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you’re such a hypocrite.
why sexism and racism don’t go away.
by matt morin
5.24.02
general


I'm sure this won't come as any big surprise to people when I say that America has problems. Big ones. Drugs, crime, the economy, the unemployment rate, terrorism, Mideast conflicts, the effect of automobiles on the environment, homelessness, obesity, the Catholic Church, Mariah Carey, and the fact that Charles Barkley is working on his fourth biography. And none of them has an easy solution. (Unless you're happy to just sit back and wait for the aforementioned singer to have another inevitable breakdown.) But two of America's biggest problems –- racism and sexism -– are not on that list. That's because those two have a very simple solution.

We need to stop being hypocrites.

It's true. Sadly true. When it comes to those two isms, the U.S. just doesn't put its money where its mouth is. Sure, we have hundreds of laws on the books protecting people (or at least offering them recourse) against sexism and racism. But to eliminate sexism and racism everyone must agree to fight against it in whatever form it takes. (Hint: Key words are "whatever form.") All those who agree, raise your hand. You, in the back in the white hood, get your damn hand up. There, was that tough?

The problem is, there is a ton of racism and sexism that, for some reason, we don't see as such. As a country, we'll rally around an obvious cause like Tailhook or Rodney King. But it's the other stuff –- the things that we don't consider wrong –- that undermine the overall solution.

There's a TV commercial running right now for Reebok women's shoes. It opens with the song "This is a Man's World" and shows a group of women at a Hooters-like restaurant. Except instead of waitresses in tight tops, it's all men in ultra-tight shorts and cutoff tank tops. This fine dining establishment is appropriately called "Bananaz." The woman proceed to have a grand old time ogling the men and "accidentally" dropping forks on the ground, then pinching the waiters' butts when they bend over to pick them up. The supposed fun of the spot is having the tables turned.

But is that what we should be doing? Turning the tables? How can the case be made by women that they shouldn't be objectified and subjected to unwanted sexual advances in the workplace when they turn around and do the same right back? My dad has a lot of sayings, but one of my favorite has always been, "Two wrongs don't make a right."

I wonder what would have happened if the commercial had been made the other way around –- with the men doing it to the women to the tune of "I'm Every Woman." The National Organization for Women would have sued. Reebok would have been boycotted. Ad agencies fired. Tom Brokaw would have done a five-part series on the nightly news. What really happened though?

Not a peep. From anyone.

One person you hear a billion peeps from is Charles Barkley. Former-NBA-player-turned-studio-analyst, he's one third of what is being called the greatest halftime studio show in history. People like him because he's honest, says what's on his mind, and never holds back. You only have to watch Inside the NBA on TNT for a night before he'll spout off some social commentary about blacks, whites, gays, or any other demographic.

An ESPN.com article recently quoted Barkley with the following about accused pipe bomber Lucas Helder: "What do white people have to be upset about? Y'all already own the world. What more do you want? This guy's white, he's in a band, he has a girlfriend, he's 21 years old, he has his own website ... so why the fuck are you unhappy? What the fuck do you have to complain about? I don't get it, I really don't."

More from the article: "Senior producer Tim Kiely strolls in just as Charles is finishing his pipe bomber rant, so Charles starts over for Kiely's benefit, getting even more carried away this time. When Kiely can't come up with an adequate response, Barkley turns the tables on him. 'Poor T.K.,' Barkley jokes. 'Between you being white and you being Catholic, it's been a tough couple of months for you, hasn't it?'"

This is coming from a man who plans to run for governor of Alabama.

I don't think I have to spell out for you what would have happened had a white commentator said those things about black people. All I need to say are three words: Jimmy the Greek. And I'm not singling out Charles in the race category. Imagine if there was WET –- White Entertainment Television? Or if Julia Roberts got on stage at the Oscars and dedicated her award to white actresses everywhere? Or if George W. Bush referred to Israel as "my niggaz."

Which brings me back to my original point. How are problems like racism and sexism supposed to be solved when we're only focusing on certain examples of it and not others? We're almost cheering for the person who has been beaten down to fight back, when in reality, we should be imploring everyone to stop fighting. This country will never solve these problems because we're not looking at the entire picture. We keep rationalizing that it's OK for one comment, but not another. But as long as we are not outraged by my examples above, we have no right to be outraged at the KKK. It's the same pig, just in a different dress.


ABOUT MATT MORIN

Matt would love to be George Plimpton...welll, except for the being dead part. He supplies the doing and the writing. All he asks of you is the reading.

more about matt morin

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published: 6.19.02





COMMENTS

zachary oberfield
5.24.02 @ 8:23a

poor white men! so downtrodden. someone cue the violins. this sounds like the standard "reverse racism / reverse sexism" arguments that have been used since affirmative action first surfaced. the problem with these claims is that they ignore the prevailing power dynamics and fail to recognize America's long proud history of oppression against these two groups.

tracey kelley
5.24.02 @ 9:22a

Well, members of the KKK did (do) burn homes, bomb churches and lynch people. There's a little bit of a difference between their actions and what Barkley said.

Having said that, Barkley had no right to say what he did. For all the reasons you stated.

erik myers
5.24.02 @ 9:28a

I've always been bothered by people who cry racism or sexism, yet indulge in equal and opposite actions. Just like you said, "I hate it when men are sexist to women, so to get back, I'll be sexist to men!" It feels like such a second-grade reaction, "Your broke my Optimus Prime, so I'll break your Megatron!" Damn hyprocrites, I'll show them, I'll be just like them!

That taste-of-your-own-medecine stuff really doesn't work after all.

jael mchenry
5.24.02 @ 9:39a

The difference between the Bananaz commercial (ogling men) and Hooters (ogling women) is that Hooters actually exists. I don't think there's anything wrong with a commercial that pokes fun at male objectification.

If anything, I think it helps. If it makes someone think about how unfair, ridiculous, and sexist this world is, so much the better.

Cuz you know what? It is a man's world. And the reason there doesn't need to be a White Entertainment Television is that every non-BET network pretty much is White Entertainment Television.

I'm not outraged by the examples above because they're only attempts to make small strides against the dominant power structure. I don't consider that "fighting back" in a negative way. I consider it progress.

matt morin
5.24.02 @ 10:27a

I'm not ignoring the fact that, yes, most network TV is white TV, or the fact that Hooters is a real manifestation of sexism, or even the several hundred years of white male domination. I'm just saying, there are ways to fight against it instead of participating in it.

These things don't offset each other. They just add to each other.

jael mchenry
5.24.02 @ 10:35a

Oh, you're right, it definitely doesn't offset, and that's what I'm saying too. Sexism against males does not cancel sexism against females. And, in the commercial for example, it's not intended to. It's more about pointing out and criticizing (implicitly or explicitly) the dominant power structure, which I think is what you're proposing.

What are the other non-violent ways to fight it?

russ carr
5.24.02 @ 10:42a

For every "Whazzzzzup?" there's a "How ya doin'?" or a "What are you doing?" It's inescapable. It's a tit-for-tat, yin for yang, quid-pro-copio world. Von Clausewitz called it the "Spiral of War," referring to the practice of countering your enemy's club with a thrown rock. Same applies on just about every sociological level when there is one group (let's call 'em the Star-Bellied Sneetches) different from another (say, the Plain-Bellied Sneetches), with the added fuel of economic, military or class dominance (real or perceived). It's always easier to focus on differences -- on the individual level, it's what makes us unique from everyone else.

