Patricia Arquette shares the important things she learned after her Oscar speech

At last year’s Oscar ceremony, Patricia Arquette committed the kickass “faux pas” of getting political on Hollywood’s biggest night. After saying all her thank yous for the people who helped her win her award for Best Supporting Actress, the Boyhood star called on not just Hollywood, but the world to give women their due: Full equality.

In the aftermath, Arquette was both praised and critiqued, but most importantly, she was not silenced. This week, the actress spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about her decision to get political at the Oscars and what she’s learned about feminism, equal pay, and inequality since her momentous speech.

“I knew that pay inequality was a risky thing to bring up at the Oscars,” Arquette told THR. “There is an unspoken understanding that you shouldn’t be political on that stage. But the truth is, I don’t think women can wait anymore. We have to be political. I don’t think we can continue to be left out of the conversation.”

Since taking her stand, Arquette says she’s realized that in some ways she hurt women by calling on men to support equality efforts. She says she’s also learned more about how much further women of color, trans women, and gay women have to go before they can achieve the equality of straight, white women.

“It was my own lack of clarity backstage that made some women feel left out or slighted,” she said. “This of all things makes me sad, because they are my heroes. When I brought it up, I was talking about all women. I meant Native American women, Asian women, Latino women, African-American women, trans women, lesbian women, white women.”

Arquette highlights the disturbing statistics facing women, including the fact that college-educated women can miss out on $2 million in their lifetime, that because trans women make on average $10,000/year, they find themselves in the most abject poverty, and that 75% of low-wage earners are women.

“I didn’t really know how the speech would be accepted until afterward,” she said. “I almost fainted right after, and I was shaky. I felt very weird, like somebody had shot me up with a strange drug. But what I was doing was very clear to me: I was really trying to appeal to our leaders, our great activist leaders.”

Here’s hoping everyone hears the call.

Check out Patricia Arquette’s moving essay here.

[Image via Shutterstock]