This morning, I was disheartened by the negativity surrounding Patricia Arquette’s comments after her speech at the Oscar’s. In her attempt of engaging “all” of us to participate in the cause for equal rights and equal pay, she came across as something like I rubbed your back, now you rub mine. We fought for your cause, now you fight with me on this one. (Forgive “my English” if I have misinterpreted.)
I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I’d rather hear people talking, even disagreeing, than not giving a damn about it at all. So I remain appreciative of Ms Arquette for using her platform, even though I wished she would have phrased it better to leave no room for misinterpretation. (But will it get this much attention?)
I worry whenever a genuine cause gets wrapped in glossy Hollywood. I worry because there’s that possibility of the cause getting its own celebrity status. And like a typical celebrity in this fast-paced time, its stardom is short-lived. It becomes an overused word before the world’s attention goes beyond just scratching the surface of the real issue. However, whatever our opinions are of Hollywood, we cannot deny the power of this platform. Look at the buzz generated around social media just from one speech, one comment, one tweet from Patricia Arquette. It got many talking. (It got me to write a post about it.)
It got me to read about other people’s opinions, too. Some valid and well-researched. Some said out of ignorance. Some quite disturbing. Some questioned the cause of feminism (well, lucky you, for being in a time, and in a country, where you can even question the need for it). Some questioned the validity of the campaign for “equal pay”. One guy said, why must women bother about the pay, when bearing children is the greatest compensation. (Believe me, it took all my strength to not react to the last one.)
In the end, I remain grateful for celebrities who use their star-power to campaign for women, for feminism. I am grateful for Beyoncé, “feminist lite” she may appear to be if you compare her to the radical feminists and those who are front and center in dealing with women’s issues around the world. I am grateful for Annie Lennox, who calls Beyonce’s feminism “tokenistic”. I am grateful for the other artists on the “other end of the feminist spectrum”. Some celebrities may be capitalizing on feminism. Some artists’ interpretation of feminism may even do more damage to the cause. (Example: “Twerking is not feminism.” IMO, sexualizing and objectifying women are definitely not feministic. But women “owning” the twerk and being confident about their body and their work and their freedom to express. That, to me, is feministic.)
I am grateful plainly because the issue gets the attention. And that is a good start. I have to emphasize, it is but a start. Instead of focusing our efforts on how the likes of Beyonce and Patricia Arquette can be wrong and can NOT be real feminists, why don’t we use our time and energy on finding out more about the real issue? (And be part of the solution.)
I’d like to end this post by borrowing the words of Annie Lennox, “‘Maybe this is a good thing because it creates debate.”.