True.

[edited to add: I am not endorsing the Unitarians, though the overall message of the text which is NOT written by Dr Seuss continues to illustrate the point.]

[edited]

matt morin
5.24.02 @ 10:47a

Well, there's a big difference between celebrating cultural differences and racism. Notice I didn't rail on things like the Latin American Music Awards. I think it's a great thing to celebrate your own culture and heritage - just don't do it at the expense (or to the detriment) of others.

jael mchenry
5.24.02 @ 1:04p

I don't see the distinction you're drawing between that and BET or Halle Berry dedicating her award to black actresses, which you did rail on.

But I do see your point about celebrating yourself as opposed to denigrating others. Can definitely get behind that one.

chris freire
5.24.02 @ 1:34p

As Matt knows, the creators of that commercial are more than likely white men somewhere between the ages of 25-35. They are trying to sell shoes to women. There message is of empowerment, one that their demographic probably will be attracted to. We live in a world filled with irony and sarcasm. If you can't handle it move back to the 50's.

jason siciliano
5.24.02 @ 1:51p

Matt, you're my brother, but I gag on this 1992 PCness. Who's running the world? Who's scrambling to get a little something for themselves? The people with all the stuff aren't going to give it away, it has to be taken. And that's going to be, and is, violent and messy. And if BET is scary, how is it gonna feel when the White House is Black?

Fear is a big part of the world. Most of its inhabitants are a little scared. Those of us sitting on top, we haven't had anything to fear in a long time. Maybe, with equality, not only is the good stuff getting past around, but the shit is too. And maybe we derserve our fair share.

I believe, like it or not, that I have to own responsibility for my race and heritage. I've been given an inherent advantage from birth, like it or not. I reap the rewards of that every day, living as I do. Being a hypocrite would be denying that. And denying others the right to openly bitch about it. Which is all Barkley, Berry and even Reebok are doing (though it sounds like a stupid spot).

Now you're going to tell everyone else how and when they're allowed to complain?

Hmm. Hypocrite? Hmm.

lee anne ramsey
5.24.02 @ 2:06p

Okay, I couldn't wait to log on and say all the things I practically screamed at the top of my lungs at dinner last night... but Jael said them already.

The basic problem I have is that Matt (admittedly, this is a conversation you all weren't privy to rather than a statement in his article) doesn't agree to the basic premise that this is a straight white man's world to start with. And without that basic agreement, it's hard to argue with him.

matt morin
5.24.02 @ 2:06p

I wish I could remember the other Reebok spots in the campaign. They celebrated being a woman without denigrating or being sexist to men.

All I'm saying is, to right the wrong which is sexism/racism, there are a lot of ways to go about doing it. Complain all you want. But it just seems counterproductive to do it with more sexism/racism.

I think my analogy to fighting is still very appropriate: We shouldn't encourage the beaten down to punch back when what we really want is for everyone to stop fighting.

matt morin
5.24.02 @ 2:09p

Lee Anne, I do agree that it's a straight white man's world. I just disagree that the way to go about equalizing that is by telling him he can't discriminate against anyone, but it's OK for everyone to discriminate against him.

Why isn't it enough to say just don't discriminate against anyone?

lee anne ramsey
5.24.02 @ 3:24p

Because that is an unreal pie in the sky attitude. Discrimination happens. Women still get 70 cents on the dollar. The KKK is alive and well in the South. Those two very real situations aren't going to change because a straight white man says "let's all get along." Bringing those issues to the forefront of the american conciousness - in a way you like or in a way you don't like - is the only way to enact change.

Malcom X.

The Black Panthers.

The Entire Civil Rights Movement of the 60s.

The LA Race Riots.

Like it or not, the extreme message works.

lee anne ramsey
5.24.02 @ 3:24p

Spike Lee still hasn't won an academy award, and it is probably because he says the things that need to be said in a way that makes straight white people in the academy have to rearrange their panties.

[edited]

russ carr
5.24.02 @ 3:28p

Those two very real situations aren't going to change because a straight white man says "let's all get along."

Or even if a beaten-up black guy in L.A. says it, in which case it becomes a punchline.

Give it up, Matt -- it's a waste of time. The best you can hope for is to get shot in the gut on your apartment steps and maybe they'll put up a park in your honor.

jael mchenry
5.24.02 @ 3:30p

See, and now Lee Anne is saying the things I was going to. If it were enough to say "let's all get along" then we'd be getting along already.

We've got to grow it. And to grow it, we need pockets where the powerless can come together. And if making fun of the powerful is something we can do, let's.

lee anne ramsey
5.24.02 @ 3:35p

I read a fabulous biography on David Hilliard, one of the original Black Panthers, and it AMAZES me how much things have changed in 40 years and how much things haven't changed. But at least we are more aware now. Telling the disenfranchised that "two wrongs don't make a right" is not far from infringing on their first ammendment rights.

And that Reebok ad rocks. It is absolutely hilariously done, very tongue in cheek, and totally rags on the continued objectification of women in sports, in movies, in music videos, and in commercials (especially those that involve beer.)

matt morin
5.24.02 @ 3:44p

I hate having to rearrange my panties...

I don't think anyone would say the race riots were the preferred way to draw attention to that problem. And it certainly didn't help for African-Americans to yell "Hey, we're being unfairly treated and abused because of our skin color!" as they beat an innocent truck driver within an inch of his life only because he was white.

And the entire civil rights movement of the 60's was about being treated as equals and having equal rights. It was radical and extreme, but it wasn't hypocritical. MLK didn't say "I have a dream that someday we'll be able to discriminate against white people like they discriminate against us."

jason siciliano
5.24.02 @ 5:21p

What's wrong with being sexy, anyway?

michael reynolds
5.24.02 @ 6:03p

Your knowledge of Sir Charles is undeniable.

Your use of commas, flawless.

Keep up the good work!

juli mccarthy
5.27.02 @ 11:45p

I dunno... I don't consider myself to be a racist, but I do have a problem with the fact that there is a Miss Black America pageant (let's not even talk about the pageant mentality as a whole, cuz who the hell has THAT kind of time?) I can't remember a time when women of color weren't allowed to compete for Miss America. I'm sure there WAS a time, but you know, I'm nearly forty and it's not in my memory banks.

It's OK to have an NAACP, but the skinheads in the NAAWP were pretty much kicked out of my town - and like it or not, as far as I recall, even morons have first amendment rights.

juli mccarthy
5.27.02 @ 11:49p

Oh, and by the way, the sexism against men by women isn't totally new, anyhow. Have you ever seen a commercial in which the wife is a household dingbat sitting on the sofa looking stupid, and the husband knows how to remove stubborn stains, where to find odd socks and what kind of cough syrup to give his sick child? I didn't think so.

erik myers
5.28.02 @ 1:34a

There is one thing, though. Stereotypes exist because they're true to an extent. Sure there are exceptions, but as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I fall right into that man stereotype of sitting on the sofa looking stupid. And if men are portrayed that way then hey, I'm not offended, and if men are offended by it they're probably just being obtuse. I also don't think it's sexism. It's the truth. Sure, not for everyone, but since when is everything true for everyone? You know, aside from physics.

And just to bring up something that Jason said -- and it doesn't relate to my point at all, but I just like it:

What's wrong with being sexy, anyway?

jason siciliano
5.28.02 @ 2:34a

One of the eight million amazing Spinal Tap quotes, for those who don't know. Delivered after the band is confronted by their label about the album cover for "Smell The Glove."

adam kraemer
5.28.02 @ 10:49a

"Sex-ist. Ist."

