Danger: Angry feminist rant ahead!
Me: I’m so tired of women being bad at everything. A disproportionate amount of women go to college compared to men yet the CEO positions are predominantly male.
My friend: I know! It’s annoying. And we are forced to choose between having children and going to work.
Me: If women stopped beating each other down and gossiping about other women then maybe we would have time to be more successful.
My friend: Yeah . . . should we read that trashy magazine now?
Me: Yes! . . . God look how terrible she looks, what a train wreck.
This is a question that I have been asking a lot. Obviously I do not mean that women are bad at everything. Just the opposite, I think that they are better at most things compared to men but they are almost never on top. I recently saw a commercial with all the people who designed the most used electronics and apps, like the camera phone and Words with Friends. Every single one of them were male. Even in a field that is studied primarily by women, like fashion design, the ones on top or the “rockstars,” are almost all men. Yes, yes I know, there are many female designers but there are hardly any that did not inherit their label or were not somehow famous before. Versace inherited her line from her brother, Prada from her grandfather. As a graphic designer, it is discouraging to me that there are hardly any rockstar graphic designers. Marian Bantjes and Paula Scher are the only I can think of.
The worst part is most people don’t even acknowledge there is a problem. But the fact is that women still make less than a man makes for doing the EXACT SAME JOB. I know you have heard this a million times before but think about what those words mean exactly. The numbers are worse for mothers, and worse still for single mothers, making 55 cents to every dollar a man does. (These statistics vary greatly depending on where you look. In 1991, non-mothers with an average age of thirty made 90 cents to a man’s dollar, while moms made 73 cents to the dollar, and single moms made 55 cents according to Jane Waldfogel in “Understanding the ‘Family Gap’ in Pay for Women and Children,” Journal of Economic Perspectives. This is a great article by the US Department of Labor about some myths regarding this often-referred-to statistic.)
Why is this?
I have brainstormed some reasons why men are consistently more successful professionally than women:
1. The first and by far most important: men are more cocky.
No, Freud. It is not that I envy the schlong . . . much. For some reason, men always have a self assurance that make people believe in their abilities. Many times I find when women present ideas, they sound unsure about it. They say, “I think we can maybe do it like this . . .” This does not inspire confidence. Sure, a lot of times men fail and when they fail, they fail hard like Hitler or Vanilla Ice.
But their confidence, not their ideas, is what persuaded people to kill Jews and listen to bad music. And look at Jeopardy. There are rarely any women. When there are women, they rarely win. Do we really believe it is because women are not as smart? It is because men are cocky enough to push that stupid buzzer even if they don’t know the answer right away. When women do have this confidence, not only is it not respected but it makes them seem demanding and shrill. There was a study (I can’t find it now but I’ll look for it again) where a woman and a man were bosses to two different groups of people. They dressed the same, confidently spoke, and said the same things. Everyone thought that the man seem authoritative and confident. Everyone thought the woman was a bitch.
It is not just men that thought she was a bitch, but women too. Especially women. We are so goddamn hard on other women. Why? We get competitive with the women because we don’t even think there is a chance to compete with the males.
2. We are anatomically different.
No, our brains are not smaller.
What I am talking about is our boobs of course! Or more precisely the titty-suckers that dangle from our boobs.
My sister often says it is impossible to be a rockstar anything as a mother unless someone else basically raises your child for you. I have heard that it takes some women 40 minutes to breastfeed. Well, if your newborn needs to eat every two hours that is not a lot of time in between. How can you get anything done much less excel in your field? Sure, men have to make sacrifices too when they decide to have a child, like . . . you know . . . there are a few things I’m sure. Like not being able to have sex as much. That’s something right? And they can’t buy as many stupid things like a new car every year. Seriously though, for women there is the constant reminder that you will eventually have to choose career over family. That’s why so many women have children late now like when they are 40. They do all the stuff they want to do like career and travel and then they finally bite the bullet and get knocked up. But that is also depressing. Like they want to live their life and then have children . . . because when you have children you are not living anymore and you are dead inside. At least that’s how they make it sound. Let’s not get me started on having children, we will be here all day.
3) We settle comfortably in our pre-determined roles even if we don’t realize it.
Sometimes I feel punished for being a good worker. With design work, I am doing a lot of tweaking and editing and basically polishing everything. This is what I call grunt work. It is boring and you do not get to do any of the actual designing. For some reason men always do the fun parts. In actuality they are more sloppy. They are more cocky and don’t second guess their ideas so they get to design. What does this have to do with being a woman? Well that’s how I see a lot of the positions women end up doing.
Here is a list of the top 10 women’s jobs in 1950:
1. Secretaries, typists, stenographers
2. Saleswoman, retail trade
4. Operatives-apparel, accessories
8. Telephone operators
9. Retail managers
10. Farm laborers (unpaid family workers)
*According to U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Here is a list of the top 10 women’s jobs in 2010:
1. Secretaries, administrative assistants
5. Retail salespersons
6. Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides
8. Retail managers
9. Customer service representatives
10. Maids and housekeeping cleaners
*According to U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
They are almost exactly the same, just the order is slightly different. We scoff at the obvious difference in gender roles in shows like Mad Men or actual shows from the 50’s and 60’s, but have things really changed that much?
Partial sidenote: Don’t ever give me that crap about women being better at English because they are more emotional and men being better that math and science because they are more analytical. It is purely purely societal. My siblings, including my sister and brother, and I all excelled in math and hated english. Why? Both our parents much more preferred math over english. This is not a coincidence. If women do not do as well in math it is because we are not expected to do as well in math.
A lot of these jobs are bookkeeping and secretary work. I’m not saying these are easy jobs. It’s just the opposite. Basically, you have to have an obscene attention to detail for most of them, but they are menial and repetitive. Men just like to say women are naturally more clean or naturally better at paying attention to details. It is kind of like a back-handed compliment. You’re better at doing the dishes so you can do them. Nobody is naturally clean or is naturally good at doing the dishes. Women end up being good at them because they have no other choice. Most people like things clean. Nobody likes to clean. What I am saying is that women do these jobs because nobody else wants to. Then we are told we are naturally better at them so that we keep doing them. And we do!
So what does all this mean? How do we change this? Well the first and foremost is recognizing this problem. If we just ignore it and pretend we are all equal it will not change anything. The second is be direct. If you beat around the bush, or pussyfoot if you will, nobody is going to take you seriously. This has to do with talking to coworkers and presenting ideas. If you are blunt, sure people might call you a bitch but who cares? Just don’t be mean for no reason. I had one boss who was a woman, and I marveled at how good she was at being in charge and professional, yet not for one second ooze any bitchiness. She was so direct and never dwelled on mistakes whether they were mine or her own. In the cubicle life, I would frequently hear nearby female neighbors bitch all the time about why this person messed this up or how annoying this person was. This boss only focused on how to fix problems and didn’t waste time finding someone to blame. So there is hope.
Okay how many sexual double entendres did you catch in this article? Speaking of genitalia think about the words pussy, pussyfoot, and cocky. When you call someone a pussy which is slang for vagina, you are saying they are scared of things. Or when you pussyfoot it means you are dancing around the problem and not solving it. When you are cocky (whereas cock is slang for penis) you are over confident. Even our genitals have it in for us!