Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Pessimist's (Pragmatist's?) Perspective

I hate to be the pessimist or devil’s advocate of the crowd but I’m personally not impressed by the advancements that Hanna Rosin pointed out in her introduction to “The End of Men”. Yes, I think it is good to acknowledge small accomplishments, especially when we are bogged down by internalized oppression and subsequent rage or depression, but I do think that too much of that focus can take attention away from the true issues at hand. Some people will use these advancements as an excuse to back down from being an effective ally…”well more women are in college now so ____” etc. This is in no way to counter these accomplishments, or to deem them untrue, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that as a society we are not at a point where we can truly value these accomplishments without great repercussions. 

To continue by “Debbie Downer” theme…the wage gap. Here’s the deal…that whole 77 cents statistic, that’s a white woman’s dollar. Again, this is in no means trying to take away from that gap, it is very real, however as informed individuals, we should note that the smallest wage gap is actually between white men and Latina/Hispanic women who as of 2013 have made 54 cents to a dollar. (One of many sources: http://www.aauw.org/2014/09/18/gender-pay-gap/)
And as a Latina woman, it generally concerns me that the only wage gap discussed is among solely Caucasian people. I thought it was especially funny in John Oliver’s video when he showed clips of news anchors and interviewees trying to justify the gap because the number was so high, but I was laughing to myself because I knew the gap could be even greater with race taken into consideration. I also do know that these statistics do not always necessarily take into consideration other external factors that may well influence these gaps, however when studies are done with men and woman with matching resumes, qualifications or education…time after time it shows a gap in hiring, in offers of compensation etc. 


So hoorah! More women can multi task or be awesome or what not, but I’d argue that “The End of Men” is quite far from here. These advancements discussed in the reading maybe project toward a more positive future, but let’s not trick ourselves into thinking there is less work to do, because if anything, there is more. What about trans*, agender, third gender and bigender people? Where do they fit in? What about combating general gender roles and expectations (among other social constructs) that caused these problems in the first place? What about the fact that as individuals, we contribute to “society’s” constructs? What about the fact that these constructs are different for each nation? What about the role of religion and religious texts? What about comprehensive education? Sure, there are progressive steps that have been and will be made but it is important to but those advances into perspective within the entirety of the feminist/gender equality movement. My fellow humans, we have a lot of work to do. 

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