Patricia Arquette Doesn’t Regret Using Her Oscar Win As A Platform For Feminism


Remember back in February at the Academy Awards when actress Patricia Arquette won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and used her acceptance speech as an excuse to talk about the need for equal pay? Yeah, we haven’t forgotten either, and neither has the ‘Boyhood’ actress, who now stars in the new ‘CSI: Cyber’ series on CBS.

It may be 6 months since that happened, but Patricia neither regrets being a badass feminist on the film industry’s biggest stage, nor does she intend to stop talking about the need for quality both in the industry and elsewhere.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she said it is high time we took back the word feminism, because the issues affecting women today are widespread.

“Men are paid more are pornography, prostitution and modeling. Women can’t sustain that anymore. One reason is because half of American families are being raised by female breadwinners. So we have 66 million women and children in poverty and 33 million of them would not be if they were getting paid their full dollar. That’s a huge problem,” she said.

Within Hollywood she says it is alarming the amount of stories coming out from some A-list actresses who experience sexism or inequality.

“In Hollywood, it’s always been a problem. There has always been this bias of age. We’ve just seen this with Maggie Gyllenhaal being told she’s too old at 37 to play opposite a 55-year-old man. We see it with Zoe Saldana almost getting turned down on a job because she’s pregnant. We are the only wealthy nation on earth that doesn’t have some sort of paid maternity leave for women, as if we’re supposed to just plop our citizens out and run back to work two seconds later. It’s obscene,” she said.


She has some pretty strong views about feminism, and like many of us, can’t fathom the way some women don’t want to call themselves a feminist.

“72% of our college girls do not identify as feminists, we need to take back this concept. We need to take back the word feminist. We’re still dealing with some outmoded concept of feminism from the ’70s that women are men-haters or some insanity like that. You know, that was such a bad spin,” she said.

“The truth is, feminism, although there are many different kinds of feminists, is that all women should have the same equal rights as men. What’s so confusing about that? So, I think we need to be willing to band together and join feminist organizations, and start letting lawmakers know, oh, there’s 20 million people in this movement. If we disband, if we disassociate from each other, if we fight each other, we will not have a cohesive movement where we can apply pressure and get what we need done.”

Patricia was also part of a recent round table of actresses who all star in CBS series, such as Halle Berry from ‘Extant’, Anna Faris from ‘Mom’, Tea Leoni from ‘Madam Secretary, as well as some executives including CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler.

In the feature, each woman shared her thoughts and some experiences dealing with sexism in Hollywood.


Patricia said one of the biggest hurdles she came up against was finding interesting roles that weren’t the housewife or the background character.

“Many times I remember when I was in between jobs or looking for a job, I would say to my agent, ‘Well, are there any good parts in that?’ ‘Well, not for women.’ I would say, ‘Are there any good parts for men?’ ‘Oh well, yeah.’ I was like, ‘Well can that character be a woman? Can you call them and ask, “Can that character be a woman?”‘ I would do that all the time. It never worked,” she said.

Anna Faris says its a shame actresses are more competitive than they are supportive, which she wants to change by creating a social group where actresses come and hang out at her house.

“[There is a] feeling of being pitted against one another. As women, we definitely have to generate our own work. Part of it is just the sad fact that something like one in every three to four roles [in Hollywood films] is a woman. So men have more opportunity. And you have all these women fighting for the same roles,” she said.

Lucy Liu who stars in ‘Elementary’ said when she signed on for the first season she wanted to direct an episode, but the network didn’t give her an opportunity.


“My manager went to CBS Studios and said, ‘Hey, she’d be interested in [directing] at some point.’ And then when we signed on, we said we’d love to [direct an episode in] this first season. And they’re like, pass. Like it’s a game show: pass. (Laughs.) And the second season she went back again. And they said no,” she shared. The network ended up adding two more episodes to the second season and at that point they finally gave her a chance. They loved her directing so much they asked her to direct in Season 3 and in the following season. It pays to be persistent!

‘The Good Wife’ actress Juliana Margulies sang the praises of Charlize Theron who demanded equal pay like her ‘Huntsman’ co-star Chris Hemsworth and got it. She said the fact that this was spoken about publicly means change is happening.

“Women are starting to speak out a lot more about it and go public with it. I think it’s a little bit easier now to voice your concern about it. But come on — it’s 2015 and we’re still getting 73 cents to the dollar every man gets. Why?”

Yes, we are definitely thankful for the women who choose to speak up and create change. We highly encourage you to read all the stories shared by the women with The Hollywood Reporter because it gives you an idea what women in the industry have to face quite often.

Watch the teaser video below where Patricia Arquette, Nina Tassler and others talk about gender equality in the industry:




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