Patricia Arquette’s Oscars acceptance speech has set the world of social media alight in the last twenty four hours. After she used her time at the microphone to call for wage equality and equal rights for women, opinion has been polarised as to validity of her argument.

The 46 year old won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Olivia Evans in Boyhood. Having produced a sheet of paper and thanked her family and fellow cast members, she went on to deliver a rousing finale: “It's our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Patricia Arquette
Patricia Arquette's Oscars acceptance speech was a hot talking point of the evening

At the time, she was given a standing ovation from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez as they cheered her on from their chairs, while the likes of Lena Dunham and Elizabeth Banks took to Twitter to voice their support for Arquette. Her speech also attracted a great deal of public support.

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However, some critics have claimed that Arquette’s comments, especially those made backstage to reporters when she was elaborating on her speech, were insensitive, prioritising the rights of white women over those of lesbians and women of colour. She said: “It’s time for all women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and people of colour that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

Many feminist commentators pointed out on Monday that these comments showed a lack of awareness of the intersections between gender, race and sexuality, and that her attitude effectively denigrated the struggles of non-white, non-straight women.

Arquette responded in turn to her critics on Twitter later on Monday, saying “if you are fighting against #EqualPay you are fighting for ALL women and especially women of colour to make less money than men.”

Arquette’s speech was one of the most talked-about subjects of the evening, but social media trends suggest that it was behind Neil Patrick Harris’ hosting and Lady Gaga’s The Sound of Music medley in terms of the hottest topic.

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