We were thrilled to see this year’s Best Supporting Actress winner Patricia Arquette use her time at the podium to call for equal rights and equal pay for women. But Arquette’s call for change didn’t cease when she stepped off the stage. “Equal means equal,” she explained to reporters backstage. “Actresses, the older they get, the less they get paid.”
Several weeks ago, Arquette revealed that she paid her babysitter and dog-walker more than she earned for her work in “Boyhood.”
It’s important to note that Arquette wasn’t just advocating for herself and her fellow actresses, but women in general. She noted that women in America still don’t have a legal basis for equal rights because the Founding Fathers never intended to give their mothers, sisters, and daughters that much control and freedom.
Arquette didn’t back down when asked about Amy Pascal’s comment about women needing to improve their negotiating skills to get equal pay. The actress responded, “I think we need federal laws that are comprehensive.” In other words, the onus shouldn’t be on individual women to plead their case for being valued as much as their male counterparts. Arquette’s dream? “A constitutional amendment where we pass the ERA once and for all and women have equal rights.”
The former “Medium” star (and soon to be “CSI-Cyber” star), who played a single mom struggling to make ends meet in her Oscar-winning performance, also challenged the myth that we have achieved equality: “The truth is, even though we sort of feel we have equal rights in America, right under the surface we have huge issues.”
While we were inspired by Arquette’s bold choice to publicly speak out against sexism, we have to quibble with another comment she made to reporters: “It’s time for all women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.” This quotation has, quite understandably, been criticized for its exclusionary wording — many gay people and people of color are women. We’re hoping that what Arquette meant was that everyone needs to work together to effect change and that she recognizes the importance of intersectionality.
[via The LA Times]