the struggle to match women’s wages to men’s in the American labor market. The gender wage gap certainly exists, with working women making on average 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. On the other hand, Wonkblog reports that the average CEO makes 350 times what the average worker does, and America still has no federally mandated living wage. Consider Wal-Mart’s well publicized wage hike, for example: If in 2016 all its lowest paid male and female employees make $10 per hour as pledged, none of them would be making enough to raise a child alone even in my disaster zone of a hometown in Tarrant County, Texas. For women to have any kind of genuine economic independence, wage equality will have to be predicated upon either a living wage or transfer programs that raise everyone’s income to a reasonable standard.

So, Arquette deserves praise for her work as an actress, and certainly for her effort to foreground women’s efforts and challenges in politics. Nonetheless, thinking outside the frame of taxpayers and equally low wages would be something worth fist-pumping over.
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Re: Why Are Feminists Attacking Patricia Arquette?

Postby admin » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:32 pm

Patricia Arquette’s Backstage Comments Overshadow Oscar Speech
by: Amelia McDonell-Parry

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February 23, 2015

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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]
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Re: Why Are Feminists Attacking Patricia Arquette?

Postby admin » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:33 pm

Oscars: Patricia Arquette follows call for wage equality with tone-deaf comment on race
by Arielle Castillo

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February 23, 2015

One of the most-discussed speeches at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony was Patricia Arquette’s, when she took the stage to accept the award for best supporting actress.

Her words came in a show that – whether through scripted bits or acceptance speeches – touched on a surprising spread of social justice issues, starting with host Neil Patrick Harris’ pointed joke about the awards’ whiteness.

Arquette discussed equal wages:

So far, so good. And in fact, Arquette is right on about wage equality — according to the Institute for Women, the current wage gap won’t close until 2058.


But about right here is where we have to stop cheerleading for Arquette — because, she appears to have veered into an unfortunate bit of feminist whitesplaining backstage in the press room. As PopSugar reported, (and as you can see at about 2:07 in the video above) here’s what she said:

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.

Oy. The problem is that demanding “gay people” and “people of color” who whites have “fought for” to in turn fight for wage equality insinuates that the battles for gay rights and for equality for people of color are over now. They’re not. Those struggles continue on a daily basis. In addition, Arquette’s awkward framing sets up a distinction between “people of color” and “us” — which makes it seem like she’s talking about straight, white women needing the support of other oppressed groups. Many LGBT people and people of color are, in fact, women too. Arquette’s language excludes them from the larger conversation, asking groups to fight for her subgroup, rather than with everyone as a whole.

Meanwhile, wage equality still affects women of color disproportionately.

Here’s one tweet that circulated after Arquette’s speech:

Katie Hegarty @HegartyKate

Love that Patricia called for #equalpay. But remember: white women make 77 cents on the dollar; Black women 64 cents and Latinas 56 cents #Oscars2015

8:02 - 22 Feb. 2015


The exact numbers may vary by analysis, but here’s some data from the 2012 census that backs up the gap. According to the American Association of University Women, in 2012, white, non-Hispanic women made just 78 cents on a white man’s dollar. For other groups, though, the picture was more grim: black women earned just 64 cents on a white man’s dollar, and Latinas clocked in the lowest, making 53 cents on the dollar.

So yes, Arquette is right in that it’s time to talk about women earning less, and, as a corollary, winding up in careers that pay less. But to ask people of color to fight for white women — when they disproportionately shoulder even more of a wage gap — shows an unfortunate type of feminist myopia at best.
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Re: Why Are Feminists Attacking Patricia Arquette?

Postby admin » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:34 pm

Fox News’ Stacey Dash ‘Appalled’ by Patricia Arquette’s Pay-Equity Oscar Speech
by Jordan Chariton And Greg Gilman

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February 23, 2015

"Patricia Arquette needs to do her history,” Fox contributor says about Oscar winner’s take on equal pay for women

Fox News contributor Stacey Dash didn’t take kindly to Oscar winner Patricia Arquette demanding wage equality for women while accepting her first Oscar on Sunday.

“I was appalled. I could not believe it,” Dash, a former actress, said on “Fox & Friends” Monday morning. “First of all, Patricia Arquette needs to do her history. In 1963, [President] Kennedy passed an equal pay wall. It’s still in effect. I didn’t get the memo that I didn’t have any rights.”

Arquette, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in “Boyhood,” was greeted with a warm applause from the star-studded audience at the Dolby Theatre when ending her acceptance speech on the issue. Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez were particularly enthusiastic.

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Insert “Clueless” pun here, because a recent study published by the National Partnership for Women and Families found women in the United States are paid an average of 78 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly wage gap of $10,876 between full-time workingmen and women.
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Re: Why Are Feminists Attacking Patricia Arquette?

Postby admin » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:41 pm

Fox News Bashes Patricia Arquette For Advocating Wage Equality: ‘I Was Appalled’
by Judd Legum

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February 23, 2015

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Not everyone was a fan of Patricia Arquette’s impassioned call for wage equality at the Oscar’s last night. On Fox & Friends, actress and Fox News Contributor Stacey Dash said she was “appalled” by Arquette’s comments.

Dash said that Arquette needs to “do her history.” She noted that in 1963, John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. “I didn’t get the memo I didn’t have any rights,” Dash quipped.

Dash failed to mention that, upon signing the bill into law, Kennedy called the legislation a “first step” and stressed that “much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity…” Kennedy said, “[O]ur journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.”

Today, women still earn an average of 78 cents on the dollar — up just 17 cents since the Equal Pay Act. The picture is even worse for women of color. African-American women, for example, make just 64 cents for every dollar a white man makes.

Arquette has also been criticized from the left for comments she made backstage. “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 colour that we’ve fought for, to fight for us now,” Arquette said. Some commenters “pointed out the irony of a wealthy white woman begging people who are often worse off in society to help her out.”
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