Patricia Arquette: It's Time for Gay People and People of Color to Fight for Women's Rights

Patricia Arquette Oscars - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Patricia Arquette Oscars - H 2015

Patricia Arquette expands on her Oscars acceptance speech while backstage and incites controversy.

When Patricia Arquette expanded on her inspirational speech about women's rights while backstage following her Oscars win, she sparked controversy over some of her comments.

"Equal means equal. The truth of it is the older an actress gets, the less money she makes," she said in the press room. "It's inexcusable that we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and yet … we don't have equal rights for women in America." 

"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," said Arquette.

Arquette's last statement upset some critics who feel Arquette is treating different kinds of human rights as separate categories. Some people took Arquette's comments to mean her "we" only stood for white feminists. There are also people speaking out in defense of Arquette, pointing out that we shouldn't criticize the way in which she talked about equal pay because it may make other advocates fearful of speaking out in the future. Both sides are discussing their arguments via the media and Twitter.

"Perhaps someone needs to introduce Arquette to the idea that feminism, gay rights and civil rights aren't three distinct and opposing categories but rather a heavily overlapping Venn diagram," wrote Madeleine Davies in Jezebel.

"I'm generally a big fan of celebrities using their platforms to get out the message about feminism, even though they often do so by offering a defanged version sculpted to minimize backlash," said Amanda Marcotte in Slate. "But Arquette's political grandstanding played into every ugly stereotype about 'feminism' being about little more than some privileged white women trying to become more privileged. "

"The wage gap affects women of all races, and Arquette didn’t demand that we only close it for white women. Arquette’s message was that women ought not subordinate the fight for their own rights over fights for other people’s rights. I think she would agree with the idea that we can fight for rights for all different types of people simultaneously; we just shouldn’t forget women along the way. Sure, her speech wasn’t perfect, but she had the right intentions," Eliana Dockterman states in Time. "Even while we recognize the problems with her speech, feminists should be careful not to tear down their best and most visible advocates."

KJ Dell-Antonia in the New York Times writes, "But as we listen to her words being torn apart, there’s a real risk that other women, other actresses, others who may at various times in their lives have a chance for one minute that the whole country will hear, are hearing something else: Shhh."

Here's how people on Twitter responded: