But Blue she said women not just white women
February 23, 2015 11:22 AM   Subscribe

 
She said that things are not equal, and that she is a member of a group of people who are treated as less than equals by society. Then she asks people who are members of other groups who are treated as less than equals by society to support her group.

Keeping these different groups arguing with one another about who has more of a right to be treated equally only helps those who benefit under the current inequalities.
posted by flarbuse at 11:32 AM on February 23, 2015 [148 favorites]


Divide and conquer works even better if the masses do it themselves.
posted by svenni at 11:32 AM on February 23, 2015 [38 favorites]


I'm just gonna assume her heart is in the right place and she was just calling for solidarity among people perpetually targeted by discrimination. I wouldn't imagine she'd dream of saying, Welp, racism and homophobia are over! Time to move on and focus on sexism! Though you could read it that way, it seems unlikely to be what she meant.

If I'm going to have any grar for an A-lister who said something off base last night, it'd be for Sean Penn and his awful green card joke.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:33 AM on February 23, 2015 [31 favorites]


Considering the context of a normal Oscars acceptance speech, it was a wonderful moment of speaking truth to power and a great statement. I get what she was going for in it, and maybe it could have been worded better, but to attack it as diminishing other groups seems to misinterpret it completely.
posted by mathowie at 11:35 AM on February 23, 2015 [27 favorites]


She said that things are not equal, and that she is a member of a group of people who are treated as less than equals by society. Then she asks people who are members of other groups who are treated as less than equals by society to support her group.


Except that the groups are not mutually exclusive- see gay women and women of color. While her intentions were probably good, her remarks were exclusionary and insensitive.
posted by bearette at 11:37 AM on February 23, 2015 [19 favorites]


I'm trying to just figure her heart is in the right place and she was just calling for solidarity among people perpetually targeted by discrimination. I wouldn't imagine she'd dream of saying, Welp, racism and homophobia are over! Time to move on and focus on sexism.

So maybe it doesn't matter what I think because I'm a member of none of those groups, but why would anyone interpret this as the latter and not the former?

I mean, if you're back or trans you're certainly not required to do anything, but it doesn't seem prima facie offensive to be asked. Lots of people support causes that benefit groups of people of which they themselves aren't a member. I mean, the entire notion of men as feminists exists.
posted by GuyZero at 11:38 AM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Except that the groups are not mutually exclusive- see gay women and women of color.

And trans women, and trans women of color.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:38 AM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Note- I really like Patricia Arquette and I am glad she spoke up. But I don't think we can deny how excluded she made people feel because she had good intentions.
posted by bearette at 11:38 AM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


Yeah, twitter has been raging about this. It reminds me of nothing so much as an overeager liberal arts freshman yelling to prove they've read some bell hooks. She misspoke in a moment when she was put on the spot, but her heart was in the right place. No need to tar and feather.
posted by naju at 11:40 AM on February 23, 2015 [28 favorites]


Also, this is very much what is to be expected from the negative, shaming and attack-based tone of much of today's equality discourse.

If you're gonna take part in a discourse along such lines, you end up adopting such a mindset. You see the world through those eyes. Those will be the tints on your feminist glasses, so to speak.

And expecting sensitivity while at the same time attacking others is a bit contradictory.

I have little faith in equality without empathy, and therefore in the long run I feel like a lot of this is like pissing in the wind.
posted by svenni at 11:40 AM on February 23, 2015 [26 favorites]


Jared Leto seemed supportive.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:41 AM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


The problem with Arquette's speech is how it ignores the intersectionality that so many of us have to deal with and it treats these groups as mutually exclusive. Gay women? Women of color? Gay women of color? We're constantly told to prioritize gender over race and sexuality, or vice versa. And considering how mainstream US feminism (aka "white feminism") is notorious for throwing WOC under the bus and telling us to wait our turn, I'm sorry, but you do not get to take credit for fighting the good fight on our behalf.

And then people like her wonder why so many WOC refuse to align themselves with the feminist movement...
posted by imnotasquirrel at 11:42 AM on February 23, 2015 [25 favorites]


It reminds me of nothing so much as an overeager liberal arts freshman yelling to prove they've read some bell hooks

For the record, most of people I've seen who are outraged are, like me, thirtysomething, white, cisgender, heteronormative white women who have never read bell hooks.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:43 AM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


But sure, let's dismiss the criticism because her heart was in the right place.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 11:43 AM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


And trans women, and trans women of color.

Oh, so you mean that white trans women can just go by "trans women", and indian trans women have to be termed "trans women of color"?

See how easy it is to take someone's well intentions and make them out to be some sort of bigot?
posted by hal_c_on at 11:43 AM on February 23, 2015 [66 favorites]


I don't agree with tarring and feathering, but being excluded is more than theoretical for many. It's not solely Arquette's fault,obviously ,but her exclusion is highlighting an ongoing societal issue that causes pain for many .
posted by bearette at 11:43 AM on February 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


Oh, so you mean that white trans women can just go by "trans women", and indian trans women have to be termed "trans women of color"?

No?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:45 AM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


She's not even against intersectionality from what I can tell, she just misspoke. She just wanted to say that we should all support each other's struggles. What's wrong with that?
posted by naju at 11:45 AM on February 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


Nobody is saying Arquette is a bigot. They are saying she made an inadvertently offensive and ignorant statement.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:46 AM on February 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


I don't think there's any question she could have and should have said it better. I can see how it's good to bring this up and talk about it. But it's hard to see the utility in tearing apart someone who was pretty clearly trying to say a good thing most of us agree with. It's more of a we-can-do-better teaching moment than some kind of gotcha moment proving that Patricia Arquette is secretly awful.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:46 AM on February 23, 2015 [18 favorites]


I really, really wish people would read some history and then work with, like, an intelligent publicist before coming out with this stuff. When someone "obviously means" one thing but their unconscious biases lead them to actually say quite another, it is disturbing and makes it difficult to trust the whole message. Someone who actually routinely thinks that, like, black women and queer women and queer black women all exist is extraordinarily unlikely to make a speech which appears to suggest that they don't. This doesn't mean that PA doesn't understand that queer women, etc, exist; it means that her intuitive, automatic understanding of the category "woman" skews "white" and "straight". (Like that bird thread from last week - where most people think that a robin is a "better" bird than a penguin because they have a sort of platonic-ideal-embodiment-of-the-category thing going on.)

If you're interested in being a good ally/activist/etc, you have to think about this stuff. No one is perfect in their heart of hearts; we all have biases and failures and things we don't know. The way that you show that you care about people is by taking the time to second-guess yourself and say "what am I misstating or excluding due to unconscious bias".

And it's not as though this is the first speech on this topic, either - there's a pretty developed popular contemporary discourse about race and feminism.

Also, honestly, as a white AFAB queer person it skeeves me the fuck out to hear that "black people" should "give back" because gracious white women have given "them" so much. It's just gross, on a manners level as much as a historical level.
posted by Frowner at 11:46 AM on February 23, 2015 [95 favorites]


Nobody is saying Arquette is a bigot. They are saying she made an inadvertently offensive and ignorant statement.

Ok. Then let me correct my statement:

See how easy it is to take someone's well intentioned statement and make them out to be offensive and ignorant?
posted by hal_c_on at 11:48 AM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


And of course, PA wasn't just, like, chatting on metafilter and making an off-the-cuff, oversimplified statement - the bar is way lower for those, IMO. She planned this, I assume pretty carefully. And that means hey, treat it like any big serious speech and have enough people vet it to make sure that you say precisely what you mean to convey when you are being your best and most thoughtful self.
posted by Frowner at 11:50 AM on February 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


I really, really wish people would read some history and then work with, like, an intelligent publicist before coming out with this stuff.

hahahaha. Thats like asking all MMA fighters to learn about avogadro's number.

Celebrities don't care, and they don't have any financial incentive to do so.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:51 AM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think Patricia Arquette is channeling Satan or anything, or that her comment was anywhere close to the worst last night; that's not possible when we have Sean Penn's "green card" gem to contend with. But her comment was a perfect example of the microaggression that doesn't seem that bad on the surface, but shit gets tiring quick when you have to deal with a barrage of similar remarks all the time.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 11:51 AM on February 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


I'm having a really hard time as seeing this as anything more than someone who was put on the spot with a TV camera and misspoke. There'd be a lot more reason to go after her if these were prepared remarks or a press release. Heck, even a blog post or tweet would make more sense. But the outrage over this just seems like people opportunistically using the attention generated by the Oscars to vent anger that's better directed elsewhere.

They're not technically wrong, but they're still being assholes.
posted by Schrodinger's Gat at 11:52 AM on February 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Celebrities don't care, and they don't have any financial incentive to do so.

Why would you make a political statement at the Oscars about something you didn't care about? Just talk about your movie and thank the Academy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:52 AM on February 23, 2015


I want to apologize, I thought the controversy was about her statements at the podium, not what she said backstage after, which yeah, sound a bit off and could have been said better.
posted by mathowie at 11:52 AM on February 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


I feel like her heart was in the right place, and I think I get what she was trying to say.

But on the other hand, I absolutely see how her comment could have been interpreted as "Okay, we fought for you and those battles are over, so now it's time for you other groups to fight for us."

The "we've all fought for" part of her statement alone could be taken as ignoring the fact that , historically and currently, a great many white women have fought quite hard against marginalized groups achieving equality and being treated with respect.

I don't think anyone's calling for her head on a pike at King's Landing, but, yeah, those who are hurt by what she said absolutely should let her know they were hurt by how her words came out.

On the other other hand, if I had a dollar for every person involved in the struggle for equality, freedom and dignity who never misspoke, I...wouldn't have very many dollars. Probably none. None more dollars.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:54 AM on February 23, 2015 [39 favorites]


i think she can be well intentioned and that the people who felt insulted by her statement could have heard it as yet another example of white (generally upper class) feminism missing the point. i follow a lot of people who were upset this morning and last night and most of them were black women and black queer men who i wouldn't describe as overeager liberal arts freshman.
posted by nadawi at 11:57 AM on February 23, 2015 [20 favorites]


Huh. Following up on the Sean Penn green card joke: articles have come out now saying Penn and Inarritu are close friends and the director thought it was hilarious. They just have one of those ball-busting, saying-awful-shit to each other kinda friendships apparently. It was still shitty, because it sounded super gross stripped of context. But it was apparently not a douchey "they took our jubs!" joke, just one dude saying horrible shit to his pal because that's how they roll.

More grist for the "why don't they check with their publicists first?" mill, though. Because as funny as it may have been between those two guys, it sat there like a turd as a joke made in public during an event.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:59 AM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


i follow a lot of people who were upset this morning and last night and most of them were black women and black queer men who i wouldn't describe as overeager liberal arts freshman.

That was a pretty awful way to put it. I apologize.
posted by naju at 11:59 AM on February 23, 2015 [14 favorites]



Except that the groups are not mutually exclusive- see gay women and women of color. While her intentions were probably good, her remarks were exclusionary and insensitive.


Give her a break, she had about 20 seconds to say everything she wanted to say and probably had to spew it all out as quick as possible. She obviously meant equals rights for all. Why people looking for something to bitch about?
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:01 PM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


See how easy it is to take someone's well intentioned statement and make them out to be offensive and ignorant?

No one had to make that comment anything, it was incredibly offensive and ignorant all by its lonesome.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:01 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


DirtyOldTown, thanks for the context! And yes, that's definitely one of those inside jokes that should, well, remain on the inside.
posted by imnotasquirrel at 12:02 PM on February 23, 2015


If it doesn't matter to your life, of course you are going to think that her offhanded exclusionary comments don't matter. Personally, my facebook feed was blowing up with people of color who were angered and hurt and it's not my place to be dismissive of that. Again,it's not just about PA- it's about a history of exclusion.
posted by bearette at 12:06 PM on February 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


No one had to make that comment anything, it was incredibly offensive and ignorant all by its lonesome.

When a celeb speaks on something important, its kind of like a nobel laureate trying to run a marathon. Nobody should learn from it, but the audience should start a conversation on their own about running.

And in this way, I feel as if arquette succeeded. She's not a professor of sociology, but this is the way to get ideas into the heads of the masses: the people who didn't even know that women make 3 quarters for every dollar a man makes.

But of course that isn't metafilter, so we can tear her (comments) apart here.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:07 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


But her comment was a perfect example of the microaggression that doesn't seem that bad on the surface, but shit gets tiring quick when you have to deal with a barrage of similar remarks all the time.

So (again) as someone not part of any of these groups, sure, I can accept that. I think people have kind of high expectations of her, but you can have whatever expectations you want.

As for the green card joke, heh, as a green card holder I was just surprised the guy had a green card. The immigration policies of the rich and powerful are mysterious and don't make a lot of sense to me as a regular working peon. Also I honestly simply assume everyone is American these days regardless of their ethnic origin and their english-speaking accent. I mean, it's just too complex to make anything but basic assumptions. And as far as anti-immigrant rhetoric goes, I've heard a lot worse.
posted by GuyZero at 12:09 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


When a celeb speaks on something important, its kind of like a nobel laureate trying to run a marathon.

Not always, though. Michael J. Fox does a good job talking about Parkinson's. Elizabeth Taylor always did a great job talking about HIV and AIDS.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:09 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


If it doesn't matter to your life, of course you are going to think that her offhanded exclusionary comments don't matter. Personally, my facebook feed was blowing up with people of color who were angered and hurt and it's not my place to be dismissive of that. Again,it's not just about PA- it's about a history of exclusion.

I think it's about thriving on their own PC outrage. It's astonishing how people will take any opportunity to get offended.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:10 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


Not down with the mass-excoriating, but I did like and retweet this, right after Arquette's official speech: "wage gap is greater across race than gender :hair flick emoji:"
posted by naju at 12:11 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Just remember, we're all in this alone." Lily Tomlin...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 12:12 PM on February 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm no expert on 1) translating Patricia Arquette or 2) intersectionality, but my read of where she was wanting to go with it was "let's all put the lens on parenting-related gender inequality pertaining to the wage gap". Her focus was on mothers, because it's baby-making that a lot of people think causes that particular problem. I think.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:15 PM on February 23, 2015


Granted, her heart was in the right place in making her remarks. Why can't other folks' hearts also be in the right place in letting her know that they thought her backstage comments were ill-advised without being accused of tarring and feathering her?

This Ouroboros of Patricia Arquette Feelings sums it all up pretty darn well.

As for the "thriving on their own PC outrage" comment, wow. What does that even mean? How is getting huffy about some people on Twitter taking a celebrity to task for clumsy remarks not its own form of self-thriving anti-PC reactionary outrage? Punching down much?
posted by blucevalo at 12:17 PM on February 23, 2015 [20 favorites]


of course sean penn is worse - as a human, in that joke last night, just pretty much all over from top to bottom - but that doesn't mean we can't say, "hey sis - you misspoke there and (accidentally, i'm sure) stepped into a whole mess of things. this is why your off the cuff or badly prepared statements were hurtful, even if you didn't intend them that way."
posted by nadawi at 12:21 PM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Liquidwolf: "I think it's about thriving on their own PC outrage. It's astonishing how people will take any opportunity to get offended."

"why can't people just smile when others shovel shitty bullshit at them day after day after day after day until some well intentioned award winner tries to use her platform in an inept way and they just snap because jesus christ do you know how that sounds that fukken anybody owes you with a million cameras on you and a goddamn oscar in your hand for shit's sake no im sorry i was short there my bad whoops that one is totes on me lol"
posted by boo_radley at 12:21 PM on February 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


And in this way, I feel as if arquette succeeded. She's not a professor of sociology, but this is the way to get ideas into the heads of the masses: the people who didn't even know that women make 3 quarters for every dollar a man makes.

hal_c_on, it's interesting that you would say that, particularly in light of your comments in this thread and what Frowner explained that part of why people are angry about Arquette has to do with how of feminists hear "woman" and automatically think of a white, straight woman.

Because that 75 cents on the dollar number?

Comes from comparing the earnings of white women to white men.

When you compare what, say, black women make to what white men make, the gap is much, much bigger.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:22 PM on February 23, 2015 [39 favorites]


(sorry, not baby-making as cause per se but the other stuff making baby making and money making hard going)
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:22 PM on February 23, 2015


When a celeb speaks on something important, its kind of like a nobel laureate trying to run a marathon. Nobody should learn from it, but the audience should start a conversation on their own about running.

Thank you for explaining how people should take her comment. But that's not really helpful, as you seem to be clinging to the idea of what people should do as opposed to what they you're actually doing.

The comment was offensive and managed to hurt and/or a offend a certain section of the population. We could argue about whether that's right or wrong, but there's no denying people are pissed off about it. Either that's going to be addressed or not, but if it isn't, then people are going to get every angrier.

So much simpler to acknowledge that it was a messed up comment, apologize and then move on.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:27 PM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


When you compare what, say, black women make to what white men make, the gap is much, much bigger.

Oh snap. I've been yelling out that statement for years...and never even thought about it.

Thanks. I appreciate it.

Oh shit. DAMN!
posted by hal_c_on at 12:33 PM on February 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


And I KNOW this (its common sense). But damn.

thanks, joyceanmachine. you get my awesome award.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:35 PM on February 23, 2015


"why can't people just smile when others shovel shitty bullshit at them day after day after day after day until some well intentioned award winner tries to use her platform in an inept way and they just snap because jesus christ do you know how that sounds that fukken anybody owes you with a million cameras on you and a goddamn oscar in your hand for shit's sake no im sorry i was short there my bad whoops that one is totes on me lol"

Um... alrighty then. I think your calm response boiled down to: She's an awful person for saying anything., Got it
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:35 PM on February 23, 2015


So much simpler to acknowledge that it was a messed up comment, apologize and then move on.

So who's apologizing? Or are you just wanting people to expect an apology? Because that will always work out for the best, right?

If you're expecting an apology, you already give them more credit than they deserve. These are people who look good, expecting more than that is setting yourself up for disappointment.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:37 PM on February 23, 2015


Um... alrighty then. I think your calm response boiled down to: She's an awful person for saying anything., Got it"

No, not her. You, for suggesting that people not get tired of others wearing them down constantly and then dismissing people who do try to buck that grinding down as "thriving on their own PC outrage".
posted by boo_radley at 12:41 PM on February 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


that's not possible when we have Sean Penn's "green card" gem to contend with.

It's congress that made the green card a racist joke. Not sean penn.
posted by srboisvert at 12:54 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Those wage gap statistics are (grimly) fascinating; thanks for linking them, joyceanmachine. Black men with a B.A. or advanced degree have almost exactly the same wage penalty (relative to white men with the same degree) as white women. Among those with at least a B.A., the sub-group with the biggest wage penalty actually appears to be Hispanic women. And depressingly, while the gender gap seems pretty constant across "educational attainment," the race gap actually seems to get worse the higher up that scale you go.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:55 PM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


This lady on Fox News was appalled by PA's initial statement.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:55 PM on February 23, 2015


Not sure if this was in one of the links, but she's since tweeted to (attempt to?) clarify her position.

"Wage equality will help ALL women of all races in America. It will also help their children and society. Women have been basically paying a gender tax for generations. I have long been an advocate for the rights of the #LBGT community. The question is why aren't you an advocate for equality for ALL women? If you are fighting against #Equalpay you are fighting for ALL women and especially women of color to make less money than men. Guess which women are the most negatively effected in wage inequality? Women of color. #Equalpay for ALL women. Women stand together in this"
posted by naju at 12:56 PM on February 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


I think it's about thriving on their own PC outrage. It's astonishing how people will take any opportunity to get offended.


Yes, when people complain about microagressions they're "thriving on their own PC outrage" and "looking for something to bitch about".

But when you complain about these complaints, that's...different? I guess? Because reasons?
posted by DiscountDeity at 12:56 PM on February 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


The question is why aren't you an advocate for equality for ALL women?

Who does she think she is addressing this to?
posted by naoko at 12:58 PM on February 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


This lady on Fox News was appalled by PA's initial statement.

stacey dash also thinks that rape victims in college are "bad girls" who "like to be naughty." maybe we can leave her out of this (and everything, forever).
posted by nadawi at 1:01 PM on February 23, 2015 [22 favorites]


I worried that the intersectionality angle wasn't getting much play in the mainstream media. On a lark I thought I'd try to find out how a convenience sample of 8 websites was framing the story:
  • Guardian (main scroll): "Patricia Arquette takes up equal pay - an issue that has long plagued the US." Covers the intersectionality angle and applies it to the wage gap.
  • CNN (entertainment section): "Patricia Arquette's rallying cry unites Hollywood against gender inequality." Article focuses on the pay gap within the entertainment industry. No mention of intersectionality.
  • Fox News (entertainment section): "Patricia Arquette says Constitutional amendment necessary for equal rights for women," nothing on intersectionality.
  • WSJ (front page): "Behind Arquette’s Oscar Speech: Hollywood’s Pay Gap Looks a Lot Like Ours." In-depth reporting on the wage gap by industry, no mention of intersectionality.
  • Jezebel (main scroll): "Patricia Arquette: Time for Gays, People of Color to Stand Up for Women," article mostly on intersectionality. There was an earlier story filed at 10:10, but it's mostly gifs of Meryl Streep.
  • TIME: "Don’t Tear Down Patricia Arquette for a Well-Intentioned Speech," op-ed defending Arquette.
  • Salon: "“Fight for us now”: What Patricia Arquette got right (and wrong) about equal pay," explaining the pay gap and intersectionality issues together.
  • USA Today: "We were ALL Meryl Streep during Patricia Arquette's speech" more meryl streep gifs.
  • Of the four organizations that covered the intersectionality angle (Grauniad, Salon, TIME, Jezebel), only Salon and The Guardian applied intersectionality theory to the wage gap issue. Meryl Streep's reaction to the speech received the most attention, which I guess is its own argument for wider appreciation of intersectionality.
    posted by The White Hat at 1:02 PM on February 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


    Oh god that Fox News piece.
    posted by GuyZero at 1:10 PM on February 23, 2015


    I thought it was very obvious that by "gay people and people of color" she meant gay men and male people of color. Like SO obvious. Because of context and because that's a pretty common topic of conversation in the media, driven by women.

    Why anyone would assume she only meant white women by women is beyond me. I suspect many people didn't and are just enjoying stirring up controversy. People in the media, for clarity, not random people on Twitter or Facebook who might not have caught it all.
    posted by fshgrl at 1:11 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


    I wondered if Patricia Arquette's vehement words had something to do with Doogie Howser demanding Ocatavia Spencer sit down, don't move (even if her bladder was full) and make her main priority for the evening guarding his thoughts which were so precious they were delivered under lock and key. And then he kept checking on her to see if she was doing as she was told. Absolutely disgusting.
    posted by Emor at 1:13 PM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


    I thought it was very obvious that by "gay people and people of color" she meant gay men and male people of color.

    So why not just say "men"?
    posted by DiscountDeity at 1:15 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


    Not sure if this was in one of the links, but she's since tweeted to (attempt to?) clarify her position.

    Heh, classic example of "just stop digging once you're in the hole". Her heart is totally in the right place, she's just missing how her comment is coming off to some people.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:19 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


    I wondered if Patricia Arquette's vehement words had something to do with Doogie Howser demanding Ocatavia Spencer sit down, don't move (even if her bladder was full) and make her main priority for the evening guarding his thoughts which were so precious they were delivered under lock and key. And then he kept checking on her to see if she was doing as she was told. Absolutely disgusting.

    That bothered me a hell of a lot more than Arquette's speech. Especially because Spencer looked completely uncomfortable about it, which suggests she wasn't involved in the planning.
    posted by sallybrown at 1:21 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Yeah, apparently she wasn't even warned, sallybrown.
    posted by en forme de poire at 1:24 PM on February 23, 2015


    Like SO obvious. Because of context and because that's a pretty common topic of conversation in the media, driven by women.

    It's not like ignoring intersectionality is uncommon in white feminist circles. There's a reason why black women came up with womanism.
    posted by imnotasquirrel at 1:26 PM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


    I loved her speech. What a great short speech. Fabulous.
    posted by Oyéah at 1:29 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Is there a good piece somewhere on the Octavia Spencer thing? I'm honestly completely bewildered by it, as a running joke or anything else. Why pick on her? WTF? Was it just part of the mandate to show as many black people as possible during the ceremony, to offset the glaring whiteness of the nominees and winners?
    posted by naju at 1:30 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    (David Oyelowo looked ambushed and kinda mortified by NPH picking on him too)
    posted by naju at 1:32 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    “I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.”
    ― Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist: Essays
    posted by Fizz at 1:36 PM on February 23, 2015 [17 favorites]


    Certain people are bound to be incredibly pleased by this quick takedown of Arquette. By the viral intensity of "white women don't get to tell other minorities what to do" derailing the topic "all women deserve wage equality."

    So why not just say "men"?

    She was after all clearly trying to say that disenfranchised groups should work together to their mutual benefit. Just saying "men" leaves out that idea.

    Her heart is totally in the right place, she's just missing how her comment is coming off to some people.

    I don't think she's missing it. I think she's calculating that her most vocal naysayers have no intention of rallying with her no matter what she says at this point, but the explanation may smooth things over with her most sympathetic potential allies.

    Fizz: That's interesting.
    posted by xigxag at 1:46 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I thought it was very obvious that by "gay people and people of color" she meant gay men and male people of color.

    Plenty of gay men and men of color support wage equality. And I mean, I'd be okay brushing that off if she hadn't in the same breath said "all the gay people... that we've all fought for." Uh, who all, exactly? Because I can tell you there are plenty of straight women who are actually still opposed to LGBT equality, as well as those who were hella late to that particular party. If you're going to give your own marginalized group the benefit of the doubt, fine, but maybe extend that to the ones you're addressing.
    posted by en forme de poire at 1:47 PM on February 23, 2015 [15 favorites]


    Arquette has a good point; women actors are paid much less than their male actor counterparts. I remember the hullabaloo that erupted when Jennifer Lawrence's pay was compared to Bradley Cooper's pay when they were in American Hustle and she was a MUCH bigger star at the time of the filming.
    posted by Renoroc at 1:49 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    I thought it was very obvious that by "gay people and people of color" she meant gay men and male people of color.

    So why not just say "men"?

    Because people aren't always perfectly articulate? And because Fox News and the internet will take any opportunity to bash a feminist for being slightly less than perfectly inoffensive and brilliantly articulate? And likeable and jocular too ideally. And not too strident. Oh, and pretty.
    posted by fshgrl at 1:49 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    No, not her. You, for suggesting that people not get tired of others wearing them down constantly and then dismissing people who do try to buck that grinding down as "thriving on their own PC outrage".

