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Patricia Arquette's equal pay speech draws criticism from both sides of the aisle
Many have applauded Patricia Arquette for her call for equal pay and her backstage support for the passing of an equal right's constitutional amendment. However, there are some critics. And the critics come from both sides of the aisle. - photo by Matthew Jelalian
During her Academy Awards acceptance speech, actress Patricia Arquette delivered a message about equal pay for women.

To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody elses equal rights, said Arquette. Its our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.

Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez even gave her a standing ovation. The Washington Post reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz were among many who tweeted their support of Arquette's comments.

However, other liberal and conservative women and men have taken issue with what Arquette said.

Conservatives called into question the pay gap itself.

They have repeatedly claimed that women make a fraction of what men do for the exact same work, wrote Mollie Hemingway with the Federalist. This is most definitely not true. Its been debunked so many times that its almost silly.

Hemmingway also cited data that showed some gender-gap hypocrisy in Hollywood.

"Hollywood likes to style itself as liberal and progressive and oh-so-much better than those conservatives in fly-over country," she wrote. "But Id put the hiring, promotion and pay practices of most any small business owner in the country over the general sexism of Hollywood."

The left took issue with Arquette characterizing women as mothers and children of future taxpayers.

The feminist project in general tends to be suspicious of attributing womens political significance solely to their role as mothers, as in old-fashioned reactionary visions of Republican Motherhood, wrote Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig in the New Republic. Further, addressing people as taxpayers is a rather unsavory (and typically right wing) habit that advances the notion people are worth what they pay in taxes.

But those criticisms took a back seat to the main complaint about what Arquette said to the press backstage.

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 that are applied that really do affect women," Arquette said as reported by Cosmopolitan. "And 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.

When Arquette called for the LGBT community and people of color to fight for womens equal pay, many felt like Arquettes flavor of feminism was for heterosexual white women.

Cosmopolitan reported women of color make less than white women. "And despite Arquette's phrasing, women (and many men) of color have been on the front lines of feminist, womanist, and other movements for women's rights for centuries. The people Arquette asks 'to fight for us now' are already here, fighting for themselves and all women.

Slate contributor Amanda Marcotte said that Arquette's speech was more damaging to feminism than helpful.

"I'm generally a big fan of celebrities using their platforms to get out the message about feminism, even though they often do so by offering a defanged version sculpted to minimize backlash," wrote Marcotte. "But Arquette's political grandstanding played into every ugly stereotype about 'feminism' being about little more than some privileged white women trying to become more privileged."
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