#900 Stuff we shouldn’t have to explain anymore (Feminism)

Today we get some reminders about what feminism is and what it isn’t, plus make an effort to explain the pay gap in ways that, at long last, everyone can understand

Show Notes

Ch. 1: Opening Theme: A Fond Farewell - From a Basement On the Hill

Ch. 2: Act 1: Explaining the gender pay gap - Workplace Gender Equality Agency (@WGEAgency) - Air Date: 08-07-14

Ch. 3: Song 1: Compensation - Spotlite Series - 'Mainline' and 'Casino' Records, Vol. 1

Ch. 4: Act 2: Microsoft CEO: Don't Ask For A Raise, Trust Karma - @TheYoungTurks - Air Date: 10-14-14

Ch. 5: Song 2: Apology - Back Sides

Ch. 6: Act 3: Does sexism hurt men? - Laci Green (@gogreen18) - Air Date: 11-14-14

Ch. 7: Song 3: Sunday Morning - Tragic Kingdom

Ch. 8: Act 4: Firing Women for Breastfeeding Not Sexist Since Some Men Lactate - @DavidPakmanShow - Air Date: 02-05-15

Ch. 9: Song 4: Discrimination - Meet Me In the Park

Ch. 10: Act 5: Talking While Female - @NPR - Air Date: 10-24-14

Ch. 11: Song 5: Young and Beautiful - Twist Is the New Twerk

Ch. 12: Act 6: There's More to the Story of the Shrinking Pay Gap - @PewResearch Center - Air Date: 1-9-14

Ch. 13: Song 6: inequality - What'z Next

Ch. 14: Act 7: The difference between Europe and the US on women in the workforce - Economic Update w/@profwolff - Air Date: 12-22-14

Ch. 15: Song 7: Self Inflicted - One of the Boys

Ch. 16: Act 8: What Your Boobs Say About You - Stuff Mom Never Told You (@MomStuffPodcast) - Air Date: 11-28-14

Ch. 17: Song 8: Science Riot Girls Song 8 - My Smart Hands

Ch. 18: Act 9: Women Are Bad At Negotiating - @planetmoney - Air Date 3-28-14

Ch. 19: Song 9: House of Cards Main Title Theme - House of Cards (Music From the Netflix Original Series)

Ch. 20: Act 10: #EqualPayDay (4/14/2015)- Best of the Left Activism

Ch. 19: Song 10: "This fickle world" - Theo Bard

Ch. 22: Act 11: #MenimistTwitter + Anti- Feminism - @kat_blaque - Air Date: 11-12-14


Ch. 23: Money should go to finding the causes of autism - Colin from Cleveland, OH

Ch. 24: If you give people the option to be stupid, lots of them will - Tyler from Kentucky

Ch. 25: Anti-vaxxers are truthers, birthers and grassy knoll types - Wade from Ft. Worth, TX

Voicemail Music: Loud Pipes - Classics

Ch. 26: Final comments on why some women are opposed to feminism

Closing Music: Here We Are - Everyone's in Everyone

Activism: #EqualPayDay (4/14/2015)

Take Action:

Wear red on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 for #EqualPayDay.

Visit the “What You Can Do” tab at PayEquity.org to track legislation, contact Congress, form a wage club, or do an equality audit of your business.

Sources/further reading:

Wage Gap Fact Sheet via Institute for Women's Policy Research

Equal Pay and the Wage Gap via National Women's Law Center (NWLC)

"Women Can't Afford to Celebrate Equal Pay Day” by Margaret Carlson at Bloomberg View

"For African-American Women—and All Women—Let’s Make Every Day Equal Pay Day” by Stephanie Schriock and Rep. Terri Sewell at The Root

Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

Produced by Jay! Tomlinson

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Showing 7 reactions

  • C M
    commented 2015-02-25 20:03:34 -0500
    Wade, you rock! But you should stop using words like “dumbass”. Also reference to Somalia was not needed. But I agree with you. These anti-vaxxers are Ridiculous.
  • Jay Tomlinson
    commented 2015-02-25 15:47:57 -0500
    You told me to be careful about the dates of the studies I was looking at but you linked me to an article whose source for their data was a book written in 2006. Can you think of any economic disruption that’s happened since 2006? I remember from 6 years ago, during the heart of the recession that men were in greater danger of losing their jobs than women (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/14/business/economy/14charts.html?_r=0) which I can easily imagine being a big part of any relative uptick we saw in women’s wealth as compared to men. So yes, if anything, my first guess is that there may be a historical anomaly going on.