    That's not what I said at all. I never said anything like people should put up with abuse or discrimination or whatever. Obviously no one should out up with that, but that's not what happened here.
    What I did say was that I think people are being overly sensitive, considering she clearly wasn't trying to offend and didn't even say anything out of line. I think trying to turn her words into something offensive is a real stretch.
    posted by Liquidwolf at 1:57 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    i find it pretty icky to compare fox news anti feminists to intersectional feminists/womenists who feel like she missed the mark.
    posted by nadawi at 1:58 PM on February 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


    Another fine product of the circular firing squad. Notable Person X not up to the latest orthodox methods and terminology tries to speak out for equality and gets vilified for it. News at 11.
    posted by chimaera at 1:59 PM on February 23, 2015 [20 favorites]


    I wondered if Patricia Arquette's vehement words had something to do with Doogie Howser demanding Ocatavia Spencer sit down, don't move (even if her bladder was full) and make her main priority for the evening guarding his thoughts which were so precious they were delivered under lock and key. And then he kept checking on her to see if she was doing as she was told. Absolutely disgusting.

    I'm glad I wasn't the only person who saw that. What a weird, weird uh... bit? Is that what it was? Especially alongside his crack about treason, his offhand joke to the woman who'd just talked about her son committing suicide, and his stagey use of Oyelowo. Every scripted part of the ceremony was deeply uncomfortable. Tone deaf doesn't even begin to describe it.
    posted by codacorolla at 2:02 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    nadawi, I wasn't comparing. Just the opposite.
    posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:02 PM on February 23, 2015


    roomthreeseventeen, i was speaking about a few different comments in this thread that to my reading sought to equate the two things. i wasn't entirely sure what you were saying with your comment but i wasn't referring to it in mine.
    posted by nadawi at 2:06 PM on February 23, 2015


    I need to go and look at all of the speeches and after-speech comments to make up the list of people who didn't say anything about wage inequality, the denial of human rights to groups based on gender, sexuality, age, skin colour or religion, or, in fact, didn't do anything except stand up at one of the great spectacles of the privileged and wave around an award while mouthing platitudes.

    Why aren't we discussing, in as much detail, why they didn't say anything? Yes, Patricia Arquette made a hash of something complicated and did get it wrong - no argument. She got it wrong but she was saying something and she's speaking through layers of privilege which makes it more and more offensive but the question is whether she was actually trying to do something positive or was she trying to offend people?

    She got it wrong, yes, but the first line on Google for me now is "Oscars 2015: Patricia Arquette faces backlash over comments calling for 'people of colour' to fight for women" and now the message that we liked is getting lost in the turmoil over the bits she got wrong.

    Sean Penn made a GREEN CARD JOKE but he doesn't get to lead the thread on racially offensive comments on the blue. It's ok, because he knows the guy - it's a guy thing! And now, towards the bottom of this thread, we talk about issues with NPH and his treatment of women and issues in the show. Why didn't this lead?

    Because someone whose entire career is pretending to be someone other than herself for money stumbled over saying something as herself and she said something that people found hurtful and wrong, whether intentioned or not, after saying something great that she did intend to say.

    And we lost the good message along the way. And, sadly, this plays straight into the hands of the rich men who are keeping all of this shit going. Nobody is winning. Everyone is hurting. The rich men stay rich and men stay in control. Argh.
    posted by nfalkner at 2:11 PM on February 23, 2015 [26 favorites]


    What I did say was that I think people are being overly sensitive, considering she clearly wasn't trying to offend and didn't even say anything out of line. I think trying to turn her words into something offensive is a real stretch.

    Ha, I think it's a real stretch to turn her words into something completely inoffensive. If you can't see any offense in the actual words she used (note: not the Utopian hypothetical words that she probably meant), you're being underly empathetic to the actual people she called out in her speech.
    posted by 23skidoo at 2:13 PM on February 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


    i think if mainstream feminism can't handle critiques from intersectional feminism we've got problems. we're not going to move forward if we replace the hetero normative white patriarchy with a hetero normative white matriarchy. as she might have been trying to say, we've all got to work together, and part of that is accepting criticisms when we get it wrong.
    posted by nadawi at 2:20 PM on February 23, 2015 [17 favorites]


    She got it wrong but she was saying something and she's speaking through layers of privilege which makes it more and more offensive but the question is whether she was actually trying to do something positive or was she trying to offend people?

    Actually, the winds seem to be shifting in the direction of "don't offend people and while it's nice that your heart was in the right place, you're still offending people, so cut it out. Ignorance is no excuse."

    There's been a different "Arab Spring" sort of movement that's been going on for a few years now. People are no longer are just sitting in their own space and stewing, they're Tweeting how pissed offed they are and they're finding that other people are pissed about the same thing, so there's even more anger and communication about long simmering problems.

    This is a fairly new thing, so people are still adjusting to this change. Or sometimes not!
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:23 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]



    i think if mainstream feminism can't handle critiques from intersectional feminism we've got problems. we're not going to move forward if we replace the hetero normative white patriarchy with a hetero normative white matriarchy. as she might have been trying to say, we've all got to work together, and part of that is accepting criticisms when we get it wrong.

    Yes, this exactly. Also, I really hate when people are like "the infighting is what keeps us ALL DOWN" because it seems to just mean that we should all be quiet when we have criticisms, and those of us who are underrepresented even within minority culture should just wait and keep quiet and have faith that the loudest/most accepted voices will speak for us in the best way.
    posted by zutalors! at 2:24 PM on February 23, 2015 [16 favorites]


    Actually, the winds seem to be shifting in the direction of "don't offend people and while it's nice that your heart was in the right place, you're still offending people, so cut it out. Ignorance is no excuse."

    So the answer is not say anything at all? I guess that makes things a lot easier.
    posted by tittergrrl at 2:25 PM on February 23, 2015


    No, the answer is to understand that you maybe messed up, whatever your intention.
    posted by zutalors! at 2:26 PM on February 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


    Ha, I think it's a real stretch to turn her words into something completely inoffensive. If you can't see any offense in the actual words she used (note: not the Utopian hypothetical words that she probably meant), you're being underly empathetic to the actual people she called out in her speech.

    No offense, but Your hyperbolic arguments here aren't selling me on your point. I think you're objectively wrong.
    posted by Liquidwolf at 2:26 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Frowner: I really, really wish people would read some history and then work with, like, an intelligent publicist before coming out with this stuff.
    So, before a celeb can speak passionately on a subject, they have to vet it through committee?

    Patricia Arquette's message has to be warped through some really malicious filters before her actions are "wrong", instead of merely "imperfectly stated". Hypercriticism of people who are actually, obviously allies is as huge a problem for the left as the uncritical hagiography of prominnent conservatives it for the right, IMO.

    The left loves to splinter itself. While the right obsesses on some "every sperm is sacred" anti-abortionist position, we criticize our own leaders for not getting messages of equality perfect every time.
    Frowner: Someone who actually routinely thinks that, like, black women and queer women and queer black women all exist is extraordinarily unlikely to make a speech which appears to suggest that they don't.
    Wow. You actually accused Ms. Arquette of ("likely") thinking black women and queer women and queer black women don't exist. That's beyond ridiculous.
    posted by IAmBroom at 2:27 PM on February 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


    Sean Penn made a GREEN CARD JOKE but he doesn't get to lead the thread on racially offensive comments on the blue. It's ok, because he knows the guy - it's a guy thing!

    I don't think anyone--least of all me, whose comment you seem to be referencing--said it was "okay." My spouse is here on a green card. I do not have much of a sense of humor for immigrant jokes. I certainly don't think it's some kind of dudes being dudes hilarity.

    Penn said an asshole thing that hurt a lot of people. The backstory wasn't something I brought up to absolve him. But it is pertinent information what he thought he was doing with the comment. There's no point in wrongly haranguing a guy for having smartass contempt for immigrants when that does not actually seem to be the case. But it is appropriate to criticize him being flippant about how his "joke between friends" came off stripped of context in a public forum.
    posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:28 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    So much simpler to acknowledge that it was a messed up comment, apologize and then move on.

    Even simpler to think that she was speaking impromptu, and perhaps wasn't quite as elegant as she could have been; to give her the benefit of the doubt; and to think she doesn't actually have anything to apologise for at all.
    posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:31 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    No, the answer is to understand that you maybe messed up, whatever your intention.

    That's fine in retrospect, but for every one person who says something which one might consider offensive (however major or minor), even though their "heart seems to be in the right place" and then gets a biggish backlash about it, there are many more who see it happening and may then decide not to say anything at all for fear they may inadvertently say the wrong thing and have the same thing happen to them.

    That may be a fine trade off but I could also see how it could diminish or slow actual change.
    posted by tittergrrl at 2:32 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    Wow. You actually accused Ms. Arquette of ("likely") thinking black women and queer women and queer black women don't exist. That's beyond ridiculous.

    That's not what Frowner said. You're totally trying to redirect the conversation by making it absurd.
    posted by zutalors! at 2:32 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    Notable Person X not up to the latest orthodox methods and terminology

    Such a stale canard. The problem isn't that she didn't use the "latest terminology" for gay people (is there new terminology for us that I'm unaware of?) or people of color. It's the fact that she implied that women, as a class, had been nothing but stalwart supporters of these groups without getting enough support back from them, that things like fighting homophobia and racism have had their "turn" and that it was now "time" for a focus on women, and that she ignored that plenty of people are actually in more than one of these categories. All of that could have easily been fixed with an apology and a clarification; instead she seems to have doubled down on it.

    Importantly, this isn't just about "phrasing." I actually only know her intent from what she's said. If she really does believe in a narrative where e.g. a focus on gay rights is stealing time/energy that needs to be spent on women's rights instead (and there do seem to be straight feminist women who believe something like this), then my views actually depart pretty significantly from hers.

    I think you're objectively wrong.

    Lol, "objectively"
    posted by en forme de poire at 2:33 PM on February 23, 2015 [18 favorites]


    Speaking as a non-black feminist, the idea that we're entitled to black peoples' support is laughable, ahistorical. If that's your message, you can keep it, Patricia.
    posted by yaymukund at 2:33 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


    It is pretty damn simple: Women, come together! Somehow, some way, come together.
    posted by Emor at 2:34 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    No, the answer is to understand that you maybe messed up, whatever your intention.

    That's fine in retrospect, but for every one person who says something which one might consider offensive, even though their "heart seems to be in the right place" and then gets a biggish backlash about it, there are many more who see it happening and may then decide not to say anything at all for fear they may inadvertently say the wrong thing and have the same thing happen to them.

    That may be a fine trade off but I could also see how it could diminish or slow actual change.


    Ok, so maybe that might happen. So? I'm tired of having to argue against "but they didn't MEAN it." That's quite often understood - we're all soaking in the racism/sexism/ableism etc and don't recognize the offenses that we're putting out. If people don't call it out though, how will anyone realize the problematic parts of what they're saying? I don't know how it's better to say that the critics should shut up than the people who are being criticized.
    posted by zutalors! at 2:34 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Arquette attempts to clarify on Twitter:
    Wage equality will help ALL women of all races in America. It will also help their children and society.

    Women have been basically paying a gender tax for generations.

    I have long been an advocate for the rights of the #LBGT community. The question is why aren't you an advocate for equality for ALL women?

    If you are fighting against #Equalpay you are fighting for ALL women and especially women of color to make less money than men.

    Guess which women are the most negatively effected in wage inequality? Women of color. #Equalpay for ALL women. Women stand together in this
    posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:36 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    zutalors!: Wow. You actually accused Ms. Arquette of ("likely") thinking black women and queer women and queer black women don't exist. That's beyond ridiculous.

    That's not what Frowner said. You're totally trying to redirect the conversation by making it absurd.
    That's nearly word-for-word what Frowner said. I just pointed out the absurdity. Frowner then contradicts this statement in his/her next sentence:
    Frowner: This doesn't mean that PA doesn't understand that queer women, etc, exist; it means that her intuitive, automatic understanding of the category "woman" skews "white" and "straight".
    That's a really slanted opinion of her, to claim what Patricia's "intuitive, automatic understanding" is, based solely upon one impromptu sentence made at a heart-pounding moment in her career.
    posted by IAmBroom at 2:46 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Why don't we just throw her in the river and if she floats, she's a racist who hates LGBT people?
    posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:48 PM on February 23, 2015 [16 favorites]


    The left loves to splinter itself.

    This. This, and so much, this. Thanks, IAmBroom.

    The shift towards the focus on identity politics and away from a politics based on a loose economic consensus has done much harm to this nation. We all belong to some subset of something and as long as we elevate the subset above that which ought to bring us together, then the longer certain other factions in this nation will be able to pillage the economy and impose all kinds of injustices upon all kinds of different subsets.

    It's the lack of prosperity, stupid!
    posted by CincyBlues at 2:49 PM on February 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


    is there anything in this thread that suggests that those of us critical of her comments want to tar and feather her or silence her forever or throw her in a lake? i will say the hyperbole is interesting from people who seem to be upset that, to them, the criticism is driven by outrage and hyperbole.
    posted by nadawi at 2:54 PM on February 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


    I think it was probably unfair for me to characterize her Twitter response as "doubling down," given that the stuff she said on Twitter about women of color was a lot better. But that #LGBT tweet is still super weird to me and still totally sounds like she's accusing LGBT people (or their supporters) of not supporting equal pay.

    That's nearly word-for-word what Frowner said.

    And yet you've made the meaning totally different. Your characterization of what Frowner said is that Patricia Arquette doesn't think women can be gay or people of color. What Frowner in fact said is that Patricia Arquette may not routinely think that: in other words, that she may automatically and implicitly associate "woman" with a straight white woman, even if of course she would know otherwise on an intellectual level.
    posted by en forme de poire at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    By the way, I know the world can be a pretty rough place: immigration jokes, sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.