So the underlying theme is that it's only acceptible to make fun of those in power? Stereotypes are only funny when they're not at the expense of minorities or the disenfranchised?

There's a very thin line dividing the celebration of ethnic/gender differences and the exploitation of them. I remember when the movie White Men Can't Jump was released, a friend of mine commented, "What would happen if they came out with a movie called Black Men Can't Play Hockey?"

I don't know. I think it's more hypocritical to pretend not to notice the differences than to use humor to diffuse the tentions between groups.

erik myers
5.28.02 @ 11:14a

I think that humor is important.

If you can't laugh at yourself then you've got problems. If you can't laugh at others, you're overly sensitive.

Personally, I'd love to see the movie Black Men Can't Play Hockey.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 12:53p

Adam, that's my point exactly. If we're really concerned with sexism and racism, we won't tolerate it against any group.

Yes, humor is important, but there are a lot of ways to make light of the fact that men have stereotypically been sexist without being sexist right back.

adam kraemer
5.28.02 @ 1:15p

Name one. Also, is it really being sexist if you're not serious?

michelle von euw
5.28.02 @ 1:26p

I had the exact same experience LeAnne had: my entire response to this article was contained so eloquently in Jael's first post.

And since you asked, Matt, one of the other Reebok commericals shows a female basketball team, supported by men in tiny cheerleading uniforms.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 1:33p

I haven't seen the cheerleader spot. There are others that I've seen. One starts with "This is a man's world" then stops and Missy Elliot raps her own version of "This is a woman's world" while we see women doing all sorts of athletic stuff.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 1:35p

BTW: For those who disagree with my column, I still haven't read an explanation of why it's OK for Groups A, B, and C to be sexist towards Group D, but not the other way around.

Anyone? Anyone?

michelle von euw
5.28.02 @ 1:45p

Well, I first think we have to agree on what is sexist/ racist before we can start giving explanations -- i.e., the Reebok commerical, which Jael, LeAnne and I all seem to think is not sexist at all.

My standard response to Halle Berry is: well, WASP men have been repressing blacks and women for centuries, so it strikes me as rather silly to get upset about people taking pride in their gender/skin tone.

Charles Barkley, I think, is guilty of wanting to start a debate, and going about the best way he knows: to be controversial, meaning he'll get media coverage, and therefore, people talking about race issues instead of pretending that we aren't a color blind society.

Now, if you had used Mike Tyson as an example, I may be persuaded by your argument a little more.

[edited]

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 1:50p

That's cause you're all women.

Describe that commercial without using specific gender: One sex is eating in a restaurant where the other sex is made to wear skipmy outfits and show off their bodies. The first sex keeps eyeing, fondling, and harassing the workers.

How is that not sexist? It doesn't matter where the "male" and "female" words get arranged in that example.

michelle von euw
5.28.02 @ 1:54p

Except, as Jael mentions, we don't need commercials, because THAT HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE.

Actually, it's interesting to me that you're talking about this one Reebok commerical and not the 999 million ads that use women's bodies to sell beer. I've never seen the ad you're referring to, but as a sports fan, I've been subjected to the Coors Light "Love Song" commercial so many times I find myself singing "And Twins" without realizing it.

[edited]

adam kraemer
5.28.02 @ 1:55p

Well, I think there's an acceptible double standard there. Especially when you take into account the intent of the message and the target audience.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 2:02p

Yeah, the song talks about "I love football on TV, shots of Gina Lee...and twins."

How's that sexist? It's one guy's opinion of things he loves.

And I agree, the Hooters stuff happens in real life. And I'm just as against that. But don't be two-faced about it. Don't say it's not OK on one side, but OK on the other.

michelle von euw
5.28.02 @ 2:13p

Your last post, Matt, totally convinces me that women and men have different ways of looking at things. Basically, it's OK to use women's bodies to sell products, as long as the scantily-clad chicks are attributed as something that one man enjoys, but we have to decry the single ad where men's bodies are objectified...and may I add, ironically?

Look, we tried being equal. But we got the Relgious Right and Opie & Anthony in return. So now we try to show how absurd it is use people as sex objects to sell shoes, and we get called sexist.

jael mchenry
5.28.02 @ 2:17p

Clarification: while I think the Reebok Bananaz commercial is sexist (it clearly draws distinction between the genders) I feel it is justified for several reasons, one of which is raising awareness, which is a political strategem I much prefer to violence and litigation. It also happens to be funny.

And as for cases A, B, C, and D (Matt's 1:35 post) it's all a matter of degree. It is okay to poke fun at male objectification in a commercial because it's funny and short-term and isolated. If there were really a restaurant like that, I wouldn't go, and I'd ask my female friends not to go, because I would object to it. I don't consider myself two-faced; I consider myself capable of observing and reacting to shades of gray.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 2:18p

I'm not talking about using bodies (male or female) to sell something. (That's a whole 'nother column.)

I'm talking about a commercial portraying what is legally classified as sexual harassment as something that's funny and OK.

jael mchenry
5.28.02 @ 2:31p

And what Michelle is saying is that the commercial in question, with Gena Lee and twins, is using a woman's objectified and mostly exposed body to sell something to men.

And not in a tongue-in-cheek way, either. Don't tone and intent count for anything?

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 2:41p

Well, as you know, I love stripping things down until you get to the true heart of the matter. I love making things into black and white issues. If you're not against it, you're for it.

Because I think a lot of times you (and not you in particular) look at something as a gray issue, when in reallity it's just your glasses that are dirty. And when you clean away all the rationalized muck, the real issue is pretty clear.

jael mchenry
5.28.02 @ 2:45p

It's a gray world. If everything were as simple as its simplest expression -- war is bad, love is good, discrimination is wrong -- we would've already solved these problems by now.

michelle von euw
5.28.02 @ 2:53p

I love stripping things down

Pun intended, I'm sure.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 2:59p

I love stripping things down

Pun intended, I'm sure.


I almost commented on that...

But see Jael, I think these things really are that simple. I think pretty much everything is that simple.

You want to be with me or not. You killed that person or not.
You're discriminating or not.
You won, you lost.
You agree, you disagree.

What's hard is wading through all the layers that surround the core.

adam kraemer
5.28.02 @ 3:03p

I don't know, Matt; I find that seeing things as simply black and white is actually more myopic than observing that there are very few moral or intellectual absolutes. You can claim that, say, lying is bad, but what about when your girlfriend gets a new hair style that you can't stand? Not being able to distinguish between the lesser of two evils because both are ethically "wrong" often poses more problems than it solves. Even something that seems "absolutely" good can carry unpleasant or detrimental ramifications; if this weren't the case, irony might not exist.

For example "you killed that person or not" doesn't leave much room for self defense against someone trying to kill you. "You won, you lost" ignores the concept of the Pyrrhic victory.

[edited]

michelle von euw
5.28.02 @ 3:11p

Just an exercise:

You want to be with me or not.
We have different religions and you want lots of children and I want a career and don't think I'll have time for them, and I have a job offer in San Francisco and you've promised to take care of your elderly mother, who will need to live with us, and she won't leave Chicago.

