WOMEN

Patricia Arquette Causes Controversy Telling 'Gay People And People Of Color' To Fight For Women's Rights

02/23/2015 11:40 am ET | Updated Feb 23, 2015
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Patricia Arquette used Hollywood's biggest awards show as a platform to speak about something other than the Oscar she won: women's equality. But backstage, when Arquette spoke about women's rights in America to reporters, she made comments that some have criticized as blind to the intersections between race, gender and sexuality.

The 46-year-old actress pleaded for wage equality during her Oscars acceptance speech, saying, "It's our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America" -- and inspiring unbridled enthusiasm from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez who cheered her on from their seats.

Backstage, Arquette expanded on this topic. "It’s time for us. It’s time for women. Equal means equal," she said. "It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and talk about equal rights for women in other countries when we don’t have equal rights for women in America. When they wrote the constitution, they didn’t intend it for women."

Saying that nothing will change until actual laws are passed, Arquette continued: "People think we have equal rights; we don’t. Until we pass a constitutional amendment, we won’t have anything changed. 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."

Her latter comments caused people to point out that, of course, many women are people of color and part of the LGBTQ community, and that by calling on these groups to "fight for us," Arquette erased the experiences of non-white, non-straight women.

(It's also worth mentioning that women of color face a greater gender wage gap than their white counterparts. And research has shown that the same is true for trans women.)

If you're still confused, google "intersectionality."

UPDATE: Patricia Arquette responded to the controversy surrounding her Oscar night comments via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon:

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