    Just a reminder that the world can also be pretty amazing as evidenced by this comic panel. [Via: The Guardian]
    posted by Fizz at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Identity matters sometimes in regards to what issues someone might care most about. Prosperity isn't going to prevent a woman from being scared of rape on a college campus. It's not going to help a black guy who gets shot by police for no reason. It's not going to help a gay person get married in a state that forbids it. It's appealing to want to come together and work on all issues equally, but not everyone is going to have the same most immediate priorities. I really can't blame an African American or LGBT person for not seeing the wage gap as tops on their personal list.

    I need to go and look at all of the speeches and after-speech comments to make up the list of people who didn't say anything about wage inequality, the denial of human rights to groups based on gender, sexuality, age, skin colour or religion, or, in fact, didn't do anything except stand up at one of the great spectacles of the privileged and wave around an award while mouthing platitudes.

    They're putting on a show to promote their industry, not trying to change the world. As a viewer I don't mind the occasional comment but if it turned into a political rally I would tune out pretty quick.
    posted by Drinky Die at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    The shift towards the focus on identity politics and away from a politics based on a loose economic consensus has done much harm to this nation.

    The Republican's attempts to destroy labor unions, inject religion into private life and giving prominence to business interests has done the real harm
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:57 PM on February 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


    is there anything in this thread that suggests that those of us critical of her comments want to tar and feather her or silence her forever or throw her in a lake?

    I thought DirtyOldTown was joking. Unless, you were trying to make some sort of meta-point about all this. On Metafilter, no less.
    posted by FJT at 2:58 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Interpreting her remarks as evidence of her inherent ableism, racism, and homophobia are the equivalent of throwing in a lake or tarring and feathering.
    posted by feste at 2:58 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Speaking as a non-black feminist, the idea that we're entitled to black peoples' support is laughable, ahistorical. If that's your message, you can keep it, Patricia.

    Also as a non-black feminist: women should have all peoples' support in our ongoing battle to secure equal treatment, because the way things currently are is morally wrong. We are currently valued less than our male counterparts just because of our gender. That is unacceptable. Every single person in this country should be shouting from the rooftops that it's unacceptable.

    By the same principle, every single person in this country should be standing up for the Black Lives Matter movement, because, again, the way things currently are is morally wrong and unacceptable. Same goes for other issues faced by black people, same goes for issues that other people of color face, same goes for countless other issues faced by all kinds of people.

    This concept of "payback" that Arquette seemed focused on is stupid, imo - "women helped in these other movements, so we deserved to be helped also." NO! We should all stand in solidarity with each other not because of who did what in the past, but because it's wrong to treat some human beings as worth less than others.

    I wish the conversation was less "Well, screw you Patricia Arquette" and more "This is a great time to talk about intersectionality," but it's also shitty and unfair that the burden of teaching intersectionality and privilege and the rest of it always seems to fall on people of color, and at some point it just becomes exhausting to keep explaining this to every well-meaning but wrongheaded person out there.
    posted by sallybrown at 2:58 PM on February 23, 2015 [26 favorites]


    I don't know. You could get rid of gender-based wage inequality, and women of color would still be disadvantaged, because there is also race-based wage inequality. If you care about women of color, you have to care about both gender and race-based inequality, and that seems to be totally missing from her clarification tweets. I don't think she's a bad person, but I think she really doesn't get how intersectional oppression works, and that's a problem.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:58 PM on February 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


    i will say that while i don't like what she said here, i did enjoy that she recently took the general media to task over their reporting on bruce jenner and schooled them on better ways to report trans issues. i think her heart is in the right place, and hope in the future she'll continue to advocate, but maybe take some of the same type of education on intersectional issues as she was giving on trans rights
    posted by nadawi at 3:03 PM on February 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


    Also the wage gap statistics linked earlier by joyceanmachine are strong evidence against the idea that "identity politics" and economic justice are actually disjunct issues.
    posted by en forme de poire at 3:03 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    Speaking as a non-black feminist, the idea that we're entitled to black peoples' support is laughable, ahistorical.

    That sounds odd to me. I'm a feminist, and I feel like feminists are entitled to all peoples' support, just because being a feminist and supporting feminism are the right things to do. Now, I totally agree that what has been described in this thread as white feminism has no claims on black peoples' support, but I'm not sure if that's what you meant.
    posted by Aizkolari at 3:04 PM on February 23, 2015


    Interpreting her remarks as evidence of her inherent ableism, racism, and homophobia are the equivalent of throwing in a lake or tarring and feathering.

    that's absurd.
    posted by nadawi at 3:05 PM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


    All I'm hearing is don't open your mouth on these issues unless you are deeply immersed in the exact language that the other people deeply immersed will accept as non-inflammatory.
    posted by anazgnos at 3:06 PM on February 23, 2015 [20 favorites]


    that's absurd.

    Which is absurd? That people are interpreting her remarks "as evidence of her inherent ableism, racism, and homophobia" or that "evidence of her inherent ableism, racism, and homophobia" is equated with throwing in a lake or tar and feathering? Or both?
    posted by tittergrrl at 3:07 PM on February 23, 2015


    Interpreting her remarks as evidence of her inherent ableism, racism, and homophobia do are the equivalent of throwing in a lake or tarring and feathering.

    As far as I'm concerned, they're evidence of the degree to which she has internalized shitty societal norms/failed to think about the actual, real history of white, straight women ignoring and working against queer and POC communities, both in the name of feminism or otherwise.

    Does this mean she is a terrible human being? Nope. Did I appreciate, as nadawi pointed out, her recently schooling people on more respectful ways to talk about trans issues? Yes. Do I think she has excellent intentions? Yes. Have I enjoyed movies with her? Yup. Do I intend to watch movies with her in them in the future? Definitely.

    Criticism is not "tarring and feathering."
    posted by joyceanmachine at 3:08 PM on February 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


    I feel like i can't say this anywhere that's tied to my actual name without getting a fucking cruise missile launched at me by friends, but yea, i'm absolutely about to make a tone argument. Kill me.

    I am not denying, nor do i take any issue with the meat of the criticisms. I just know how much it sucks when you try and make a public statement in support of something, and the response is basically "nice try".

    Everything i've read that was against this was very angry, to the effect of "fuck you, this is garbage" sort of tone. There are people who watched this, and probably went to google more info about this sort of thing. "That was pretty good, but it missed the mark on this part" is a lot more helpful of a response than "fuck you this is crap it totally misses intersectionality and tells a bunch of people to sit down".

    This isn't hate speech, this is more of a "the answer to bad speech is more speech" situation. And yea, the context of white women only giving a shit about white women exists. I just think, and this is just like my opinion man that forward motion is forward motion. This was broadcast nationally to a fucking superbowl amount of people, and she's basically getting booed from the stands for speaking truth to power in a decent, but imperfect way.

    Getting lit on fire for phrasing, and not so much even the actual meat of the message, is why i deleted my accounts on several sites and quit talking about this kind of shit most places.

    What is someones incentive to speak about this publicly if they're going to get shit on by some of the media and the movement? I just don't get what the end goal is here. Public apology from her?

    I don't know, hostility to people who seem to want to do the right thing, are receptive to the existence of and concepts of whats going on, but just aren't all that educated yet really pisses me off. It's like getting pissed off at someone whos just learning to ride a bike for not landing a sick backflip. And it ends up being this weird mixture of perfectionism/elitism with legitimate anger that feels impossible to criticize without coming off like you're just going "your anger is invalid".

    I guess, i don't know, i feel like a lot of the anger here is unproductive? It's completely understandable, but it's just like i'm mad as hell!. I end up just being like, ok, what do you want from her? Wanting other people to speak out in a more inclusive way is cool, but what should she do now?
    posted by emptythought at 3:09 PM on February 23, 2015 [50 favorites]


    absurd is equaling criticism with physical violence.
    posted by nadawi at 3:09 PM on February 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


    To be fair, my bit was about throwing her in a river, not a lake. And yeah, it was a joke. If you've ended up seriously discussing that, I humbly apologize for inadvertently trolling you.
    posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:09 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I think she really doesn't get how intersectional oppression works, and that's a problem.

    I agree. I just wish the internet were more focused on boosting wage gap issues within an intersectional framework, and less focused on blasting Ms. Arquette. (My negative reaction leading to the phrase "tarring and feathering", by the way, was from lots of vicious stuff I saw on twitter attacking her this morning. It wasn't just one or two people making good points; it was overwhelming. Maybe I'm following the wrong sorts of people, I don't know. I think twitter progressives could stand to put less people on blast, in general. It's simply getting tiring. I realize that by saying that, I'm opening myself to "tone argument" criticisms and the like. I'll just have to deal with it.) (Or on preview, what emptythought said.)
    posted by naju at 3:10 PM on February 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


    Arquette attempts to clarify on Twitter:

    That all seems pretty solid.

    So, she mis-spoke, and she was unclear in delivering her message. It wasn't intentional, but that doesn't matter. She caused harm. It's OK to call her out on that, that's how people get better at this stuff. Sometimes it's the only way people get better at this stuff.
    posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:16 PM on February 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


    Jonathan Chait is having the best week ever.
    posted by 99_ at 3:18 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    What is someones incentive to speak about this publicly if they're going to get shit on by some of the media and the movement? I just don't get what the end goal is here. Public apology from her?

    I disagree with the notion that anyone who speaks of this publicly has to do it in such a ham-fisted way as Arquette did. The end goal should be "More people realizing that having good intentions doesn't excuse you from thinking about what you say before you speak, and thinking about what you said after you speak."
    posted by 23skidoo at 3:22 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    I'm glad I'll never win an Oscar.

    #forgottothanktheacademy
    posted by uosuaq at 3:26 PM on February 23, 2015


    naju, i can see all that. it just seems like a lot of the overblown hyperbole about how mean everyone is being isn't based on the fpp or the comments in the thread. it's like people are just yelling about what annoyed them on social media today, which, ok i guess, but does make this thread a bit disjointed. and yeah, i agree that if your twitter is filed with a lot of unproductive anger you should maybe change up your follows because i follow a bunch of people who were talking about it and i didn't really see vicious tarring and feathering.
    posted by nadawi at 3:29 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    It would appear that, at the very minimum, that Octavia Spencer isn't upset with Neil Patrick Harris, or the producers of the show.

    Tweet to NPH
    Tweet to producers Zadan & Meron

    However, those tweets could mean the following:

    1. She's playing the Hollywood game.
    2. She's unaware of the possible tone deaf/racist nature of the "gag."

    For the record, I have no idea if any of the above options are true, or if people are just "wrongly offended on her behalf." Or maybe something else entirely different is happening.
    posted by LoRichTimes at 3:32 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    DrinkyDie: Identity matters sometimes in regards to what issues someone might care most about. Prosperity isn't going to prevent a woman from being scared of rape on a college campus...

    Brandon Blatcher: The Republican's attempts to destroy labor unions, inject religion into private life and giving prominence to business interests has done the real harm

    I agree with both of your points here. I decided to become a member of this community and made my very first post about an issue of identity politics. And of course the Repubs are mostly to blame for the economic difficulties we have now, but not completely.

    Review this thread. How many comments are related to the political economy of Arquette's remarks and how many comments are related to identity politics? That should be an good indicator of the valuable point IAmBroom made with regard to the left splintering itself. My follow on comment was an attempt to expand on this notion of the left splintering itself and was suggestive of the idea that the left, because of the lack of coordinated pushback on policies that do us all harm, is culpable, too.

    The best way to drive forward on many of the issues that can be styled as identity politics is to gain power. The way to gain power is to develop a cohesive program which benefits us all, and thereby empowers those who have particular political interests that are a subset of the general welfare as a whole. And that, imo, means primarily an economic platform.

    In short, I think the divisive nature of left politics nowadays deprives all the various left subsets of the requisite power to further their agendas.

    Even shorter: Be ruthless, with ruth.
    posted by CincyBlues at 3:44 PM on February 23, 2015


    I disagree with the notion that anyone who speaks of this publicly has to do it in such a ham-fisted way as Arquette did.

    And i disagree with the notion that this is what i even said.

    My point is pretty much "imperfect speech still has value". Nowhere am i saying that this is the standard for, or that this is what public speech about this sort of thing should be.

    I just think there's a difference between massive vitriolic verbal violence and "yea that wasn't great". What naju said above is absolutely true, this was a massive angry response. Like to the point that if you could delete any quote or specific discussion of what she said, you would think she said something like the green card comment or "africans should go back to africa" or some shit.

    The response she got moved nothing towards the end goal you stated, unless it's "scare in to silence any voice that isn't sure they know exactly what they're saying beyond any reasonable doubt".
    posted by emptythought at 3:45 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    I guess, i don't know, i feel like a lot of the anger here is unproductive? It's completely understandable, but it's just like i'm mad as hell!. I end up just being like, ok, what do you want from her?

    I think this is partly a result of how Twitter and Tumblr work. They're in a weird semi-public space where you're sort of just talking to your friends/followers, and sort of talking to everybody, so expressions of anger are more in the spirit of in-group commiserating rather than Making Progress on Social Issues.

    While I don't want to imply that anyone's anger or pain is invalid, or that they shouldn't express it, I've kind of reached my limit for being able to engage with the torrent of anger or glib dismissal that inevitably gushes forth on my Twitter timeline and Tumblr dashboard any time something like this happens. It has ceased to be productive for me to either engage in it myself or engage with it.