You killed that person or not.
He raped and tortured my sister, and when the evidence was lost, he was set free, so he spent the last three years prank calling my mother, leaving pages from a porn magazine on her car window & cut up Barbie doll pieces on her front porch. One night he followed me out of a club and grabbed me by the arm, threatening to do the same thing to me, but after what happened to my sister, I started carrying a gun.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 3:36p

Just an exercise:

See? That's what I mean by all the dirt on the glasses.

You want to be with me or not.
If you really want to be with me, you find a way to work around, or with, those things. There's a solution for everything. It may not be an optimal solution, but there still is one. I still firmly believe that love conquers all.

katie morris
5.28.02 @ 3:36p

Matt, I think it would be nice if everything were cut and dried, black or white, but it's never that simple. As Michelle has pointed out, there are often a lot of other factors involved. I think it's too naive to think that everything absolutely has to be one way or the other and that there can be nothing in between.

And as a woman, I have to say that I have absolutely no opposition to reverse sexism. Maybe two wrongs don't make a right, but since I don't have any hope that sexism or discrimination against women will ever go away in my lifetime, I enjoy seeing men getting a little taste of their own medicine. Since we make 70 cents to your dollar and have to suffer catcalls every time we walk by construction sites, then I'm all for commercials that objectify men. At the very least, it may make you think about the fact that all women get objectified by men at least once a day. It sucks, and there's really not a whole lot women can do to stop it. So bring on the Bananaz ads!

jael mchenry
5.28.02 @ 3:43p

I saw an interesting feature in a magazine in the workout room the other day: women dressed up in construction worker togs and catcalled men, then reported the results. Without fail, the men who had their jackets and asses and packages complimented thanked the women for their attention, and said they liked it. The last sentence bothered me: "Is this how they think we feel when they're doing it to us?" Because either it is (which, by the way, is not true, at least not for me) or it isn't (in which case it's objectifying and intentionally belittling, which is also not good.)

adam kraemer
5.28.02 @ 4:07p

Actually, Jael, you forgot a third option - that those construction workers don't really care whether the women they whistle at like it. They're neither doing it to be complementary or belittling; they're just doing it.

But as I see it, the problem here is that some people don't seem to realize or refuse to recognize that men and women have different physiologies and life outlooks. As a man, I'd love to have a group of women whistling at me when I walk past. That would make me feel good about the way I look. I don't know if the difference is that men don't get objectified often so it's a novel experience, or if it's just a question of the two genders seeing things differently. I'm sure not every guy feels this way, but I don't think I would be offended at catcalls.

Getting back to the black/wite/gray issue, Matt, does that mean that you feel that if a relationship doesn't work out, she didn't really love you?

[edited]

jael mchenry
5.28.02 @ 4:23p

Good point, although I would argue that they're doing it for a reason, even if they don't care how the woman feels. Maybe they just want to look macho to their pals, I don't know.

I do think there's a difference in outlook between how most men and most women feel about being catcalled on the street. But I think it's the cultural environment and upbringing -- the enforcement of gender roles -- that make it that way. Probably men who like being catcalled like it because it's a novelty. If they'd spent their whole lives being reduced to their exterior traits, it wouldn't be so amusing.

I should point out that the difference for me is simple: I get yelled at on the street because I'm a woman. For no other reason. Even if I'm dressed like a slob, I'm not wearing makeup, and my hair's a mess, still there's whistling and whatnot. If a man (or woman) I don't know compliments me on my appearance while we're standing in line at Starbucks, or the doctor's office, or what-have-you, however, I think it's nice. Not as nice as a compliment from someone who actually knows me, mind you, but there's nothing wrong with it.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 4:25p

Well, I think it just means she didn't love me enough to want to stay. Which to me, means no, she didn't really love me. She just liked me a lot. Like I said, if you love someone, you figure out ways to make it work.

And I think that how men and women see catcalls differs a lot. Men receiving catcalls aren't thinking, "I hope this doesn't escalate to a point where I get raped."

michelle von euw
5.28.02 @ 4:53p

Matt, most people don't divorce because they've stopped loving each other... unfortunately, real life often gets in the way of a good relationship. My mom literally wrote the book on marriage preparation, and she has said to me that the saddest thing in the world is meeting a couple who are obviously in love but won't have a successful marriage, because they are just too different.

[edited]

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 5:06p

Or don't want to work hard enough at it.

Which, I think, is more often the case.

adam kraemer
5.28.02 @ 5:10p

I'm really stumped. I honestly can't understand how someone can go through life without recognizing that there are different degrees of right and wrong. If I kill someone for, say, raping my daughter, does that put me in the same category as a Hitler or Stalin? If there aren't different degrees of love, how do we decide who our best friends are and who we marry? Hell, my maternal grandparents loved each other their entire lives, but divorced in 1978 after 35 years of marriage because they didn't like each other anymore. Didn't stop my granmother from crying at my grandfather's funeral.

jael mchenry
5.28.02 @ 5:14p

As I understand Matt's worldview (which I don't, but let's pretend), it's not that there aren't degrees of right and wrong. There must be degrees within them -- something can be "more right" than something else. There just isn't a middle space where something is neither right nor wrong, or wrong but justifiable, or... maybe the love example is better. If I don't love you enough to move heaven and earth to be with you, what I feel for you might not truly qualify as love... Matt, am I close?

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 5:22p

Well, as far as love goes, for me, actions speak so much more than words. So you can tell me you love me all you want, but that means so very little if it's not backed up by actions.

Adam, I completely agree there are different types of love. And people freely move in and out of those different types. But unfortunately, the differentiation is not communicated enough. If a woman tells me she loves me and wants to be with me forever, don't come back later and say "I still love you, but don't want to be with you anymore." Because it's not the same kind of love. Not even close. Come back and say, "I don't love you like I used to, and don't want to be together with you anymore."

Yes, Jael, you totally got it at the end. I think the word "love" gets thrown around a lot. I think a lot of people think love should be really easy. And when it's not, they give up. I don't consider that real love.

[edited]

adam kraemer
5.28.02 @ 5:24p

Do you leave room for "I still love you, but it's not the same feeling as it used to be, so I'm going to find someone else with whom I can feel that way again?" Is that still love, though the romance is gone?

jael mchenry
5.28.02 @ 5:28p

I know I don't leave room for that. When someone else enters the picture, it's not love anymore.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 5:31p

I think love changes and grow just like people do. A couple who have been married for 50 years has a different kind of love than when they were first married.

But now it comes back to the black and white issue - Despite the fact that things have changed, or it's more work, or I don't get that tingling in my toes when you kiss me, more than anything else, I want to be with you. Period.

adam kraemer
5.28.02 @ 5:31p

That's ridiculous. How can it be all or nothing? Maybe I wasn't clear; I didn't say someone else entered the picture. I said that the feeling disappeared, so the relationship is ending. My point was just that sometimes people leave a relationship even if there's love there because it's no longer that kind of "I want to be with you forever" love. I didn't say these were good people, but it doesn't invalidate the emotion.

matt morin
5.28.02 @ 5:40p

Like I said, actions speak louder than words.

It may just be a confusion of terms. When someone breaks up with me and says "I still love you." They're meaning "I care about you" when all I'm thinking is, how can you still love me in the romantic sense?

And when you're being broken up with, no one really cares that you still care about them. It's kind of a moot point.

jael mchenry
5.28.02 @ 5:44p

It really is just terms, I think. We all have different ideas of what the word "love" covers and what it doesn't cover, different senses of where the cutoff is to say the word no longer applies. I think Matt's definition is just especially narrow and Adam's might be especially wide.

