Patricia Arquette on Not Straightening Teeth: I Didn't Want to Look Perfect

Patricia Arquette (Getty Images)

Patricia Arquette's Oscars speech certainly had people talking, but what you might not know is that the mouth it was coming out of was making a statement, too.

Following her big win, the Boyhood actress, 46, talked to People about the pressure Hollywood places on women.

"I've had so many of these conversations in my life... what I look like on film, what I don't look like on film. What are we supposed to look like? Men are not having these conversations," Arquette told the mag. "It's like we're trapped in wet wool or something. I just want to be free of it so we can move to the next level as equals."

She continued, "Not that I don't love being a woman, not that I don't love the differences between men and women. I just mean, as an actor – why is this a conversation? Why is aging a conversation? It's a one-sided conversation because it's only ever had by women."

One physical attribute of Arquette's she says was scrutinized at a young age were her teeth. Patricia, who falls in the middle of siblings Rosanna and David Arquette, said she told her parents she didn't want braces or her teeth straightened because "it didn't feel like it would fit who I was inside."

But that didn't stop a male student in her ninth-grade class (who had voted her "best looking") from suggesting she should get them fixed, so she could pose for Playboy.

"I said, 'Why would I want to be in Playboy?'" she recalled. "I just didn't want to look perfect. I didn't want to have to change myself to be attractive. I didn't think that was my responsibility."

One responsibility it seems Arquette is (still) happy to take on is wage equality for women. She talked with Time today about how surprised she was about the backlash over her Oscars acceptance speech.

"I guess I don’t think people really understood what I meant by that. I don’t think they understood what I was talking about, exactly. This is a huge discrimination issue affecting women across America. It affects whole lives — the impact of this," she explained. "I wasn’t talking about my own position. I know I’ve been really blessed in my life. What I was talking about is the other 52 percent, and how it doesn’t make sense why they’re being discriminated [against] because of their gender."