Monday, February 23, 2015

PAY Attention to Women

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about the Oscars and how Hollywood is a predominately white industry; however, the discrepancy about race was not the only discrepancy apparent during this event. Patricia Arquette won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Boyhood" used her acceptance speech to advocate for gender equality - specifically regarding equal pay.

A photo of Patricia Arquette gives her acceptance speech after being awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress on February 23, 2015. 

Arquette passionately said, "It's our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America." This line provoked a strong response from females in the audience, especially from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez who applauded her plea.

This response was to be expected, for women are still receiving significant lower pay than men. On average, women make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. African American women earn on average 64 cents for every dollar a white man earns. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act on June 10, 1963 and said that "much remains to be done to achieve full equality of economic opportunity - for the average woman worker earns only 60 percent of the average wage for men." Since 1963, America has only made slight changes to this unequal ratio. Fifty-two years later, women only make 18 more cents for every dollar a man makes, when the ratio should be equal. Clearly, this issue needs more awareness if it takes over 50 years just for women to earn 18 extra cents.

Patricia Arquette used her freedom of speech this Sunday night, and I think it was entirely appropriate. The Oscars were seen by 34.6 million people on Sunday. By advertising her views to millions of people, Arquette spread awareness of the issue regarding inequality in pay. After winning an Oscar, she had a choice of what she could say, and she chose to highlight a huge issue America is having today that needs to be solved.

 What do you think of Patricia Arquette's Oscar acceptance speech?

1 comment:

  1. This year at the Oscar's I saw a TON of acceptance speeches that highlighted issues in today's society- this was obviously one of them. Another point that was brought up by singer John Legend was the issue of incarceration among black men, and how there are more black men in jail today than were slaved in the 1800's (could he be referring to the Prison Industrial Complex drawings we looked at in class?) There was also a comment made by Neil Patrick Harris, who hosted this year's show. At the very beginning of the show, he said "Welcome to the Oscar's, where we honor the best and whitest- sorry, brightest." This was no mistake- Harris was referring to the fact that the Oscar's OVERWHELMINGLY honors white actors, directors, etc. In my opinion, actors using their acceptance speeches and time on stage to bring forth important issues such as racial inequality and equal rights for women is a great way to bring the issue to national attention- just think about how many viewers saw those speeches and heard their words, and are now talking about it. These speeches are a great way to make a change, or at least start one.