And the reason I had someone else entering the picture, Adam, is because you mentioned the person wanting to find someone else with whom they could feel that new-love feeling again. And my definition of love covers you right up to the point where you either want to cheat or start cheating. After that it's semantics. Do you not love me, or do you just not love me enough? As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter, cuz it's over.

adam kraemer
5.28.02 @ 6:13p

I wasn't talking about cheating. That's why I said I might not have been clear. I was talking about breaking up with someone with (of course) the expectation of eventually finding someone else.

And yeah, I was defining love as more than romantic. Because (speaking of degrees) at what point does caring for someone a lot turn into love? Where do you draw the line?

erik myers
5.29.02 @ 9:58a

More importantly... where do you cross the line?

jael mchenry
5.29.02 @ 11:22a

It's another thing that's totally personal. I read an advice column online wherein the adviser remarked that "anyone who says 'I love you' in less than two months is crying for help." Blanket statements like that tick me off. It's personal, it depends.

Of course, that advice columnist is getting a divorce, so you have to wonder.

katie morris
5.29.02 @ 2:18p

I completely agree. Love is obviously a very personal thing. So while Matt's view that if a woman leaves him she must not have loved him may be true for him, I don't think it's fair to say that it's true for everyone. I have broken up with people that I've been in love with. But just because you love someone doesn't mean they're right for you or they're the best person for you to be with. Sadly, love is never that simple.

matt morin
5.29.02 @ 2:58p

I'd never tell someone I loved them in less than two months. For me, that initial puppy love stage always feels like love, but later on, I always realize it wasn't really love. So I'd much rather play it safe and not tell someone I love them right away, instead of saying it and then realizing later I didn't really mean it.

Then again, most of the women I date don't stick around longer than 3 months anyway.

erik myers
5.29.02 @ 3:11p

You're right -- two months is an awfully short time for something so complicated.

That beginning part, that's infatuation, and an honest care for a person (at least for some people), but love... that's a big word to be throwing around after two months.

[edited]

jael mchenry
5.29.02 @ 3:27p

While I agree with both of you that it's better to be cautious and not delude yourself into saying things you don't mean, I'm just trying to point out that there's two months and then there's two months. Sometimes two months is eight dates. Sometimes it's 45. Such an arbitrary limit is silly. The beginning stage isn't always a delusion.

matt morin
5.29.02 @ 3:35p

See, I'm usually the let's do this fast type. I hate wasting time. So I'm usually a lot closer to the 45 dates in 2 months kind of guy. I never understood dating someone once or twice a month. It'd take a year to even know if you were really interested.

That said, even if I have 45 dates in 2 months, that's still puppy love stage for me. It's still new and full of passion. No, the beginning stage isn't always a delusion - but it certainly is much different than it will be down the road.

I've never met anyone - friend or girlfriend - who I can say I've really known after two months, 45 dates or not.

[edited]

russ carr
5.29.02 @ 3:36p

Fried people are difficult to relate to, I've found.

Ah, damn. Matt ruined my giggles.

[edited]

jael mchenry
5.29.02 @ 3:38p

You can't know everything, but you can know enough. That's all I'm saying.

I'm not saying you know in eight weeks whether you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, and maybe that's the difference, if we're going with that definition of love.

matt morin
5.29.02 @ 3:42p

Yeah. I'll know enough to know if I want to keep dating them. But definitely not enough to know (or tell them) if I love them. Different definitions.

That said, the one woman I've been in love with, I could have told you after the first 15 minutes. Go figure.

adam kraemer
5.29.02 @ 4:01p

I hear that happens, too.

But I think you can have love and still know that it's not right. You can't deny that a battered woman might love her husband, even though he beats the crap out of her.

jeffrey walker
5.29.02 @ 4:35p

I don’t know how this got into dating. However, in regards to the whole “supporting your own race,” or having a strong inclination of pride in your own gender, I suppose pride in yourself is usually good. Here’s the problem: every time you do that, it can easily be taken as a slight from someone who does not share that trait. Sometimes you’ll meet someone who is brave enough to ask about your differences, but most people will just feel like they don’t belong. Therefore, they feel excluded. Pride in a characteristic is a breeding ground for contempt.
The truth is, no race or gender can ever truly understand what it is like to be the other no matter what operations are available these days. Every person will always have some degree of difference from everyone else. We’ll never change that. The only thing we can try to hope for is a way for people to stop being jealous, intimidated by, or hateful of those whom we’ll never wholly understand.


adam kraemer
5.29.02 @ 4:45p

I agree. I remember learning in an IR class once that any defensive maneuver made by one country can always be viewed as an offensive move by its neighbors. I think similar can be said for a person taking pride in whatever group he/she represents. Recognizing differences can always be viewed by someone as being racist, even if those differences are fairly innocuous.

jael mchenry
5.29.02 @ 4:47p

Pride in a characteristic is a breeding ground for contempt.

Be that as it may, I refuse to not take pride in myself as a woman out of fear it might offend men. My reaction to Halle Berry's Oscar speech was certainly not "Wow, how dare she exclude all the white women."

People take offense at anything and everything. We can't control that. I think there's a lot of positive power in taking pride in yourself as a man or woman or Latina or gay or anything else. Coming together with your community shouldn't be avoided out of fear of the reaction of other communities. The risk of offending the sensitive is, in my opinion, worth the risk.

matt morin
5.29.02 @ 5:31p

I just think it should go both ways though. The African-American community can talk all it wants about how great Halle Berry's speech was in celebrating black culture and history. But you'd better believe that if Tom Hanks got up there and gave a long-winded, rambling speech about dedicating his award to all white actors, he'd be branded as a racist.

tracey kelley
5.29.02 @ 5:57p

Ah yes, but remember, the entire black community is at a disadvantage because of slavery and continued racism. dripping sarcasm here.

I recently said to a friend of mine regarding her comments on my reparations article that, as a white woman, I often get tired of defending my views of wanting equality for all rather than some, because I feel someone is always poking a finger in my chest accusing me of not understanding their plight.

Regarding sexism, ah jeez. To me, it's the same as racism, in that each individual is accountable for their actions. Women still are at a disadvantage in the hands of men, however, when it comes to sexual and physical violence. All women. That concerns me more than some stupid commercial.

I believe, regarding what love means vs. what someone says love means, is that you can love someone, but part of your love is compromise. No one person in the relationship has the right to call all the shots. You have to create a sense of balance. If one person manifests love from absolutes, the relationship will, most certainly, fail.

[edited]

jeffrey walker
5.29.02 @ 11:13p

Look, anyone 20-mid 30's have no idea what slavery was, or even can really remember the civil rights movement. Women currently make MORE than men, and are being granted Dr. and Masters degrees at a higher rate than ever before.
Besides, I never got a free "wink and nod" in my life for being a white male. Advantages don't really exist for anyone unless you had an in OTHER than race or gender to begin with in this day and age, and the few who persist in this are quickly pointed out in courts and media EVERYWHERE.
Having "pride" for a trait is fine (Jael), but taking it too far in every circumstance will only leave you in the company only those with the same characteristics before too long.

tracey kelley
5.29.02 @ 11:23p

"granted" Dr. and Masters degrees? I believe woman are pursuing said degrees and achieving the goals necessary to earn the degrees.