    Also, in general I have super low expectations of people when it comes to this kind of thing, so I'm never all that offended when someone well-meaning like Patricia Arquette makes an ill-considered comment. It's like, "Good effort! Let's have a conversation about intersectionality now! See: Common and John Legend's speech." Let's talk about the message rather than the messenger.
    posted by yasaman at 3:47 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


    She was wrong about something and has not examined her privileged. She should have. We have all made mistakes and I have had privilege I took for granted too,and said things that have hurt people I never would have wanted to hurt because I didn't innately understand their experience or realize what they were going through. I think compassion and awareness of diverse perspectives is not innate, or at least, the building blocks may be but the rest is a process that requires deliberately learning about others experiences and wishes. It takes a certain degree of intelligence, emotional depth, time, motivation, health, and a lot of other factors as well as determination and work to reach a place where you have a lot of awareness of every different kind of issue facing different kinds of people in the world.

    I don't think anything badly of her for this mistake.

    I also don't think anything at all badly of people of color who are TIRED and ANGRY, not to mention exhausted, sick, poverty-stricken, over worked, under-paid, overlooked,ignored, ostracized, rejected and outright hated and mistreated-- you want to talk about a wage gap? Let's talk about a wage gap where black people earn a little over half the median income for white people.

    White women should be caring black people if we want to talk about who is most in need of being lifted up and fought for.
    "The poverty rate for African American women is 28.6 percent.13 In comparison, the poverty rate of white, non-Hispanic women is 10.8 percent."

    Which issue is more urgent? Intersectionality is great but when you're in an emergency room you prioritize those most in need and those with the most severe wounds. We're worrying about white women's paper cuts while women of color are in severe suffering and in need of resources and supports and VOICE. While white women want more birth control, they have actively fought to give women of color who are poor/young/unmarried or basically unfit by white women standards the option of birth control while resources for women who want to carry their pregnancies to term are slashed and the feminists focused on birth control as the solution to poverty, that only makes sense if you EXPECT TO BECOME WEALTHY as you age or when you marry- a hope that white women are three times more likely to find occurs for them.

    If wealth is not really a life time option, the urge to delay does not make sense, early twenties is a healthier time, nor does waiting for marriage when your men are in and out of prison and coping with addiction and trauma issues that make them more unhealthy to be around kids and less likely to stick with a marriage. Poverty is destructive to marriage and family stability and human health in general.

    As far as I'm concerned, when you make a mistake you listen to those you say you did something hurtful. You learn. You apologize. I hope that people pointing out the problems will be willing to focus on getting their needs met and not on maintaining hatred of people who have made errors. People of color wear clothes from sweatshops too... we are none of us clean of sins against each other, or of being unaware of each others suffering that we have profited from or ignored.

    I do think that the space to right wrongs is often absent or murky in these situations,and I think that space should be there. Remember Weird Al's comment? Granted it was a much less offensive comment, but nonetheless, he apologized... well. And people were pretty cool about it? All the same, unfortunate as it is that it hurts feelings ( and I do actually think that is unfortunate because there are a lot of well intentioned people in the world supporting suffering or exploitation without realizing, and the key is helping them have awareness and make change- not to destroy them or cut them off from all humanity)-- but to lift up those who are hurting, when humanity as a whole is SUPPORTING a status quo that allows that- it will cause some discomfort or pain to show people they are being harmful. We don't WANT to be harmful, it hurts to realize that, and also there area lot of people who think that if you see someone who has caused harm they need to be punished- so we're also just terrified of being called out because our culture has such a punitive way of handling human error.

    I want for these situations to both serve expanding compassion for people hurt- and to offer redemption for those who didn't understand the plight of some of their fellow human beings. We are all in this together. We are stronger when we lift each other up rather than tear each other down.

    But those in terrible suffering should not be held to as high a standard of lifting others up. Their JOB is to tell us they are suffering, they are in pain, they are not being well served. Their job is to tell those of us with more power that we are fucking up and we need to help them.

    If a kid is acting out because they haven't gotten enough food or attention- they are doing the RIGHT thing- they are showing their needs aren't being met the best way they know how.

    And because white society is designed to ignore polite requests to change (or to see them as viscous attacks) the requests get louder and angrier and carry the reality that white ignorance is not just an accident, it is designed to erase and to demean people of color and the issues their communities face. White people get psychologists. People of color get "behavioral services". Because their behavior is bad. THEY, not the horrible levels of trauma white people have put them through and are putting them through- are the problem. White married women who stay home with their kids are saints, they are so sweet and loved! They care about their kids and are creating a wonderful stable home for them! Women of color who want to stay home with their kids and need financial aid to do so are welfare queens. Feeding of the system. Leaches.

    It's time for white women in America to start fighting for women of color.

    Because in actuality THAT SHIT HASN'T HAPPENED YET.
    posted by xarnop at 3:48 PM on February 23, 2015 [23 favorites]


    we're not going to move forward if we replace the hetero normative white patriarchy with a hetero normative white matriarchy.

    If you want people to be more aware of every single facet of feminism, it's probably not a good idea to make statements that fundamentally misrepresent the entire movement AND that are espoused mainly by those utterly hostile to feminism. Unless, of course, I didn't get the memo about totally changing the entire end goal of feminism to "take over world, cackle gleefully".
    posted by fshgrl at 3:56 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    On an utterly unrelated note, I wonder what Alexis Arquette's been up to lately.
    posted by Iris Gambol at 4:07 PM on February 23, 2015


    And i disagree with the notion that this is what i even said.

    Well, I was responding specifically to this line: "What is someones incentive to speak about this publicly if they're going to get shit on by some of the media and the movement?", which to me implied that there was no way to anticipate people's response. I don't think that's true, which is what I was getting at in my response. I don't think everyone who speaks about this publicly is going to get shit on by some of the media and the movement, so to ask "Why should someone speak if they're just going to get shit on?" is going to raise the question "Does everyone who speaks get shit on, or do the words that people use factor into who gets shit on?"

    The response she got moved nothing towards the end goal you stated, unless it's "scare in to silence any voice that isn't sure they know exactly what they're saying beyond any reasonable doubt".

    Why do people have to be scared into silence? What is so scary about having to say something like:

    "After reading lots of what people had to say , I realize that when I spoke at the Oscars, I gave the impression that certain groups haven't been fighting hard enough for women's rights. I realize blahblahblah, and blahblahblah, and women's issues are one of the areas that all of us, as Americans, should work together to fix."
    posted by 23skidoo at 4:11 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


    Except that the groups are not mutually exclusive- see gay women and women of color

    Almost no groups are ever going to be completely mutually exclusive. That doesn't mean you can't ever ask for help from other groups without it being a Thing.
    posted by corb at 4:17 PM on February 23, 2015


    I apologize if I'm echoing something that has already been said, but:

    Patricia Arquette made some valuable points in her actual acceptance speech, and then said some things that were historically illiterate and offensive thereafter.

    I don't think people who are taking her to task are wrong, at all. I do think, though, that it would be unfortunate for this event to disproportionately spur conversations that are only about what one person said, because in respect of any structural problems there will always be someone who can raise a crucially-important issue and then flub it through the blindness of their social position or insensitivity (or lack of knowledge, or whatever).

    So, I hope that her speech will have two effects: first, to get people (especially White people) talking about how there's a real incumbent need, especially on us, for greater solidarity with groups that have been oppressed and continue to be oppressed by the White, heteronormative system of social control in the US; and second, to help generate more advocacy for economic justice in terms of earnings.

    Yes, she kinda fucked it up. That's totally on her, and that's just how it is. But it would be really unfortunate if her bad mistakes torpedoed the very real good that can come out of more open, honest talk about social divisions that can be made whole, like the ugly history of White feminists excluding women of color. We can hold people responsible for what they say, and talk honestly about history, without giving up on the idea that everyone has the capacity (though, again, certain classes of people have more ground to cover in terms of opening their eyes to the experiences and oppression of others) to help build genuinely inclusive, healing solidarity around an expansive conception of justice.

    I'm not trying to shut anyone down or talk down on what anyone is saying, and I'm not defending Arquette herself at all. I guess I just hope that people like Patricia Arquette will be willing to listen and open their hearts a little bit, and still have the moral courage to say "You're right, it's not that simple, and we need to listen more, because we all deserve justice, and we want to be on your side too."
    posted by clockzero at 4:21 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I wish there was video of what she said. As it is, I'd just like to include the full text of the statement.
    "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!"
    If anybody gets a hold of the audio or video, hopefully it can get posted here.
    posted by cashman at 4:40 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    The video is all over the place? Are we talking about the same video?

    http://www.theverge.com/2015/2/22/8088675/academy-awards-2015-patricia-arquette-wage-equality
    posted by GuyZero at 4:44 PM on February 23, 2015


    Whoops, maybe not. You are correct and I actually can't find the followup comments either.
    posted by GuyZero at 4:47 PM on February 23, 2015


    Yeah sorry, I found it shortly thereafter. (here)
    posted by cashman at 4:47 PM on February 23, 2015


    That doesn't mean you can't ever ask for help from other groups without it being a Thing.

    Yeah, but if you do, you should be aware of the long ugly history of white feminists telling others, y'know. Literally stay at the back of the parade and keep quiet and not talk too loud or say stuff.

    (There is so, so, so, so much more along those lines, and so much of it unfortunately more more recent than the stuff in those links, but I'm googling off the top of my head.)

    It's also not-cool to imply, as Arquette did, that the problems of gay and POC communities have been (i) Solved, and (ii) Solved due to the unanimous support of women.
    posted by joyceanmachine at 4:48 PM on February 23, 2015 [16 favorites]


    Oh, for pete's sake. Her intentions, were good, her missteps were unthinking rather than malicious. Guess what? This is 2015; it's WELL past time when white people need to stop expecting that their intentions will excuse their harm. She fucked it up. That's OK, we all fuck shit up sometimes, it doesn't make you a horrible human being or a quavering racist, it makes you a well-meaning but less-than-perfectly thoughtful person who made a mistake. But when people call you on your mistake, you don't double down and whine about how badly they're mistreating you; you say "Thank you" and you try to do better next time.

    but for every one person who says something which one might consider offensive (however major or minor), even though their "heart seems to be in the right place" and then gets a biggish backlash about it, there are many more who see it happening and may then decide not to say anything at all for fear they may inadvertently say the wrong thing and have the same thing happen to them.

    If someone is going to be swayed from trying to right injustices by the thought that they might be CRITICIZED, their commitment to justice is not particularly strong.
    posted by KathrynT at 4:50 PM on February 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


    Watching her say it rather than read it, it feels slightly better, but it still comes off as dismissive to me. But it's clear that she's saying "okay, this is bigger than all other struggles - turn your attention here". Right or wrong, it's clear she's trying to say that after all this time women still don't have adequate rights and protections, and lag behind other groups as a group, and now it's time to go all-in to change that. She starts off that part by saying that women need to start fighting for women. I mean it's easy to see how offensive it could be to all of a sudden tell everybody to put their pencils down and stop working on what they're working on and start helping on what you want them to, but if you've decided it's a state of emergency and that this problem truly surpasses others, then that's what you'd do and say. And I think that's why she hasn't changed her tune via twitter. She doesn't think she's said anything wrong, because she wants everyone to stop what they're working on and work on women's rights.
    posted by cashman at 4:54 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    And maybe not even stop what you're working on, but "turn your attention to" and devote resources toward.
    posted by cashman at 4:59 PM on February 23, 2015


    That doesn't mean you can't ever ask for help from other groups without it being a Thing.

    The point is that gay/trans women of color are women too, women who have gotten the shortest end of the stick throughout history. Why in the world would they be separated out into another category that "needs to help out women more"? makes no sense.
    posted by bearette at 5:10 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I feel like people are asking *way* too much of the Oscars.
    posted by uosuaq at 5:16 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    I feel like people are asking *way* too much of the Oscars.

    I feel like people are asking *way* too little of self-identified feminists.
    posted by joyceanmachine at 5:18 PM on February 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


    Jay Smooth (at 4:08) "When you see Patricia Arquette make that great, powerful statement on women's rights, but then stumble on the question of intersectionality... These should all be reminders that we are imperfect humans who constantly generate imperfections. And that means no matter how good you think you are, you can't just wake up every day assuming that you're a good, fair, well-rounded person. Being a good person has to be a craft that you practice every day."
    posted by cashman at 5:30 PM on February 23, 2015 [40 favorites]


    Goddamn but Jay Smooth is, well, smooth.
    posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:34 PM on February 23, 2015


    A lot of queer POC (myself included) in my network saw (or read) Arquette's on- and off-stage commentary and were like "...and who are YOU, exactly?" Then most people moved on, because it's definitely not the first time a white woman with an audience has stepped into the room and yelled "STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND HELP WOMEN," where "women" is a dog whistle for "white women" and we know it is.

    She's rightfully being called out by marginalized communities for this. If you're going to use the spotlight to open your mouth and say something of gravity then yes, do your research, and make sure that you're communicating clearly. It is not that hard, and when commenting on social oppression it is paramount that you don't erase others when talking about inequality. To claim feminism as your platform and say what she did is just...sloppy.

    And also - to reiterate, for someone who has the public's attention - incredibly unacceptable.
    posted by Ashen at 5:54 PM on February 23, 2015 [15 favorites]


    > Goddamn but Jay Smooth is, well, smooth.

