Feminism isn’t a new ideology…and it isn’t exactly uncontroversial either. But Patricia Arquette’s recent Oscar acceptance speech and its backlash brought the issue of misrepresentation of feminism to the forefront recently.
In her speech, Arquette cried out, “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer, and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
This call for equality sounds somewhat legitimate. I mean, I could get into how wage inequality really isn’t the primary issue for contemporary feminists, how the statistics regarding the inequality are skewed because of the amount of women who work part-time, in lesser-paying fields, or take maternity leave…
But that wasn’t even the main problem with Arquette’s “feminist” rant.
She stated backstage, “It’s inexcusable we go around the world talking about equal rights for women in other countries…and we don’t have equal rights for women in America. The truth is: even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, there are huge issues that are at play that really do affect women. It’s time for all…the gay people and people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”
Talk about sounding like an entitled white woman.
Arquette is basically saying that as a white woman in America, she is oppressed to some extent (true) and therefore, she cannot yet care about what’s happening to women in other countries (conceited and false). Also, everyone that [white] women have previously fought for (unclear when this happened) should now band together to fight for women’s rights (um…aren’t around 50% of homosexuals and blacks also women? Also…what makes you think anyone owes you anything?).
Contemporary feminism is completely legitimate, but it’s totally NOT about how utterly oppressed [white] women are, how our problems must come first, or what others owe us in this fight for equality.
A lot of bloggers and other media writers are referring to contemporary feminism as “the entitled white woman’s way of gaining more rights and privileges.” Which really isn’t the case.
Feminism, today, is about gaining equal rights and respects in all aspects of society for all people, irrespective of gender. I mean, a woman shouldn’t have to guard her drink at a bar, worry about sexual harassment in the workplace, or not receive a promotion because the boss feels like she’s “too emotional.” We want to feel equally safe and respected in America. It’s about creating a society in which the same opportunities, compensation, and respect is available to all people, regardless of their gender.
What gets lost, though, is that this fight for equality is NOT just for white women.
Meaning, contemporary feminism should be promoting equality for all genders (including transgender, agender, non-gender conforming, gender-fluid, and other non-binary people) and the female representation behind the movement should include women of all races, ethnicities, and sexualities.
Unfortunately, radicals and ignorant, entitled women have taken feminism and turned it into something it’s not.
While Patricia Arquette might’ve had good intentions, what she said was not ideologically feminist. Acting like you’re entitled to others’ support (not to mention many of those “others” should be included in feminism anyway) or that your oppression is the sole concern right now is not cool or feministic. At all.
And it’s not like I expect anything else from a half-hearted Oscar acceptance speech…or from Patricia Arquette for that matter. I just don’t want the ideology of feminism to get lost in this severe misrepresentation.
If you have any comments/questions about contemporary feminism, ideological misrepresentation, Arquette’s Oscar speech, or anything else related, feel free to leave them below!