As far as women making more than men, it's that type of sweeping generalization that gets us all in trouble.

sarah ficke
5.30.02 @ 8:28a

Coming together with your community shouldn't be avoided out of fear of the reaction of other communities.

True, forging a sense of community and celebrating it is a good thing. The problem comes when you reject other people's attempts to learn about you and your community. A (white) friend of mine once wanted to audition for the African-style dance troupe at school. Nowhere was it specified that the performers had to be African-American, but when she asked about auditions, she was told that she "wouldn't fit in". Now, how are we going to learn to live together and understand each other if we are constantly being told that it is impossible? I have no problem with an African-American dance troupe, but only if they advertise themselves as such rather than practicing a covert bias. All that does is breed dislike and distrust.

jael mchenry
5.30.02 @ 9:02a

Women currently make MORE than men

I would need to see a source on this to believe it.

and are being granted Dr. and Masters degrees at a higher rate than ever before.

True. Which is progress. But going upward from zero doesn't put you at 100. Women are still at a distinct disadvantage in the workplace for a number of reasons. Minorities too. If you think that blacks and Hispanics are getting a wink and a nod that lets them jump the line in front of the white men, show me all the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who are black or Hispanic.

jeffrey walker
5.30.02 @ 10:38a

How many black would prefer not to be a CEO of a "white man's" organization? What do you think the proliferation of "black owned business" is all about?
And if you want to know where the jumps in line are for minorities, just what do you think affirmative action is about? What once was a well intentioned plan at making those who refused to hire minorities be legally liable if they did not has digressed into a quota system where (especially state run) organizations must have a representative number of a particular race, regardless of who may be better qualified for a position. If anything, the white man stands today at a disadvantage.
Not to mention, these high paid women (according to a report on CNN) still cannot break out of the mindset of wanting males that make more money than them ANYWAY. It seems women can't break out of this statistically, and are now unhappy because they can't find theire "suitable mate" moneywise. So while women complain about "inequality" in pay, they still can't let go of traditional geneder roles within relationships. Who's really the hypocrite?

[edited]

adam kraemer
5.30.02 @ 10:54a

That's fantastic. What a wonderful double standard. I think, honestly, that it's a 'grass is greener' mindset in a lot of ways. Every group feels like all of the other groups are getting preferential treatment. Sure, I see the hypocrisy in today's 'affirmative action'; sure, I also recognize that I'm still more likely to be hired for any given position (as long as they're not anti-Semites); sure, I realize that women are as capable, if not more, in a vast number of business situations; and sure, I'd be annoyed if I didn't get offered a job because of my gender or the color of my skin. As much as people like to say "I have pride in the fact that I'm [insert group name here]," they like nearly as much to say, "Oh, because I was [insert group name here] we had it much harder than everyone else."

[edited]

jael mchenry
5.30.02 @ 10:56a

Oh, am I gonna try not to be upset about this.

If we're attempting to move toward color-blindness, as Matt suggests, the idea of a black man finding it offensive to be the CEO of a "white man's organization" is laughable. Hell, it's laughable no matter what we're trying to do. The proliferation of black-owned businesses is not about disdain for other races, but an honest effort to try to even out the uneven playing field that, if left to its own devices (as it has been for years), would simply result in all-white companies with all-white boards and all-white leadership.

I still maintain that the highly skewed profile of major corporate CEOs -- and, I might add, our elected leadership -- is the result of years of ingrained white male advantages. If you're saying that white men are constantly disadvantaged in today's world I just wonder where the evidence is.

jeffrey walker
5.30.02 @ 10:59a

So many people like to image that their situation is so much worse than another's, especially when a clear gender or race difference in involved. They're easy scapegoats. The truth is, it's easier to point fingers and feel jealous rather than do something on their own.

michelle von euw
5.30.02 @ 11:21a

So while women complain about "inequality" in pay, they still can't let go of traditional geneder roles within relationships.

Please define these "traditional gender roles" that we have problems giving up. And then come to my house for dinner - cooked by my husband.

michelle von euw
5.30.02 @ 11:24a

Jeff, can you give us the CNN link? Because I did a search on CNN.com, and this is what I found:

"According to a 1999 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the AFL-CIO based on U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor statistics, women who work full time earn just 74 cents for every dollar men earn."

and this one:

"Although the number of women attaining baccalaureate and advanced degrees now surpasses the number of men, in 1999 the median wages of female college graduates were $14,665 less than those of male graduates.

[edited]

jeffrey walker
5.30.02 @ 11:34a

"Husband" - need more of a traditional role (making you a wife) than that? I can cook for myself, and quite well. I have a number of lady friends who jumps at dinner invitations. I can clean my own home and even myself, too.
Unfortunately, most women just a cute guy in a band, who also has a high income potential because he's a lawyer. I fit the "mate" potential in many categories. But I am villified b/c I don't want children. Not because I care about "getting laid by every woman", but that I simply don't want children. I tell you, I don't think I've ever thought less of a woman for wanting to be successful or have a career, but so many women crusify men who do not want to bend to the whim of your biological clocks. Now, unmarried mothers are skyrocketing NOT because men are leaving, but most of you simply want men for what they offer to you, while not really thinking of the man's needs in return.

jael mchenry
5.30.02 @ 11:37a

Can "we" please back off on the generalizations? None of the arguments you're making about what women supposedly say/want/do/make apply to me or any other woman I know.

It's not my business whether you do or don't want children. It's your decision. And I believe single motherhood is on the way down as a percentage, but I'll check for numbers to back that up.

jael mchenry
5.30.02 @ 11:43a

From kausfiles.com:

Remember the rise of single-motherhood--the big, unstoppable demographic trend that was said to underlie all sorts of social ills, especially for low-income minorities?

Well don't tell anybody, but the unstoppable trend has stopped. In fact, it's being reversed.

In an important study, Allen Dupree and Wendell Primus of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have analyzed Census data and discovered that single-parenthood, which had been rising for decades, has started to decline.

The turnaround occurred between 1995 and 2000, Dupree and Primus report, when "the percentage of children younger than 18 living with a single mother declined from 19.9 percent to 18.4 percent--a statistically significant drop ... of 8 percent." In the preceding decade, from 1985-1995, the percentage of children living in single-mother homes had increased by a nearly equal percentage.


Yep, women ignoring men's needs to have babies is definitely a big problem.


jeffrey walker
5.30.02 @ 11:48a

It's a problem, alright. but we'll disagree on that.

here's you CNN facts:
According to the 2000 Census, the average American woman has a higher net worth than the average American man. It's incontrovertible. If women are so discriminated against in the workplace, how could this happen? By magic?... Women, right now, earn the majority of undergraduate degrees. [Women] earn the majority of Masters degrees. [Women] outperform men in high school and college.
Within the next generation, [women] are expected to earn the majority of PH.Ds. Education is one of the primary drivers of income. The other is continuous years in the workforce.

Crossfire 4/16/2002

matt morin
5.30.02 @ 11:49a

Why does society feel the need to keep sub-classifying things? Why does a business have to be a black owned business? Why can't it just be another business? Why does it have to be a woman CEO? Why can't we just see her as another CEO?

We just continue the problem of people looking at minority groups differently (I know women aren't a minority group, but go with me here) because we constantly define them differently.

adam kraemer
5.30.02 @ 11:50a

Apparently we're writers - in what world is a drop of 19.9% to 18.4% considered an 8 percent drop?

I think Jeff is just hanging out with the wrong women.