    What if Daily Show? But Jay Smooth?
    posted by boo_radley at 6:53 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    After reading this thread, it seems that Arquette would have had about the same reaction on MetaFilter if she just screamed "FUCK WOMEN!" and proceeded to stare into the camera.

    I wonder how many would be allies just come to think: Why even bother?
    posted by sideshow at 6:58 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


    "Why make such a fuss over a minor concern when it was a well-intentioned gesture?"
    "We are the minor concerns."
    posted by yaymukund at 7:09 PM on February 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


    Jay Smooth is amazing and insightful as always. He's absolutely right, these stumbles should be reminders of ways in which we all stumble, as imperfect humans trying to figure out the craft of being good. I'm with him there.

    What I want to know, and he doesn't quite address, is: how do we do the dance of criticizing statements that need to be criticized, while also being somewhat forgiving of imperfect humans being imperfect? Is it part of the craft of being good to be uncompromisingly condemnatory towards Patricia Arquette, to be forgiving and charitable towards her, or somewhere in between? Do we all have to figure that out on our own? I'm getting that some people will be angry for good reasons, and I shouldn't question their anger, but I'm also on board with accepting that everyone is working out their shit and no one has it all figured out (h/t Harris Wittels). So I'm at a loss in responding, and it seems like a Catch-22.
    posted by naju at 7:15 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    Your "minor concern" is a completely made-up thing. I don't believe RA for one minute meant was you say she did--that women of color and gay people need to just take a back seat until white women get what they want. It is a nasty implication.
    posted by feste at 7:17 PM on February 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    Ok I've been slow on the uptake today, missed the backstage stuff earlier. Well-intentioned but yes in need of correction (both me and PA probably). Jay Smooth is great.

    Is it part of the craft of being good to be uncompromisingly condemnatory towards Patricia Arquette, to be forgiving and charitable towards her, or somewhere in between?

    I don't know and I guess it's not for me to say. I can appreciate the anger; but also people get their backs up when the criticism is personal and not about the message (and even then). Maybe everyone just does the best they can when they can with what they have.
    posted by cotton dress sock at 7:18 PM on February 23, 2015


    Oy vey.

    I respect Patricia Arquette enough to believe that she is sincere in her desire to be an advocate for women. And if she's going to be an advocate for women, she will be more effective if she learns to be better at it. If she'd said "fuck women," then I wouldn't care about her. She would just be an awful person whom I would write off. But since she cares about this thing that I also care about, I want her to do it well. And that means not doing things like talking about "women" and "gay people" and "people of color" as if those are mutually exclusive categories, or not demanding the support of gay people and people of color as if you take for granted that you get to set the agenda for women and then they owe you their support.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:22 PM on February 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


    Perhaps not the exact same concern, sideshow, but, yes, I worry about how many people are now being advised by their PR people to not even try it next year. That's not an outcome that helps this. Let's see what happens next year - my money is on people saying nothing rather than reading a 10 page long speech that is the perfect statement of inclusion and support that every person in the world is entitled to but will not fly as an Oscar speech or in off-the-cuff remarks.

    Let's talk about a great speech - "I Have a Dream". When I first read Reverend King's speech in its entirety, it spoke to me so deeply but, heck, it's a long speech. It's a speech from a different time, from a different speaker, from someone who wrote words like that from the fire for change. At a place where a big group of people would stand for 10 minutes and listen to a speech that would change the world. It's not an Oscars speech or a rapid video after the ceremony.

    Ms Arquette's speech is the dumb quote on the back of a bus ticket by comparison. Short on words, high on sentiment, shallow in concept except around the key point of equality for (all) women. "I have a Dream" is nearly 1700 words (roughly 10 minutes) and it still doesn't quite convey everything because getting complicated issues into words that people will listen to is hard. "I have a Dream" is a speech that we should read every week because we're not done yet and the dream has to be kept alive. But the amount of work that went into it is obvious. The amount of thinking and work that went into what got said at the Oscars is also obvious - and it's not that much. The good message is obscured by another and that second message is hurting people. That hurt is genuine. But, as always, it's what you do about that hurt that determines what happens in the future.

    Ms Arquette is an actor. She wanted to say something about women and, through her lens of privilege and lack of appropriate education, she then went on to say something offensive about other communities. She's not a great writer or a great orator or a fine and upstanding statesperson looking to radicalise an entire group of people to overthrow oppression. She screwed up. Yes, she should have done better. Will what is happening to her now make that happen? I think there are many different ways to handle misspeaking (and even malign intent) without making it look as if any expression that isn't perfect will get this kind of reaction.

    I oppose the colonising dominance of language by the status quo and the so-called "traditional" with every fibre of my being - equality starts as a concept but is enacted through word, thought and deed in every moment of our lives. I'm not asking people to "shut up" or "behave" or "be more polite", because that's damn offensive to people who have been ignored and abused for so long, but I am asking if the same level of genuine hurt and sense of disrespect could have been conveyed in a way that was more likely to lead to more productive advocacy. I see a lot of rage. I see a lot of nasty stuff in the Twitter feed. And, as I noted earlier, I see a lot of people who are part of the problem in the treatment of women rubbing their hands together with glee as the conversation addresses an important issue but at the expense of another important issue. Yes, she could have been better. Should the response have been? I'm not sure. I'll need to see what comes from this. I hope I'm wrong and this leads to a flourishing of active support for the affected groups.

    I worry about how many people are scared out of their first step into activism because they're going to be howled at for not being word perfect - or concept perfect. The insidious nature of colonising language and dominant paradigms pollutes people even as they try to change. It's rare to see someone's soul get saved all in one go so it's important to support those who try, if their attempts are genuine and incrementally improving. Yes, their commitment to justice should be strong enough to override such fear but, well, people.

    Equal rights for all is shamefully and disgustingly long overdue at a global scale and we need to keep fighting to fix this because it is absolutely and totally wrong. Her words should have been called out and inspected, addressed and fixed up. I just wonder, with a great deal of concern, if this was the best way to do it.

    We need people on board to drive change. Frail, stupid, misstepping, under-informed, trying to do it and getting wrong people who will stay in the community and get stronger and better and one day will get it right. I'm sorry that we haven't fixed the world yet, for all of those people who are so deeply effected by injustice, discrimination and inequality. I hope that something positive comes out of this to make things better for everyone for the future.
    posted by nfalkner at 7:37 PM on February 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


    And I've just noticed that I misspelled affected because I changed the sense of the sentence in rewriting. Damn.
    posted by nfalkner at 7:53 PM on February 23, 2015


    Intent is a cultured construct. That is, when you excuse someone's behavior (their speech and actions) by positing knowledge of their intent, you are already presuming that we all share the same theory of mind.

    I guess the idea I'm trying to suggest is that liberal thinking does not, as a matter of principle, lend itself to making this kind of presumption.
    posted by polymodus at 8:08 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    It's also not-cool to imply, as Arquette did, that the problems of gay and POC communities have been (i) Solved, and (ii) Solved due to the unanimous support of women.

    Come on. In no way did she imply this. She said we've fought for you guys. How's about returning the favor. That's not implying that the first fight's all over.
    Maybe because she's a white woman, and so we're going to judge her by what other white woman have said and done. That's the implication I'm getting.

    where "women" is a dog whistle for "white women" and we know it is.

    So to be clear, she's not being judged for what she actually said, but for what we "know" she meant because, that's what white women mean when they say "women"? And that line of reasoning is acceptable?

    But anyway, so what? She is after all a white woman. That's still an oppressed group. She's allowed to to be concerned about white women's issues preferentially over the interests of other groups. That's not erasure. That's, I'll talk about my ish on my time, and you go ahead and talk about your ish on your time. Everybody doesn't have to be all-inclusive. So long as we agree that we each get a turn at the mic, it'll all come out. To requote fizz's quote of Roxane Gay:

    “I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.”

    After all Kanye West didn't blurt, "George Bush hates Middle Easterners. And Mexicans. And Socialists. And Atheists. And QTGLB people. And the various intersections of those groups. But right now I apologize in advance for selfishly pointing out that he hates BLACK people."

    And if she's going to be an advocate for women, she will be more effective if she learns to be better at it.

    On general principle sure but that goes for everyone. If people who are expressing incredible outrage over her statements have the intent of making her into a better advocate, they are not in my opinion being effective. If their intent is to shut her ass down and humiliate her, and let's fast forward a couple of days to the insincere apology and lingering resentment on both sides, then kudos. I'm not saying people shouldn't criticize her or express their outrage. But just as she is experiencing unintended consequences for not moderating her thoughts, likewise our passionate, unmoderated words may lead to the consequence that she and others like her will decide it's not worth their effort to collaborate with us. But if people are fine with that then so be it.
    posted by xigxag at 8:17 PM on February 23, 2015 [19 favorites]


    Come on. In no way did she imply this.

    No, in every way she did. I don't think it was intentional, but she did.
    posted by Drinky Die at 8:22 PM on February 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


    I feel like feminists are entitled to all peoples' support

    women should have all peoples' support


    It should extend both ways though and, often, it doesn't; feminism is largely dominated by educated white upper/upper-middle class "professional" cis women who are a bit oblivious to the (often more serious) issues faced by others. It doesn't feel especially remarkable for someone in that bubble to prioritize their own issues over others', because that happens all the time. People who face higher risk of things like rape/murder/violence/mutilation/homelessness/whatever aren't often super eager to drop that and focus instead of more abstract, less severe issues.

    It looks like she tried to say, "We should all, as oppressed groups, band together to affect positive change!" which is 100% good. But there is a history of oblivious privileged people regarding themselves and their own concerns as the top priority which colors that differently. We aren't all oppressed evenly, and we don't often stand as closely together as would be ideal. It's awkward to be called to battle by people you feel won't bother to defend you when you need it.
    posted by byanyothername at 8:23 PM on February 23, 2015 [12 favorites]


    The problem, in my mind, is that being somewhat fluent about american history is portrayed like becoming a perfect level-10 political correctness expert. These are the people on whose blood and sweat she's earned her fortune in a time where we have highly publicized deaths of black youth every other week.

    xigxag: " She said we've fought for you guys. How's about returning the favor. "

    That's exactly what she didn't do. She didn't ask. She specifically addressed poc and gays and told them it was time to fight for women.
    posted by yaymukund at 8:29 PM on February 23, 2015 [4 favorites]



    After all Kanye West didn't blurt, "George Bush hates Middle Easterners. And Mexicans. And Socialists. And Atheists. And QTGLB people. And the various intersections of those groups. But right now I apologize in advance for selfishly pointing out that he hates BLACK people."


    The problem of claiming things like "whites care about whites, blacks care about blacks" aside, this is a terrible comparison because Kanye was talking about Katrina specifically, in a context that was all Katrina. And he said "doesn't care about" not "hates."

    He also said a lot of more specific things about what he meant by "George Bush doesn't care about black people." In the context of Hurricane Katrina specifically, among a few other things.

    She said we've fought for you guys. How's about returning the favor.


    If this is what she was trying to say, and I don't think that's what she was trying to say, that would be incredibly tone deaf.

    I don't think she was intentionally trying to do it, but she was basically using white as a default, and she shouldn't have done that. It's understandable how she could have done it, but it still is a statement that deserves criticism. Not hate or violence or whatnot, but pushback so she can work on what she says and how she says it.
    posted by zutalors! at 8:42 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Speaking out publicly on issues of equality: it's not for amateurs.
    posted by anazgnos at 10:07 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I wonder how many would be allies just come to think: Why even bother?

    The sign of a shitty ally is exactly this reasoning, that a) it's enough to just make a vague attempt at support and you deserve cookies for that and b) threatening to take your toys home if you don't get your cookies.
    posted by MartinWisse at 1:40 AM on February 24, 2015 [18 favorites]


    I wonder if a bunch of actresses got together and talked about feminism before this Oscars? TV Guide had a weird article showing a BUNCH of actresses (and an actor) calling out the patriarchy, such as: Aniston et al rejecting the mani cam, Witherspoon campaigning for better questions than "who are you wearing?", Cate Blanchett calling out a cameraman for panning her over bottom to top, saying "would you do that to a male actor?", and Steve Carrell wearing feminist cuff links to the show and getting thanked about it by Emma Watson. So was this speech part of a concerted movement?
    posted by onlyconnect at 4:28 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


    It's probably too much to hope for this thread, but it would be nice if some folks discovered a better understanding of the epistemological differences between the verbs "to imply" and "to infer."
    posted by CincyBlues at 5:01 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


    It's also not-cool to imply, as Arquette did, that the problems of gay and POC communities have been (i) Solved, and (ii) Solved due to the unanimous support of women.

    Come on. In no way did she imply this. She said we've fought for you guys. How's about returning the favor. That's not implying that the first fight's all over.


    Honestly, if you're paraphrasing her words as "We've fought for you guys. How's about returning the favor?" that's no better than the implication that the problems of gay and POC communities are solved.

    "We've fought for you guys. How's about returning the favor" implies that women have fought for gay rights and POC rights, and that gay people and POC have NOT fought for women (or haven't fought hard enough), and that those groups need to correct that and fight for women.
    posted by 23skidoo at 5:52 AM on February 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


    Interpreting her remarks as evidence of her inherent ableism, racism, and homophobia are the equivalent of throwing in a lake or tarring and feathering.

    ...you what? A physical assault that leaves someone literally covered in a disgusting, potentially carcinogenic substance, and feathers as a form of humiliation is equivalent to interpreting her remarks a certain way?

