77%

Last night I went to a Dr. Who Themed bar in my neighborhood called The Way Station. I’ve been there a number of times before but last night it was by far the MOST crowded I have ever seen. It was a promotional event, in honor of the disparity in wages between men and women (women make 77¢ for every $1 a man makes in an equivalent position when adjusted for location/experience etc) and it being 7/7, women only paid 77% of their  bar tabs. A cracker jack PR team ensured the event got plenty of coverage beforehand and I saw at least one satellite truck parked across the street last night to catch up everyone who didn’t hear about it already.

And did I mention it was packed? Shoulder to shoulder for the 2+ hours I was there with some friends and my partner. It was a sweaty, disgusting mess but it was also great. Look at the buying power of women! Isn’t this wage gap thing thing ridiculous?! It is and the promotion was obviously a success, but unfortunately, it missed a huge glaring issue: that number 77% (sometimes rounded down to 75%) actually only applies when we consider white women as compared to white men.

Chalkboard Outside The Way Station last night.
Chalkboard Outside The Way Station last night.

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I’m having a hard time forgiving Patricia Arquette.

Patricia Arquette at the Oscars
Patricia Arquette accepting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at the 87th Annual Academy awards on Sunday, February 22nd, 2015.

Last night Patricia Arquette won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. The film itself was beyond reproach. A triumph of modern filmmaking. Arquette did a masterful job and her award was much deserved. She’d prepared ahead, reading a pre-written speech. After the general thank yous and a plug for her charity, she said,

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights, it’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Which is terrific. It’s elegant and eloquent. Short, succinct and accurate. She played it well, not calling anyone out or blaming anyone in particular but asking everyone to fight. In a dreary awards show that celebrates the exact same kinds of people saying more or less the same things year after year, this was brilliant and lovely. Unquestionably one of the evenings highlights. It even prompted this reaction, which was tailor made for the pop-feminists of the internet:

Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez reacting to Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech at the Oscars on Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

But, sadly, it of course did not end there. After leaving the stage she was swept off to answer reporters questions in front of a step-and-repeat where she said:

“It’s inexcusable that we go around the world talking about equal rights for women around the country and we don’t have equal rights for women in America. When they wrote the Constitution, they didn’t intend for us to be equal. It’s time for all the women, all the men who love women, all the gay people and people of color, who we fought for equal rights for, to fight for us.”

Oh, Patricia…

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