At the same time, I think that whining about your lot in life because "white men" are keeping you down is a bit much, at least as far as those who post on this site are concerned.

Also, I think you might have latched onto the wrong point of Jeff's original comment about "traditional roles" - he was specifically talking about income and potential dates. Women, in general (yes, I know), will often seek out men who make more money than they do. Which is ironic, if they're striving, at the same time, to make as much or more money than men. Which has nothing to do with whether Joe cooks dinner or Jeff cleans his home.

Oh, and Matt - get off it - "society" doesn't sub-classify things, people do.

[edited]

jael mchenry
5.30.02 @ 12:04p

The census states both that women have a higher net worth than men and that men made $10,000 more than women in 2000. It's all in which numbers you look at. All I'm reading above other than dueling statistics is a bunch -- again -- of generalizations about how "most women" are looking for something or doing something else. I have made more money than every boyfriend I've had since 1996. But you're discounting the examples Michelle and I are giving in favor of the generalizations. So are we just supposed to be good little girls and knuckle under? No, I didn't think so.

The most amusing exchange from that Crossfire transcript goes as follows:

CARLSON: Isn't it true that women work in different ways than men, by and large? Women have the option, often do take time off to have children. Women work in different types of jobs. The 25 most dangerous jobs in America are almost exclusively male. These are no female underwater welders or commercial fishermen, truly. These are high-paying jobs. They're dangerous jobs.

BEGALA: The huge underwater welding community is what's driving the wage gap?



matt morin
5.30.02 @ 12:05p

I'd venture to say professional sports might be though.

edited to reflect that that comment wasn't serious.

[edited]

michelle von euw
5.30.02 @ 12:06p

Call me post-modern, but I don't believe that using the terms "husband" and "wife" means that we subscribe to traditional gender roles.

While I am certainly sorry to hear that you've had some negative personal experiences with women, Jeff, please don't assume that we all are evil baby-making machines who want a husband only for his sperm and his income.

jael mchenry
5.30.02 @ 12:08p

And Adam, the ellipsis on the kausfiles site eliminates the explanation from the original report, which reads: "the proportion of children younger than 18 living with a single mother declined from 19.9 percent to 18.4 percent — a statistically significant drop of 1.5 percentage points, or 8 percent."

You have to take the percentage of the percentage. 1.5 divided by 18.4.

adam kraemer
5.30.02 @ 12:11p

Thanks for explaining the math, by the way (I was aware that some text was missing, though); I was kinda stumped. Anyone have any actual statistics on what women are being paid vs. men for the exact same jobs? Are female teachers making less? Female lawyers? Female editors? Female senators?

I'm not arguing either point right now, I'm just honestly curious.

Also, how can you not talk about a large group of people (women or men, for example) without generalizing? Am I supposed to list each woman one at a time and tell you whether she cares how much her boyfriend makes? Simply accusing us of generalizing (isn't it also generalizing to say "men make more money than women"?) doesn't actually disprove the points we're making.

[edited]

jeffrey walker
5.30.02 @ 12:14p

I'm not going to even dignify your insinuations about my personal relationships. But I will have you know, I don't want women to be "good little girls and knuckle under." Truthfully, I prefer only bad girls.

jael mchenry
5.30.02 @ 12:18p

Actually, I haven't claimed at any point here that men make more money than women, and have tried not to say anything without citing a source. Except for the CEO stuff, which I'll cite if someone wants me to but I think it's perfectly obvious.

Actually, I'd like to think that removing the generalization invalidates the points you're making. I just don't see how you can make the claim that most women want to date men who make more money than they do. I'm not saying the people I know are truly representative of the population on the whole, but that's not what I'm trying to say. I'm just trying to take it off the table because I don't think it's relevant to the idea of institutionalized sexism.

michelle von euw
5.30.02 @ 12:19p

Jeff wrote, Unfortunately, most women just a cute guy in a band, who also has a high income potential because he's a lawyer. I fit the "mate" potential in many categories. But I am villified b/c I don't want children. Not because I care about "getting laid by every woman", but that I simply don't want children. I tell you, I don't think I've ever thought less of a woman for wanting to be successful or have a career, but so many women crusify men who do not want to bend to the whim of your biological clocks.

I was actually being sincere after reading that post -- I feel bad that you meet women like that -- and not making insinuations.

I was protesting to your classification of all women based on how some viewed you, the cute band guy/lawyer.

adam kraemer
5.30.02 @ 12:38p

Truthfully, I prefer only bad girls.

I can vouch for that. Last time I was with Jeff, he made me wear this rubber mini-skirt... never mind.

I think it's also important to view the income debate in a historical context. It's only been in the past 30 years that women have really been able to hold (for the most part) all of the same jobs as men. A lot of the CEOs that Jael keeps mentioning probably got into their companies before there was such a large influx of women doing the same thing. I would imagine this changing as the baby boomers begin to retire and the children of the '70s and '80s begin to fill their places.

And yet no one's found an answer to my question of whether there's an income disparity between a man and a woman in an identical position. There might, in fact, be. I'm just wondering.

All I'm saying, regarding generalizations, is that if they're true and accurate, then a) it makes a large group easier to talk about without worrying about exceptions, and b) just because it's a generalization doesn't make it invalid.

jael mchenry
5.30.02 @ 12:45p

If they're true and accurate. How can we know? We can't. So... they serve no purpose.

In terms of time, yes, it will definitely be interesting to see how the racial and gender makeup of corporate and governmental leadership changes over the next 30 years.

Will see what I can find on the identical position issue.

Rubber mini-skirt... AH! MY EYES!

matt morin
5.30.02 @ 12:49p

OK Adam, it's for the advertising industry only, but here's a breakdown of salary by gender.

http://www.adage.com/page.cms?pageId=668

michelle von euw
5.30.02 @ 12:50p

(Edited to add that the data is in my next post, but I'll leave the source for it)

http://www.aflcio.org/women/eqp_day2002.htm



[edited]

michelle von euw
5.30.02 @ 12:52p

Here you go, Adam:

For women lawyers, whose median weekly earnings are nearly $300 less than those of male attorneys, and for women secretaries, who receive about $100 a week less than male clericals;

For women doctors, whose median earnings are more than $500 less each week than men's earnings, and for the 95 percent of nurses who are women but who earn $30 less each week than the 5 percent of nurses who are men;

For women professors, whose median pay is $170 less each week than men's pay, and for women elementary school teachers, who receive $70 less a week than men;

For women food service supervisors, who are paid about $60 less each week than men in the same job, and for waitresses, whose weekly earnings are $50 less than waiters' earnings.

(same AFL-CIO website)

erik myers
5.30.02 @ 12:52p

But there's no such thing as a generalization that is true and accurate in all cases -- of course, I'm generalizing.

Seriously, though -- the purpose of a generalization is to be able to talk about a group without having to say, "Oh, except for this exception, this exception and this exception." It's a generalization, which means it's true for most but not for all.

And myself? I'd throw in a couple of bucks to see Adam in a rubber mini-skirt.

Just for the laugh.

adam kraemer
5.30.02 @ 12:52p

My friend Becky mentioned to me yesterday that if the Democrats were to take control of the House in the next election, something like 19 committee heads will be African American. As opposed to today's Republican zero. Only using this as an example that things can and will change.