    How is there even remotely an equivalence there? Would it be proportionate for Arquette to travel round the world, literally pouring tar and feathers over every last person who has interpreted her comments at the Oscars a certain way and tweeted about it? Because that's what equivalence would look like.
    posted by Dysk at 5:56 AM on February 24, 2015


    She has been tweeting.

    "I don't care if people are pissed The truth is that wage inequality adversely effects women." Along with a list of the consequences of gender inequity. 1 out of 8 women is poor. Women are half as likely to receive a pension as men. Pension benefits for women are only half as large as those of men. Women are 42% more likely to live in poverty than men. 75% of elderly Americans in poverty are women. The gap in poverty rates between men and women is wider in America than anywhere else in the Western world.

    "Did you know that a disproportionate amount of children living below the poverty line are from single female households? @ERAeducation"

    "This is a call to action. Women are being discriminated and it is having serious consequences on them and their children."

    "My children are not living below the poverty line. That does't mean I don't care about the kids who are. DO YOU? Then help their moms."

    And her most recent tweet is a link to How the wage gap hurts families .
    posted by cashman at 6:10 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


    It's awkward to be called to battle by people you feel won't bother to defend you when you need it.

    Not to over defend her, but I think that's what Arquette was saying, too. "I've worked hard and long to help other people, please work to help us, too."

    I don't think its wrong to ask this, even if racism and LGBT issues aren't "fixed" yet (and I don't think she said they were). I do think it's wrong to treat feminism like it comes last, after racism and LGBT rights.
    posted by onlyconnect at 6:11 AM on February 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


    It's a strange implication to say that people of color aren't helping women. It makes no sense.
    posted by zutalors! at 6:56 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


    i think it's just as wrong to treat feminism like it comes first or to pretend like (white) feminists have been wholly supportive of the rights of lgbt people and/or people of color. it's especially galling since black people and trans people are being killed at alarming rates. the wage gap is important (but should be tackled on gender, racial, and economic lines) but to act like it's the number one most important, drop everything else type of problem shows either ignorance or callousness.
    posted by nadawi at 7:14 AM on February 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


    Speaking out publicly on issues of equality: it's not for amateurs.


    Good point. Since it's always possible that I might neglect to mention some specific subcategory of persons, I will no longer speak out against inequality.
    posted by mikeand1 at 7:24 AM on February 24, 2015


    Honestly, this is why I post absolutely nothing of substance on my Facebook (or for that matter, Metafilter) account. I read and listen to just about everything that comes across my plate, but I don't want to say something or repost a link that causes unintended pain or perpetuates misinformation. And so I say nothing, which somehow doesn't seem like the best response. On the other hand, nobody on the Internet has gotten upset at me lately.
    posted by redsparkler at 7:40 AM on February 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


    It's probably too much to hope for this thread, but it would be nice if some folks discovered a better understanding of the epistemological differences between the verbs "to imply" and "to infer."

    im·ply
    verb
    strongly suggest the truth or existence of (something not expressly stated).

    in·fer
    verb
    deduce or conclude (information) from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements.


    So you are saying that we are inferring but she didn't imply? I disagree. I think that her followup tweets are about how important the wage gap is rather than acknowledging the unique other challenges LGBT and African American people face is a sign that she really does feel everybody should come together and focus on that issue. That's not evil or anything, it is a massively important issue, but it remains tone deaf when it is centered around a call for help from groups facing many, many important issues that don't intersect with the concerns of white women.
    posted by Drinky Die at 7:44 AM on February 24, 2015


    redspark, I say offensive stuff a lot online, I've found that people respond very well to a humble apology if it isn't something totally over the top. Don't be afraid to share.
    posted by Drinky Die at 7:47 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


    linking to this comment about allies, expectations, and cookies because it's so true. if you're too scared to speak out for disadvantaged groups that's something to examine within yourself, not something that the group you're supporting needs to fix.
    posted by nadawi at 8:00 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


    I don't want to say something or repost a link that causes unintended pain or perpetuates misinformation. And so I say nothing, which somehow doesn't seem like the best response.

    To me, the next step is to continue to educate yourself and learn until you can make good statements. You can say nothing for now while you learn and grow, but there's no need to say nothing forever.
    posted by cashman at 8:02 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Good point. Since it's always possible that I might neglect to mention some specific subcategory of persons, I will no longer speak out against inequality.

    Another choice is that since it's always possible that one might speak imperfectly, one should continue to speak out against inequality, but also work in an additional responsibility to listen to the responses of people who were being addressed, and to treat one's mistakes as opportunities to learn and become better at speaking.

    Why is there always this idea that people should just 1) say nothing about important issues because they might say something imperfect, instead of 2) go ahead and say something that might be imperfect, then learn about how it was imperfect, then try not to say similar things in the future?
    posted by 23skidoo at 8:02 AM on February 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


    I think it's uncharitable to interpret her comment as saying "issues affecting POC and LGBQT people are solved" or "stop working on issues affecting POC and LGBQT people and work on this instead" rather than "for those who aren't already, please pay attention and speak up on this issue also." My being an outspoken feminist does not prevent me from also working against other -isms. I've never interpreted someone's call for justice or awareness in another arena as a message to quit caring about and working toward gender equality.
    posted by sallybrown at 8:19 AM on February 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


    Why did she tell us it was "time"? Time for what? It reminds me of MLK's "urgency of the moment" from his I have a dream speech. What does she want poc and gays to do differently than what we've been doing for the past 100 years?
    posted by yaymukund at 8:22 AM on February 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


    It seems like most things reveal themselves as flawed and imperfect if you look into them. No movements or ideas fit themselves perfectly into one or two casual sentences, and they probably shouldn't be able to. If I can spend a few minutes of research time to discover the limitations of something, then I usually don't feel educated enough or optimistic enough to unpack it on social media for other people. I understand that's more about me than it is about them, but I also feel like discussing anything online lacks a lot of the easy give and take of a real life conversation, and anything can easily be taken out of context.
    posted by redsparkler at 8:28 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Seriously, maybe consider what earlier generations of women went thru for you to be able to say (like it is so obvious):
    Another choice is that since it's always possible that one might speak imperfectly, one should continue to speak out against inequality, but also work in an additional responsibility to listen to the responses of people who were being addressed, and to treat one's mistakes as opportunities to learn and become better at speaking.
    Another choice is one speaks their mind and gets one's ass beat at home in front of one's little baby girls and boys.
    posted by Emor at 8:32 AM on February 24, 2015


    What??
    posted by cashman at 8:45 AM on February 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


    Seriously, maybe consider what earlier generations of women went thru for you to be able to say (like it is so obvious):

    I'm not seeing the connection between a woman who speaks up to her abusive husband and gets beaten, and a woman who speaks up about women's rights at an awards show in a way that rightly offends the people she wants help from. I wasn't trying to say that no one should consider the consequences of their speech, but I think the consequences for Arquette are that she learns better ways to say "Hey! Let's all help out women!", which is a pretty minor consequence compared to domestic abuse. If you can more clearly outline the offensiveness in what I wrote, I'd like to hear it. I understand that there are numerous reasons why someone might not want to speak up about something, but I think "because people on social media might point out how my language could be better" is a bad reason for not speaking up about social issues.
    posted by 23skidoo at 8:48 AM on February 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


    So you are saying that we are inferring but she didn't imply?

    No. I'm saying that fewer shorts would be bunched up if people were were more facile on the distinction. Adding now a suggestion that a bit more nuance is required beyond simple dictionary definitions.

    is a sign

    A good place to start.
    posted by CincyBlues at 8:53 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Why did she tell us it was "time"? Time for what? It reminds me of MLK's "urgency of the moment" from his I have a dream speech. What does she want poc and gays to do differently than what we've been doing for the past 100 years?

    First of all, she wasn't just talking to people of color and people who identify as LGBQT, she was identifying those (ongoing) battles as movements in which women have participated (including women of color and women who identify as LGBTQ). Second of all, just like a large amount of women failed in the past to stand up and fight for other issues (and continue to fail to do so, as has been rightfully pointed out), plenty more people -- white people, people of color, cis people, straight people, LGBTQ people -- could and should be standing up and fighting for gender equality than currently are. It was a call to action. There is nothing about even the "fierce urgency of now" that translates to "this is the only thing you should be fighting for."
    posted by sallybrown at 9:04 AM on February 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


    That's not evil or anything, it is a massively important issue, but it remains tone deaf when it is centered around a call for help from groups facing many, many important issues that don't intersect with the concerns of white women.

    Except for Cubans and North Koreans, maybe, we all effectively live in a global capitalist system now, and the wage gap hurts everyone, irrespective of our personal color, creed, identity, or orientation. Just because she's white doesn't invalidate what she says or how important it is to push for a system that pays the same wages for the same work.
    posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:20 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


    If she didn't want to talk to people of color and gay people specifically, then she shouldn't have name dropped people of color and gay people specifically.
    posted by yaymukund at 9:20 AM on February 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


    Really wish we could get past this "Well, if we cannot say something good without offending some small population, perhaps we shall not say anything at all!" sort of catastrophising reaction to any complaint from intersectionality. More and more it seems to resemble the "Well, soon we shall not be able to say anything at all about other races / immigration / gay people!" that we're all grindingly familiar with.

    And I wish the handful here who only contribute by gleefully jumping in with both boots about "leftist infighting" or whatever, without having any beyond that to add, could wind it in a bit.
    posted by ominous_paws at 9:23 AM on February 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


    I would have LOVED it if she'd called out white people or rich celebrities in that list, but that would put her own privilege and expertise at stake. She'd have been calling out the very people that gave her the award. But frankly, they're also the people with the most power to change things. It would have been more difficult for her to say, but I think also more precise.
    posted by yaymukund at 9:33 AM on February 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


    [A couple comments removed; riffing on domestic violence or sexual assault to score rhetorical points is a really bad idea, please be more careful about that.]
    posted by cortex (staff) at 9:48 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


    No. I'm saying that fewer shorts would be bunched up if people were were more facile on the distinction. Adding now a suggestion that a bit more nuance is required beyond simple dictionary definitions.

    I'll be honest, I don't get what you are saying here still.

    Except for Cubans and North Koreans, maybe, we all effectively live in a global capitalist system now, and the wage gap hurts everyone, irrespective of our personal color, creed, identity, or orientation. Just because she's white doesn't invalidate what she says or how important it is to push for a system that pays the same wages for the same work.

    Yes, but being shot for being the wrong skin color isn't something that hurts white women, aside from indirectly. You can see why people of color might want to focus more on that and leave the wage gap issue to the people with greater political power and influence that it is also hurting.
    posted by Drinky Die at 9:51 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


    She has been tweeting.

    It's like she made a MetaTalk post and is determined to win it.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:57 AM on February 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


    i think it's just as wrong to treat feminism like it comes first or to pretend like (white) feminists have been wholly supportive of the rights of lgbt people and/or people of color. it's especially galling since black people and trans people are being killed at alarming rates. the wage gap is important (but should be tackled on gender, racial, and economic lines) but to act like it's the number one most important, drop everything else type of problem shows either ignorance or callousness.

    No one said feminism comes first. Saying "it's time for equal rights" doesn't mean drop everything else. Arquette herself during her speech promoted the organization GiveLove, which supports green development in Haiti! Not even Arquette is dropping everything else to fight only for equal rights for women, so although I understand the concern it doesn't seem fair to suggest that's what Arquette wants them to do.

    When you say that Arquette's call to action for equal rights is galling because black people and trans people are being killed at alarming rates, to me that sounds like you are saying that in a way feminism does come last behind racism and LGBT issues. As though equal wages and treatment for women are not important enough to merit attention, because other people are dying. For what it's worth (as I suspect you know), women also are dying at increased rates -- specifically in poverty during childbirth -- in 1990, the maternal mortality rate in America was 12.4 women per 100,000 births. In 2003, it was 17.6. In 2014, it's 18.5. Experts say it's from a combination of poverty and lack of access to proper health care.
    posted by onlyconnect at 10:06 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


    I may not be expressing myself clearly here, let me try one more time and then I'll leave it to you guys.

    She is 100% correct that the wage gap is a very intersectional issue. She seems to think, even in followup tweets, that this means everybody should be on board with focusing on it. In my view, that doesn't really follow. Because it impacts so many people, it already has lots of people working on it and real progress has been made. For example, the Lily Ledbetter act was recently signed into law.

    Lots of progress has also been made for homosexual people, but gay marriage, the lynchpin of that progress, could easily fall to a conservative Supreme Court. Meanwhile, trans gender people have gotten very little of the reforms they need passed at all. We have made close to no progress on reforming the racist criminal justice system, with reducing some of the disparity in mandatory minimums being about the best we have done so far.

    These issues don't generally intersect with the concerns of most white women or men so people of color and trans folks generally have to fight those battles alone and uphill. The resources may not be available to shift to the wage gap by simple reason of triage, not when that battle is already being fiercely fought by others better equipped to handle it.
    posted by Drinky Die at 10:09 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


    The truth is that wage inequality adversely effects men as well.

    I think flarbuse had it from the outset. Inequality is propogated by in-fighting among the oppressed and oppressing those at thetop of that system by giving them the perception of privilege.
    Inequality affects everyone.
    And what's not often said is that it's in everyone's self-interest to put an end to it. Beyond the obvious moral rectitude.
    You don't have to pay a privileged class person what the job is really worth, you only have to pay him more than a minority to get him to buy in to the system.
    "hey, you're making more than them" is the scam.
    And that applies to pretty much any inequitable situation. Today it's this one or that one. Tomorrow it's you. Inevitably, as history has shown.

