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Patricia Arquette slams sexism at the Oscars

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The real winner of the Oscars this year? Feminism. Women at every point of this year’s ceremony made it clear that the movement is here to stay

At last night’s Oscars, Patricia Arquette accepted the award for Best Supporting Actress, ending her speech with a totally unexpected, yet totally called-for motion for women’s rights in the United States.

‘To every woman who gave birth to every tax payer 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,’ she said.

She was met with a collective cheer from every woman in the room. Well, pretty much every person in the room. Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez were certainly on board.

In the press room after the rousing acceptance speech, Arquette continued to deliver the straight truth. ‘It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t here.’

It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t here.

Then it got political. Arquette highlighted the problem with the U.S. Constitution — it wasn’t written with women in mind. ‘We need to pass a constitutional admentment in the United States of America, so we can pass the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment] once and for all,’ she said. Gender equality is still not guaranteed by the Constitution.

Grazia magazine is working toward something similar in the U.K. with its Mind the Pay Gap campaign, which requires transparency about pay. The campaign calls for businesses with over 250 employees to publish payment records. The information is completely anonymous except for the gender of the employees, so denial of a wage gap would be impossible.

Grazia assistant editor Victoria Harper said they launched the campaign because the transparency show that ‘the pay gap is still wide between men and women.’

Long story short, transparency reveals the large inequality of wages, putting women in the place of being able to demand what they ought to have already.

You just can’t believe that whether you’re in America or in the U.K., women are still not being paid the same as men.

Harper said that Patricia’s public criticism of the pay gap is important because it shows that women are underpaid across the board. ‘You just can’t believe that whether you’re in America or in the U.K., women are still not being paid the same as men,’ Harper said. Sign the petition here.

Arquette also brought up sexism in Hollywood specifically, mentioning that actresses make less and less money as they grow older or have more children. Aggravated by the tale-as-old-as-time red carpet question, ‘who are you wearing?’ Arquette told the charming and inspiring story of the dress that was designed by her childhood friend and how it felt, ‘like wearing love.’

The most important part, though, was that Arquette wanted to come across as human more than anything else. She skipped the toungue-biting and forced eloquence that often comes with award acceptance and got right to making a point — women are people who work hard and are more than just surface-value. ‘This is who I am, this is the whole who I am. I love my business, I love acting, and I love being a human being on earth.’

Arquette was certainly not the only one fed up with sexism on the red carpet, either. Reese Witherspoon took to Instagram last night before hitting the red carpet to inspire reporters to ask women more meaningful questions on the red carpet as part of the #AskHerMore campaign.

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‘This is a movement to say we’re more than just our dresses,’ she told Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts.

Witherspoon has the perfect timing — this campaign taking off happens to line right up with the abolishment of the dreaded Mani Cam that’s been around since the 2012 Emmys. You know, that thing where actresses have to spend their entire interview slot showing off their nail polish? Rejoice, because it’s gone.

What question would you like to ask a celeb?


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