Remember Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech? Of course you do. It was impassioned, feminist, but also a little misguided — as I wrote about here, back in February. Well, nearly a year after the fact, the Academy Award-winning actress has stepped up to clear up any confusion we have about the speech; about her words on equal pay and it being women’s time to get theirs.
“I blame myself for stupid wording that night when I was calling for male activists to have our backs and remember women, to support the women’s movement and to include women in the conversation,” she told the Hollywood Reporter. “I was talking about the really devastating consequences of the women’s movement stalling out. It was my own lack of clarity backstage that made some women feel left out or slighted. This of all things make me sad, because they are my heroes. Since the speech, I have learned a lot more about the feminist movement and how women of colour have been left out of the process. I understand that more now. I am really sad that I may have added to their feeling of being excluded.”
And honestly, hell yes, Patricia Arquette. It is so easy to glaze over mistakes or not to acknowledge that there’s more to learn and room to grow. Especially since it can be embarrassing to step up and say, “I was misguided in my word choices.” And especially because we’ve all been in the actress’ shoes before.
As for the speech itself, she admits she wrote it quickly, while getting her makeup done. So it’s safe to say she didn’t expect to become the face of gender equality.
“I didn’t really know how the speech would be accepted until afterward,” she continued. “I almost fainted right after, and I was shaky. I felt very weird, like somebody had shot me up with a strange drug. But what I was doing was very clear to me: I was really trying to appeal to our leaders, our great activist leaders. I also appeal to the great male activists that we have, and I feel strongly that they, too, need to stand up for women and help us.”
Which is important and great and why the speech initially meant so much. But what means more? Arquette’s willingness to explain her thought process and how she’s still educating herself on intersectional feminism. We should all be educating ourselves, actively, all the time. Nobody’s perfect, and articulating that is important for everybody.