On Sunday night, the wonderful Patricia Arquette delivered a feminist screed when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her 12-year-long performance in Boyhood. Her message about fair pay and equal rights for American women was approved by an enthusiastic Meryl Streep and a riveted Jennifer Lopez, but Clueless star and newfound conservative mouthpiece Stacey Dash was less than pleased. By Monday morning, Dash and her fellow Fox News colleagues were still steaming over Arquette's audacity to address equal pay on the Academy Awards stage. Dash, in an appearance on Fox & Friends, quipped that she was "appalled" by Arquette's speech.
"I could not believe it," the one-time rising Hollywood star said.
Could not believe that a newly minted Academy Award winner would make such a political statement onstage or that wage inequality exists among women of all races and ethnicities in America? Both, according to Dash:
First of all, Patricia Arquette needs to do her history. In 1963, [President John F.] Kennedy passed an equal pay law. It's still in effect. I didn't get the memo that I didn't have any rights.
Dash added that she "agreed with Mr. Trump" — there's just no "class" or "glamour" or "elegance" of the Academy Awards anymore. "It just seems to be going away," Dash lamented.
The law Dash is referencing is the Equal Pay Act, which made it illegal for employers to practice wage discrimination on the basis of gender. However, 50 years later, there is still a wage gap between genders and races, and Congress has yet to approve the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen the protections of the Equal Pay Act in order to close the wage gap for good.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women working full-time make about 78 cents for for every dollar men earn, with African-American and Latina women making much, much less. While the 78 cents figure has been disputed, it's still widely acknowledged that women — particularly women of color — make less than their male counterparts.
Although Dash believes she has rights in America — considering her net worth is $8 million, she's doing pretty well for herself — many Democratic politicians backed Arquette's message on Saturday night. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, among others, tweeted in support of Arquette's call for equal pay for equal work.
But as we talk about equal pay, let's remember that America still doesn't have mandated paid maternity or paternity leave, nor a federal earned sick leave law. The nation's minimum wage is also stuck at $7.25 an hour. Righting these low wages would certainly bolster women's economic security in the long run.
By the way, Dash was rooting for American Sniper to take home the golden man, so no wonder she was disappointed Monday morning.
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