This past February, Patricia Arquette made an impassioned and unforgettable speech at the Oscars about the gender wage gap. At first, she received praise from both peers and fans, then later received backlash after she suggested gay people and people of color start fighting for women’s rights. Now, Arquette is reflecting on her speech and clarifying the comments she made that caused the controversy.
In an essay for the Hollywood Reporter, Arquette discussed what she’s learned since. “Since the speech, I have learned a lot more about the feminist movement and how women of color have been left out of the process,” she wrote. “I understand that more now. I am really sad that I may have added to their feeling of being excluded.”
Arquette also expressed regret for the “stupid wording” she made during her comments that evening. “It was my own lack of clarity backstage that made some women feel left out or slighted. This of all things makes me sad, because they are my heroes,” she wrote.
“Some people said that women are paid the same as men. Which is not true. Some people thought I was asking for actresses, or even white actresses, to be paid more. When I brought it up, I was talking about all women. I meant Native American women, Asian women, Latino women, African-American women, trans women, lesbian women, white women.”
Arquette pointed out a few statistics, such as wage disparity “costing the average woman $400,000” and “75 percent of all low-wage earners” being women, many of them mothers. Arquette also showed support for the LGBTQ community. “We also need to hear more about our lesbian sisters and our trans sisters,” she wrote. “Our trans sisters are the most likely women to be living in deep poverty, with 15 percent of them making less than $10,000 a year. That’s crazy and needs to change.”
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