6 Great Feminist Moments from the 2016 Oscars

Well, the Oscars happened. And while a lot of white people won awards, there was also plenty of commentary on racism and exclusion in Hollywood. Some of the night’s jokes were executed perfectly, others were downright offensive. Luckily, there were a few very powerful, stand-out feminist moments we’re proud to salute. Take a look at our picks below!

1. Lady Gaga performed an anti-rape anthem onstage with a group of survivors.

Introduced by Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke about the White House’s It’s On Us campaign, Lady Gaga delivered a tear-jerker performance of her song “Til it Happens to You” from the campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground. Gathered onstage with Gaga, herself a victim of rape, were dozens of survivors with messages written on their arms, such as “Not your fault.”

2. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary Short for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.


“This is what happens when determined women get together,” began filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy in her acceptance speech. Obaid-Chinoy won the Best Documentary Short prize for her film about a woman who miraculously survived an honor killing. In her speech, she announced that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently said he would change that country’s law on honor killings to make the act a crime against the state—after watching A Girl in the River.

3. Spotlight won for Best Picture.


Spotlight, about a group of Boston Globe journalists who uncovered a Catholic priest sex-abuse scandal, took home the coveted Best Picture prize—a surprise win for an important film. The filmmakers dedicated the win to sex-abuse survivors and said they hoped the message would resonate all the way to the Vatican, where Pope Francis has so far failed to tackle the abuse of children by members of the clergy.

4. The show raised more than $65,000 for a Girl Scout troop in Inglewood, California.


Introduced by host Chris Rock, whose two daughters are part of a New York Girl Scout group, a troop of California Girl Scouts buzzed through the star-studded aisles of the Academy Awards selling their famous cookies—and raising more than $65,000 in the process. The troop’s leader told the Los Angeles Times that the girls planned to use the cash to pay for “school supplies, a painting class and a trip to an amusement park.”

5. Mark Ruffalo and the Spotlight team joined a sex-abuse survivors’ rally before the Academy Awards.

Actor Mark Ruffalo, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Spotlight, joined the film’s writer and director at a rally supporting survivors of priest sexual abuse outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in Los Angeles before the awards show began. Said Ruffalo, “I’m here to stand with the survivors and the victims and the people we’ve lost from Catholic priest childhood sex abuse.”

6. Chris Rock called out “Black lives matter!” at the close of the show.


It was great to see the host pay tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, which was founded by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, during the controversial broadcast.


Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.