    That's the beauty of the Martin Niemoller quote.
    posted by Smedleyman at 10:16 AM on February 24, 2015


    to me that sounds like you are saying that in a way feminism does come last behind racism and LGBT issues.

    nope. the wage gap is a race and lgbt issue (so it's weird that pa separated those groups out to step up as if they aren't suffering disproportionately) - also the wage gap isn't the only feminist or racial or lgbt issue. to say "hey, some of those people you called out are actually busy staying alive, maybe call on your own groups a little more or just leave it as a general statement of us all working together" isn't saying feminism goes last.

    i just keep coming back to, people should stick to speaking on what they know. it seems obvious she's not that great on intersectional issues, but is pretty good on mainstream feminism issues - you can stick to mainstream feminism without throwing intersectional groups under the bus. i think she failed at that this time. i hope she does better next time. like i said way up thread - i hope this results in her taking the kind of education she gives on other issues.
    posted by nadawi at 10:16 AM on February 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


    That transgendered people are more visible than ever is almost certainly a consequence of the successes made in the struggle for equal protection for gays and lesbians, which has led the public to consider more clearly the question of what it means to treat others with fairness and dignity, in the context of legal rights and access to basic services. Gay marriage was never an end in itself, but another important brick put down to build a longer road. Developments in the last few years make that fact clear and I hope more understand and acknowledge that fact as time goes on and things continue to get better.
    posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:19 AM on February 24, 2015


    onlyconnect: When you say that Arquette's call to action for equal rights is galling because black people and trans people are being killed at alarming rates, to me that sounds like you are saying that in a way feminism does come last behind racism and LGBT issues. As though equal wages and treatment for women are not important enough to merit attention, because other people are dying. For what it's worth (as I suspect you know), women also are dying at increased rates -- specifically in poverty during childbirth -- in 1990, the maternal mortality rate in America was 12.4 women per 100,000 births. In 2003, it was 17.6. In 2014, it's 18.5. Experts say it's from a combination of poverty and lack of access to proper health care.

    All very good points, but it does rather miss the central issue here, which is that people who are at severely disproportionate risk of being violently killed merely for walking down the street (such as people of colour and trans people) might be more concerned with tackling the issues that lead to this kind of risk (and nevermind all the doesn't-quite-kill-you stuff that goes along with the stark murder statistics). Effectively calling them out for having that focus is, well, not the nicest thing you can do.
    posted by Dysk at 10:20 AM on February 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


    ...and I suppose more tellingly, trans women ARE WOMEN and are generally more concerned with tackling healthcare access and basic safety issues than the wage gap because they are more pressing for (many or most) of us.

    Like, getting paid the same as everyone else would be awesome, and it is definitely an unacceptable state of affairs that women and minority groups are so underpaid compared to white men, but when you can't get anyone to give you a job in the first place, well, you've got other things to worry about first. Not begrudging anyone their focus or work on the wage gap or any other issue that affects them, but don't come telling us where to put our time and effort.
    posted by Dysk at 10:36 AM on February 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


    Effectively calling them out for having that focus

    But she didn't do that, and I think reading her as doing so is ungenerous. She never asked anyone to pay attention to equal pay above all else, just to support it. As I said above, Arquette herself promoted the Haitian relief organization she has been contributing to before mentioning equal pay, so multitasking is certainly within her wheelhouse. I don't think she's necessarily asking for more support than simply saying, "I support equal pay for equal work."
    posted by onlyconnect at 10:43 AM on February 24, 2015


    Arquette herself promoted the Haitian relief organization she has been contributing to before mentioning equal pay, so multitasking is certainly within her wheelhouse.

    That's still asking people to split their focus, and their efforts.

    I don't think she's necessarily asking for more support than simply saying, "I support equal pay for equal work."

    That's not what I'd call "fighting for" something (which is what Arquette called for).
    posted by Dysk at 10:46 AM on February 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


    I think it's possible that Arquette's speech was a little white feminism AND that callout culture does more harm than good.

    A few years ago when I was enthusiastic but not educated on intersectionality I would write and talk about homophobia and racism and transphobia. The more I learned, the less I spoke about these issues (as a straight white cis person), to the point where today I would never, ever start a conversation on those topics because they are not mine to talk about. On the one hand that's great -- no busting into marginalized spaces filling everyone in on the latest opinions from planet White Lady -- on the other hand there are conversations about these issues, conversations that mostly focused on converting other white, straight, cis people to allies, that are now never being had. It's confusing that the more I care about these issues the less I feel I can talk about them at all to any audience.

    I know that "intent is not magic" was a big thing in Social Justice circles a few years ago and that's a valuable message, but I feel like we've swung a little too far in the other direction where intent counts for nothing. I would never get on Twitter or whatever and tell a black person to not feel slighted by Arquette's comment because it's none of my damn business, but personally I try to acknowledge intent more when looking at feminist issues and controversies.
    posted by jess at 10:50 AM on February 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


    Well, look, I think people would feel much better about all of this if she said "I spoke off the cuff and probably didn't put it as clearly as I should have. I'm aware that the mainstream feminist movement has a history of ignoring the issues and voices of LGBT women and women of color, and I respect the need for those women to set their own priorities. I look forward to listening to the perspectives of a wide variety of women and to working together to advance an agenda that will benefit all of us." And then she could listen to lots of different women and work together to advance an inclusive agenda and everyone would benefit, yay!
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:55 AM on February 24, 2015 [14 favorites]


    No one said feminism comes first.

    You know, I'm not comfortable with leaving that as a platitude blanket general statement. Feminism does come first with me, and I'm totally okay with that. Women are getting murdered in massive numbers all over the globe. White women and women of color, trans and cisladies alike. We are all getting murdered, often in intimate partnerships, in part because we are not valued as equals because of our gender. Is the wage gap the most important fight? No - just like for many, marriage equality was probably not the most important fight that the LGBT community could have engaged in.. But like marriage equality, the wage gap is the fight that is most achievable and so it is completely understandable that she would speak about it. And the wage gap is one of the pillars propping up this sense of women as unequal and disposable and ripe for violence, rape, and murder.
    posted by corb at 11:12 AM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Arquette's latest tweet on the subject: "Don't talk to me about privilege. As a kid I lived well below the poverty line. No matter where I am I won't forget women's struggle."

    I find this amusing because this whole controversy came about because she didn't understand intersectionality. With that first sentence, well, she's kinda reinforcing that point, isn't she?
    posted by imnotasquirrel at 11:32 AM on February 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


    The thing about marriage equality, though, is that it's sort of propter hoc to say that it was the "most achievable." It was the most achievable in part because groups like the HRC made a decision to focus all of their energy on it. And they did this literally at the expense of other aims, like a version of ENDA that would protect trans people from employment discrimination. Part of this was pretty explicitly transphobia on the part of gay activists, even quite recently (fyi, some frank nastiness quoted at that link).

    a lungful of dragon, this also explains why what you wrote above was not historically accurate. Trans people are visible today largely in spite of big mainstream groups like the HRC, not because of them.
    posted by en forme de poire at 11:32 AM on February 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


    And I wish the handful here who only contribute by gleefully jumping in with both boots about "leftist infighting" or whatever, without having any beyond that to add, could wind it in a bit.

    The verbal wounds that leftists continually inflict on each other is no cause for glee. I don't think anyone here feels that emotion. And to suggest that those of us who don't think that this latest example of self-immolating navel-gazing is healthy for the left in general ought to (mostly) shut up is not very helpful at all.

    Tearing down a person because she didn't say "X" exactly the way one might have wished her to express her concern is possibly not the best way to proceed forward in resolving a wide variety of inequities that afflict people nowadays.

    Maybe we should be more charitable to other humans when the circumstances call for it. If one begins there, then I think that it becomes easier to have a genuine dialogue instead of a shouting match. And then maybe people would be able to more easily work out accomodations that satisfy (at least partially) everyone's interests.

    Life is a series of negotiations, not a set of stringent demands.
    posted by CincyBlues at 11:59 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Characterizing what people have written here as "stringent demands" and "navel-gazing" is actually a political position, not a statement about tone, and it is a political position I disagree with.
    posted by en forme de poire at 12:12 PM on February 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


    "Don't talk to me about privilege. As a kid I lived well below the poverty line. No matter where I am I won't forget women's struggle."


    Definitely seeming more like a "doesn't quite get it" situation than a "chose the wrong words" situation.
    posted by Drinky Die at 12:22 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Trans people are visible today largely in spite of big mainstream groups like the HRC, not because of them.

    People seem to continue to make the mistake that the visibility of the HRC means that they speak for all or even most gays and lesbians, many of whom have become critical of the organization over the years.
    posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:24 PM on February 24, 2015


    [Comment removed; Emor, I'm not sure what you're intending in this thread but how you're coming off is like you're looking for a scrap and we need you to cool it.]
    posted by cortex (staff) at 12:35 PM on February 24, 2015


    People seem to continue to make the mistake that the visibility of the HRC means that they speak for all or even most gays and lesbians, many of whom have become critical of the organization over the years.

    I agree, but I don't see how this contradicts what I said. Indeed, the HRC is one of the most (if not the most?) visible, well-funded, and politically powerful pro-queer-rights lobbying group in the United States, so how they choose their priorities has an outsized effect. You attributed a recent greater visibility of trans rights to the gay marriage movement. My point is that the largest mainstream organization in favor of gay marriage was actually working against trans visibility by promoting a single-minded focus on marriage equality to the exclusion of trans issues (not to mention the explicit transphobia within that organization). So if there really has been a sea change for trans people in the USA I think the gay marriage movement cannot take credit for it; instead, that credit should properly go to trans activists and their allies.
    posted by en forme de poire at 1:16 PM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I think there is confusion on your part that the pursuit of defense of marriage rights by one group was the method by which all or most gays and lesbians fulfilled some ulterior motive to take away rights from transgendered people. The HRC is great at holding $1000/plate fundraising dinners to support the DNC, but it was only one of many hundreds of groups that were fighting for our civil rights across the country, and it was by no means the most influential or powerful.

    In fact, most of the successes enjoyed in the last five years came mostly from grassroots efforts at a city and state level, which included support for and from transgendered people — such as the founder of the Ingersoll Gender Center in Seattle, to give one example.

    Beyond that, stating categorically that the HRC's views are those of all or most gay and lesbian people, and that whatever issues HRC management may have with transgendered people represents the position of all or most gay and lesbian people is bizarre, especially given criticism of them by mainstream gays and lesbians. It borders on offensive, in fact, and I will respectfully leave it at that.
    posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:41 PM on February 24, 2015


    a lungful of dragon, I don't see anyone but you making the equivalence between "big mainstream groups like the HRC" and all gay and lesbian people. It's sadly pretty commonplace for the larger, less radical/'queer' LGB organisations to be atrocious when it comes to trans people.
    posted by Dysk at 1:54 PM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


    (And the world is larger than the US - gay marriage has been achieved in the UK by firmly throwing trans people under the metaphorical bus.)
    posted by Dysk at 1:55 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


    I think there is confusion on your part that the pursuit of defense of marriage rights by one group was the method by which all or most gays and lesbians fulfilled some ulterior motive to take away rights from transgendered people. ... Beyond that, stating categorically that the HRC's views are those of all or most gay and lesbian people, and that whatever issues HRC management may have with transgendered people represents the position of all or most gay and lesbian people is bizarre, especially given criticism of them by mainstream gays and lesbians.

    I am baffled at how what I have written here would have given you the impression that I subscribe to either of these views. I have never said that the views of HRC management reflect those of all or most gay people more broadly; I have even said above that I agree with you that they do not. I have also certainly never stated that I think gay people's pursuit of marriage equality was the fulfillment of a transphobic "ulterior motive." It would be helpful if you quoted me directly so I could better understand what exactly you are responding to.
    posted by en forme de poire at 2:14 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


    I have also certainly never stated that I think gay people's pursuit of marriage equality was the fulfillment of a transphobic "ulterior motive."

    That's the thing though, in my understanding it's more that the larger HRC wasn't all that interested in trans* issues at all at best and bigoted about them at worst (sorry if I am not phrasing this correctly as I'm not closely connected to this other than what I've heard.)

    That's exactly why we have so called identity politics and I don't think we're "tearing the left apart" or anything by not all agreeing with the biggest voices. People want (and have to) speak up for themselves and not wait for whatever Lords of The Left are supposed to be saying the right thing for everyone, because they might be waiting forever.
    posted by zutalors! at 2:22 PM on February 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


    Characterizing what people have written here as "stringent demands" and "navel-gazing" is actually a political position, not a statement about tone, and it is a political position I disagree with.

    Yes, it is a political position. Sorry I didn't make that clear. But the tone matters, too, when a community of similar yet not identical interests are in action. That we disagree is the umami that make the world go round.
    posted by CincyBlues at 3:54 PM on February 24, 2015


    And now there's a bill in the state senate in california for equal pay for women, apparently inspired by this speech.

    The reaction i've seen so far is just "oh, yay? a white woman says it and suddenly people take it seriously".
    posted by emptythought at 7:41 PM on February 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


    I'm glad some lawmakers seem to be taking that part of her message to heart. Also, just based on that article emptythought linked, it sounds like this legislation could be broadly enough written to benefit other minorities affected by pay gaps, which would be great (if that's true and if the legislation passes, of course).
    posted by en forme de poire at 11:28 PM on February 25, 2015




    Thanks for posting that ShawnStruck. I would never have seen it otherwise and it's great (and frustrating).
    posted by zutalors! at 11:13 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


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