Understand, of course, that throughout this debate, I'm not claiming that women should make less money than men. I just think that (getting back to Matt's original point) ignoring the differences between any two groups is as foolish as claiming that one is better than another.

michelle von euw
5.30.02 @ 12:57p

I think because I answered Adam's burning question, I should be allowed to see him in the Rubber Mini-Skirt as soon as possible.

While I'd prefer it to be in person, pictures will suffice.

adam kraemer
5.30.02 @ 1:02p

I'll see what I can do.

The numbers are what I was looking for, Michelle. Thanks.

'Course the next question is which institutions are paying them differently? Which hospitals are paying their male nurses more and why? Which restaurants pay their waiters more than their waitresses? Is it just a question of men getting promoted first, or what? Anyone?

Which is why I'm so supportive of the porn industry, of course. Those women make about 4 times what the men do, if not more.

[edited]

matt morin
5.30.02 @ 1:02p

But pictures can be posted on the Internet for all of us to see.

Oh wait, I don't want to see that. Ever.

adam kraemer
5.30.02 @ 1:05p

You're right. You don't.

jael mchenry
5.30.02 @ 1:14p

Why is it so important to know which institutions are paying their employees more or less? Would it be that much more or less fair if women professors less at large midwestern universities and more the Ivy League? Or the other way around? You can draw all sorts of conclusions, but I don't think you'd ever get the people who make these hiring decisions to fess up to exactly why one person is hired over another.

So what can we say? Best case scenario, things are still unfair right now but the wheels have been set in motion to rectify them as the older generation retires and is replaced. Worst case scenario? Things are still unfair and will stay that way.

adam kraemer
5.30.02 @ 1:20p

Well, worst case scenario is that we'll have a gender war and one side will discover how to turn a laser into a hand-held weapon and that will be it for the whole race.

I was just thinking that if we could identify the institutions, then we could set about righting specific wrongs, instead of generalizing and trying to change the "system" or "society."

russ carr
5.30.02 @ 1:37p

The Smithsonian. That's an institution, right?

laurel martin
6.6.02 @ 1:12p

PART I

In response to the article, “You’re such a hypocrite,” I would like to outline a few issues that I think are missing from this argument. I would first like to note, however, that I agree with the author that two wrongs do not make a right. I have always been offended by the remarks, actions and societies formed around reverse –isms (pick one). But I do not think this article is about sexism at all, it is about sexual objectification. I will not touch on the race issue; being an Irish-German hybrid, I have no personal experience to add to that topic.

First of all, let me outline the difference between sexism and sexual objectification. Sexism is the notion that one sex is inferior mentally, physically and spiritually to the other. Sexual objectification is the use of the bodily characteristics of one sex to visually stimulate the other, usually to sell a product or an idea, or to generally advertise or explore sexual availability of the objectified sex. Now sometimes, the objectified sex is portrayed in a way that suggests inferiority, but the overall connotation is more focused on pure sexual desire, divided from any acknowledgement of personality traits good or bad. In some cases, the objectified sex, while still portrayed as a sexual object, is “sexy” because of strength, intelligence, and sophistication. I consider none of these characteristics to be demeaning or insulting, yet the are still clear portrayals of sexual objectification.



[edited]

laurel martin
6.6.02 @ 1:13p

PART II

I will agree that the example TV commercial in the author’s article clearly depicts sexual objectification. I will also agree that the men in this commercial were portrayed in a demeaning manner, much akin to the Budweiser babes of the past or the Whitesnake video girl that caused so mush social upheaval. This is clearly offensive to the author.

But what about the lovely strong and sophisticated male specimens in the Mach 3 commercials, the cosmetic commercials, the clothing commercials, and my favorite of all, the brilliant works of art created by the Herbal Essences advertising team. The raw sexual draw of these models is used to either entice women to buy their men these products so that their men resemble the models, or to convince women that if they use these products, they will have gorgeous hunks drooling over them as well. These are also blatant uses of sexual objectification of the male body to sell products. I enjoy these men just as much as male viewers enjoy the portrayal of an elegantly, yet skimpily dressed women that advertises 10 year old scotch in their favorite magazine. I in no way find the sexual objectification of men or women, when performed in good taste, offensive. In fact, I believe that if we removed sexual objectification from sales and media, we would all be very bored.


[edited]

laurel martin
6.6.02 @ 1:18p

PART III

This sales tool plays on the oldest and most natural drive of humans, and to claim that this is inappropriate in all forms is to revoke the natural rhythm of our world.

Sexism is not appreciating the sexual draw of the opposite sex. Sexism is the fact that I have to get an MBA to receive the same salary as my male BS level cube mate. Sexism is the 20 minute lecture I received from by boss on why it inappropriate for me to smoke cigars with my male coworkers, because, as he stated, “let’s face it, you’re a girl.” Sexism is the fact that I had to go to all women’s college to get a decent education in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology. Reverse sexism is my female friend’s belief that no man on the face of this earth would be able to be faithful to one woman if given the chance to cheat. Reverse sexism would be me, stating that based on the fact that the author of this article is a nice looking Caucasian male who obviously thinks a minor example of sexual objectification is sexism, he has no idea what it is like to experience the effect and humiliation of true sexism.

In conclusion, I would like to state that the reason I know about, and read this article, is because the author is a friend of mine. And I respect his opinion immensely.


matt morin
6.6.02 @ 4:31p

You respect my opinion? Aww...gee thanks.

Here's where I disagree:

You can have sexism without sexual objectification. I.E. - you can think and treat the opposite sex as non-equals in a non-sexual way.

But when you sexually objectify someone you automatically think of them as below you. You can't think of a person as your equal when all you're really thinking is they're just an ass, or a pair of breasts, or something to have sex with.

So when you objectify someone sexually, you automatically are being sexist because they cease to be a person, and just become an object.

laurel martin
6.6.02 @ 5:36p

True, but can you really claim that that can, or should, change? Is an idealistic peace on earth a possibility? And even if we did achieve it, would our societal growth cease or accelerate? How much art was derived from sexual objectification? Have you ever taken a good look at Picasso? What would we lose or gain if we no longer practiced this tendency of humanity?

matt morin
6.6.02 @ 9:18p

Well, as I think I mentioned eariler in the discussion, I left sexual objectification out of the argument for a reason. It's a much different (and more difficult) topic.

Yes, I admit it's a somewhat idealistic view I'm proposing, but you've got to start somewhere.

eloise young
6.7.02 @ 3:26a

Just to insert some geekiness here, and I'm referring back quite a long way up the discussion, but I just read this entire thread in one sitting and couldn't let it rest:

It's the 1.5 over the 19.9 that causes the 8 percent drop (it's rounded up from 7.54 or so). It's not over the 18.4 because you measure the percentage difference over the original level, not the new level. [Yes, I know this is a writer's site, but still...]

And, I have no data but I could speculate as to why women's net worth is on average higher than men's, even while their salaries are lower. I hypothesize that it's because when they get old, there are more women surviving than men - and the first to die in a couple leaves most if not all of their assets to the other. And in general, today's elderly have a great deal more net worth than the young. So there are many widows out there in houses they now own, skewing the figures. As I say, I have no evidence of any of this, but it makes sense to me.

matt morin
7.16.02 @ 9:26p

OK, so has anyone seen the new ads for a photocopy company where women in an office break the machines on purpose so that they can oggle the cute repair guy? Even AdWeek.com is running a poll asking if the ad should be considered sexist.

But will there be any calls to pull the ad? I'm guessing no.



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