A reply to Why I Don’t Identify as a Feminist. Part Two.


Click to go back to Part 1

Here’s part 2 of my reply to Godless Cranium’s post found here.

Hessian then goes on to discuss the wage gap, male privilege (a nebulous term at best), jobs and educational opportunities. I saw no statistics to back this up, but if there is a problem in these areas, then we should be combating them – not from the perspective of one gender or sex only, but from a human perspective.

Godless Cranium

I take an issues with this, though you’re right: I didn’t link to stats, and I shall link to stats now. But first my issues:

Gender and Sex are human issues. How do you think we are going to tackle this human issue if we don’t look at the cultural, economic, social, gender, and sex (as well as others) issues involved? Feminism, when it comes to these economic issues, isn’t just about sex and gender, it’s about at least the 5 factors I mentioned and their interplay in the dynamics of the systematic oppression caused by the patriarchal white and rich favoring system we live within (these oppressions are not limited to women). We shouldn’t ignore sex and gender as just a human issue, just like we should not be minimizing race, and, while this is not what you said, I feel that saying things in that manner can lead to us ignoring that sex and gender do play very real roles in how much money you make and what opportunities you have.

Now Stats:

Wage Gap:

http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2011/ted_20110216_data.htm

http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswom2009.pdf

http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/Gender_pay_gap_statistics#Main_statistical_findings

Check the citations on Wikipedia if you really want to do some digging, but the number are clear: women on average do not get paid as much as men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male%E2%80%93female_income_disparity_in_the_United_States#References

Differences in Opportunity (this is far less clear cut then the wage gap):

This one’s a chapter of a textbook, so if you’re in for a read… Thought it is thorough and has lots of diagrams, and does say where inequality effects both men and women in many place around the world:

http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDAQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsiteresources.worldbank.org%2FINTWDR2012%2FResources%2F7778105-1299699968583%2F7786210-1315936222006%2Fchapter-5.pdf&ei=XVPxU7HFAo_ZoATk1oGQAQ&usg=AFQjCNHHsOviw0DHdWaTyXddvaZHw8nY9g&sig2=vtz4eQW0nRtHwY0HPnpDpg&bvm=bv.73231344,d.cGU&cad=rja

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK23781/

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/2009/09/BG0909019I.htm

Perceptions around job opportunity equality:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/17614/gender-differences-views-job-opportunity.aspx

http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/07/01/gender-equality/

Satisfaction of work seems to show little difference between the two gender discussed, though this study still finds fewer women in supervisor positions:

http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/2009/09/BG0909019I.htm

 

Another point Godless Cranium makes is that Male privilege is a nebulous term. Well, what does male privilege refer to?

From Wikipedia: Male privilege refers to men having unearned social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are granted to them solely on the basis of their sex, and which are usually denied to women.

The notation of privilege can be expanded so that it deals with other issue, like white privilege and cis (vs trans) privilege.

I don’t find this term truly nebulous, based on the above, but it is a broad reaching term. It can also probably be accurately summarized in that men are generally treated better overall than women for no good reason. They are shown more respect, get paid more (see the references I link to above), and are over all safer than women (they are assaulted over all less than women, and often by a ridiculous amount).

What privilege does not mean is that men are more privileged in every way than women, but are privilege in ways women are not. However, in the case of male privilege vs. female privilege, men get the better half of the deal, and have gotten this throughout history. Further, what is deemed normal female privilege is better classified as “benevolent sexism,” like “women can’t be front line soldiers” or “can’t work in dangerous industries.” Or that women don’t need to work in the work force but can say at home (what they forget to mention is that house work is unpaid labor and is not necessarily easier or less useful than paid work). These “privileges” are a large basis of the concept that women are the “weaker” sex and need defending and safekeeping. I don’t know which came first in this case: the benign sexism or the sexist popular opinions directed towards women, but they are definitely cyclical now and feed on one another.

Here are two Blog posts by Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog which go into the issue deeper:

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/11/faq-what-is-male-privilege/

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/faq-female-privilege/

I’m not claiming to agree 100% with Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, but it’s a good take on the matter and worth mulling over.

Part 3

Part 1

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