Since winning the Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar for her work in Richard Linklater's innovative film, Boyhood, Patricia Arquette has become extremely vocal on her stance against wage inequality and sexism in Hollywood.
During her speech, Arquette gave her thanks to those who mean most to her, then took the time to thank mothers, taxpayers, and those who have fought for equal rights, then ended with a call to action for equal rights for women in the United States. Watch her speech in full below:
Patricia Arquette's heartfelt sentiment famously garnered this reaction from the always fantastic and generally composed Meryl Streep.
Following her Oscar speech, Arquette has yet to slow her roll towards gender and wage equality. Earlier this year, she starred alongside Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the Inside Amy Schumer sketch "Last F**kable Day."
The three women use this comedic setting to poke fun at the media's view towards older women in Hollywood. Check out the hilarious, but unfortunately accurate, clip below:
This is not the first time women have spoken out about the difficulty to find work as an older actress. Like when Meryl Streep talked about how after the age of 40 she was deemed "old" by our "youth-obsessed" culture, telling People:
"I would say our culture is pretty youth-obsessed, especially people that pass 40. When I was 40…I was not offered any female adventurers, or love interests, or heroes or demons. I was offered witches because I was ‘old’ at 40."
Or when Helen Mirren called sexism and ageism in Hollywood, specifically James Bond and his flock of seemingly ageless love interest, "f*cking outrageous":
But facing agism as a working actress is only half the battle. Most recently, in an interview with Fortune, Arquette reflected on the sexism she faced in Hollywood when she was younger, recalling a specific incident where she was asked to lose weight everywhere, except from her breasts:
"I pushed the boundaries as much as I could along the way. I remember a director telling my agent that it would be great if I could lose 10 pounds as long as my boobs didn’t get smaller. I didn’t want to lose 10 pounds, and I didn’t."
If a role calls for the actor's character to be extremely thin, that's one thing, but to follow it up by saying that her breasts shouldn't get any smaller poses an entirely different set of issues. But her concerns about sexism and inequality extend beyond the women of Hollywood.
She states that the issues she and other women in entertainment have faced aren't singular instances, but emblematic of a systemic issue that affects more than just women. She posits wage inequality affects the lives of everyone, especially children:
"We have single mothers who aren’t earning a fair wage. And 40% of African American children are living below the poverty line. If you care about kids, hunger, or sexual abuse, if you care about any of these things, they are all related to economic inequality."
Arquette goes on to discuss how we can take steps to amend these fundamental issues. She states that passing the Equal Rights Amendment is the first step.
This would ensure corporations would do the necessary audits to make sure their male and female employees are being paid equally. She then puts the power into our hands, saying:
"We have to encourage women, and men and women of color, to ask to be paid more. And we can all use our platforms, we all have them, to express our views. We can all talk to our friends and colleagues, and can use social media."
Finally, Arquette opens up the idea of feminism. She confirms that she didn't always see herself as a feminist, but perhaps that's because we don't have a concrete definition that properly encompasses the many interpretations and degrees of the word.
So if there's one idea the outspoken Patricia Arquette wants you to take away from this message, it's that we're all striving for something bigger: equality.
"There are many different types of feminists and people have different definitions and ideas, but we all need to have a powerful, unified voice for women.
We have to remember that we all share the dream of equality."
To read Patricia Arquette's interview in full, visit Fortune.