"Though both are bound in the spiral dance, I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess." – Donna Haraway

Posts tagged ‘wage equality’

Why I Can’t Fist Pump with Meryl and J-Lo

Women in the audience reacting very enthusiastically

Reactions to Arquette’s Acceptance Speech

You know what they say about the road to hell…

In this case, the intentions under scrutiny are those of Patricia Arquette calling for wage equality at last night’s Academy Awards.

Many have identified Arquette’s backstage remarks as the moment that they noticed a problem with her message. The privileging of white womanhood was certainly very explicit backstage. But to be honest, she lost me when she was still on stage. When she said, “We..have…fought for everybody else’s equal rights.” She read that from something she penned in advance.

Cut to me in my living room: *face-palm* I was immediately reminded of the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag and the critiques of racism within white feminism. As implicitly biased as Arquette’s onstage remarks might have been, that piece of paper she held in front of her is a problem for me. For that paper implies contemplation and composition. And in all of that contemplating and composing, she does not seem to have questioned what she meant when she said the word “We.”

Yes, wage equality is a critical issue. But it is clear from her remarks both onstage and backstage (included below for those who did not see them) that Arquette’s “we” is white women. You pretty much have to not be paying attention to not realize that the wage gap is even more egregious for women of color. And from your position of relative privilege, it shows an extreme disconnect from the reality if you are willing to ask that people of color prioritize gender over race, and that LGBTQ folks privilege gender over sexuality, in the fight for equality. That is not a sacrifice that you get to ask for. Ideally we are fighting on all fronts, but in reality, that is not always the case. And you don’t get to demand this.

There are those who say that Arquette should not be “torn down” for her remarks. Or that people are overreacting.The truth is, she had a pretty big megaphone last night and she got it wrong. So yes, we can recognize her intentions, but we get nowhere without willing to be thoughtful about why good intentions don’t lead to equality for all.

Brittney Cooper’s response in the following tweets has started people posting to the #askawhitefeminist hashtag

I started a Storify of tweets and posts inspired by Cooper’s hashtag and also connected to Mikki Kendall’s hashtag #SolidarityisforWhiteWomen that started back in 2013. As time allows, I may get over to Storify to update with new material, but I can’t promise.

So here’s what I found so far:

Bummer. After a good 30 minutes of fighting with it, I’ve learned that non-VIP users of WordPress.com can no longer embed Storify into their posts. Here’s a link instead: https://storify.com/purplekimchi/askawhitefeminist-responses-to-patricia-arquette

**Edited to Add the text of Arquette’s backstage remarks:

“It’s time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is the older women get, the less money they make. The highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households. It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t. One of those superior court justices said two years ago in a law speech at a university that we don’t have equal rights for women in America and we don’t because when they wrote Constitution, they didn’t intend it for women. So the truth is even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America right under the surface there are huge issues at play that really do affect women. It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.

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