Friday, February 27, 2015

Academy Awards Recap

This years Academy Awards was more than just recognition for artistic talent, it also was an opportunity to voice pressuring gender and racial issues.

As usual, the start of the Oscars included a warm welcome and a fashion show down on the red carpet. For many years prior, celebrities have decked themselves out with stylish gowns, jewelry and suits. However, Reese Witherspoon started a social media movement called #AskHerMore: a campaign that urges reporters to ask female celebrities more substantial questions rather than fashion and gossip.

The typical question a female celebrity is asked is who are you wearing tonight? unlike male celebrities, who are asked the same question but are also asked about their experiences, roles, accomplishments, or talents in the industry. The #AskHerMore was created by the Representation Project to have reporters focus less on an actressappearance and more on her accomplishments.

This campaign created arguments such as, #AskHerMore seems to me to be the celebrity version of having it all - another manifesto of the pressure on women to be everything at all times. Critics of the movement are calling it anti-feministbecause it pressures the female community to not only be pretty, but to be smart as well. Events such as the Oscars are already known to be frivolous and materialistic, so why frown upon the question who are you wearing tonight? Also, many designers and talented people were not able to be recognized by their talents because of this movement. Usually, designers get recognition through these kinds of events, yet their names were not mentioned that night.

The highlight of the night was Patricia Arquettes acceptance speech as she won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood. As she thanked the producers, cast, and the public, she ended her speech with a powerful statement. To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody elses equal rights. Its out time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.

Arquette gives light to the issue of unequal pay in the labor force. Studies have shown that on average, women get paid 73% of their males counterpart salary.

She also continued her speech at the pressroom conference where she says:

Its 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. Its inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we dont. Its time for all the women in American, and all the meant that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that weve all fought for to fight for us now.


Although she gave light to a pressuring issue in the United States, Arquette received a lot of critiques from the LGBT community and the people of color. Her statement suggested that the gay community and the people of color achieved equality while women have not. Criticism such as Feminism being a movement for white womens rights, not all womens rights aroused, which made LGBT community and the people of color hesitant to join the movement fearing exclusion.

Nevertheless, we should not focus so much on how the message was delivered, but that it WAS delivered. Women in the labor force do not get the same pay as men. Women and men are still not treated equally in the workforce and, despite numerous advances, women face different, and unequal working conditions. The message that Arquette tries to deliver is that all women do not have the same level of treatment and recognition for the same work in the same profession. It is harder for a woman to get hired at high level positions, it is harder for women to get hired and get maternity leave, and it is harder for women to secure a job in the future once she starts a family

All in all, the Oscars is one the most popular awards ceremony that is watched on a global level. Every year, millions of people gather around to watch as their favorite celebrities and movies get the recognition they deserve. It is great to know that these kinds of high profile events are giving attention to pressuring social issues, such as gender equality.