    The gender wealth gap should also be seen within the context of the wealth divide in general. You’re sending me to advertising websites looking to market luxury products to women making over $500,000 per year. I have no doubt that women are among the super-affluent 1% because they started their own businesses but that doesn’t have any relevance to average-income people. This is what I’m talking about when I said that averages throw off the discussion in a way that creates a dangerously-false framing of the topic.

    There’s no mathematical shortcut to go from earning less to having more unless you’re looking at an average that include a relatively small number of extremely rich women. Your initial framing had nothing to do with women somehow earning more, you framed it around men GIVING money to the women in their lives. It doesn’t take a study for me to know that’s fucked up.

    In your last paragraph you seem to be making a distinction between people’s individual choices and a misogynistic culture. There is definitely a difference between the two but I think it’s a smaller difference than you’re giving it credit for. The patriarchy isn’t an external force that influences people’s lives, it is the ocean we all swim in. One can’t simply decide to ignore the patriarchal structures and choose the freedom to make different choices because the patriarchal influences follow a person with every decision they make in one way or another. There is no way to ignore the patriarchy until we fully dismantle sexism in all of it’s forms.

    The bottom line that I keep coming back to is just to wonder “what the fuck is your point?” You seem to agree that sexism has created a wage gap that disadvantages women, you’re just concerned that people are more upset about it than they should be, is that about right? What I don’t get is how you think that’s helping and my concern is that what you’re actually doing is harming.
  • Tod Hostetler
    commented 2015-02-25 14:12:24 -0500
    Love you mean it, Jay. And I apologize fully for getting a bit CAPSLOCKY on ya in previous post. Totally unnecessary and immature on my part.

    For the record, here’s a handful of resources. Careful with your Googling… you’ll want to check the dates on any studies you find. Best I can determine, women passed men in wealth in 2010. It’s a pretty recent phenomenon, seems to be strongly correlated with the Baby Boom, and I’ll freely admit that it might only be true for white American women and be a historic anomaly. More time and data needed on that one.

    As with the gender wage gap, I can get wildly different results depending on how I Google it, and so can you. Again, I put most trust in studies by marketing firms since I regard them as a-political.





    I’m not telling anyone what conclusions to draw from the fact that the gender wealth gap is far smaller than the gender wage gap, and that the difference between the two overwhelmingly favors women. I’m just asking everyone to use it as a point of perspective when setting their level of outrage.

    When you lay out your argument for how the wage gap is a product of gender biases, I think you’re exactly on point. Because now we are seeing how the gap is overwhelmingly the product of the choices that individual people make about their own lives, and not an external imposition by a presumptive misogynistic culture. If you want to encourage people to recognize that they have the freedom to make different choices, I say good luck and Godspeed. That is precisely the place I wanted to bring you to.
  • Jay Tomlinson
    commented 2015-02-25 12:53:13 -0500
    I’m not sure of what thought process you went through to conclude that I was being like Bill O’Reilly. I emphasized the length of your post to show that you clearly spent a lot of time on your response. The problem is that you focused so laser-like on the pure data that you missed the necessary analysis that should have gone with it. You pointed out that the wage gap isn’t based exclusively on an hour to hour comparison and that’s where your analysis ended. I filled in the rest and pointed out the importance of what you missed despite having put in so much effort. What’s the problem with what I said or did?

    As for your research, how about this, why don’t you send me some data that backs up the idea that American women have a higher average net worth than American men? I already spent time doing research on this yesterday and couldn’t find a single source to that agrees with your claim.

    Regarding data vs anecdotes, now we’re getting to the part where I say that it’s your framing more than your data that’s dangerously wrong. If averages are not the best basis for policy (we agree on this) then why are you putting so much focus on averages? I’m having a conversation about the intersection between culture and policy and the fact that we need improvements in both. So how is it helpful to recognize that a gender wage gap exists (as you seem to), hear me out on why the 25% number is still important because it represents systemic cultural sexism and then still claim that wage parity should be considered a very minor issue because of some average number you found referring to women’s net worth that obviously includes married women which completely throws off the average? You’re the one depending on averages (based on data I can’t even find) while simultaneously claiming that focusing on averages is not helpful. So at this point I really don’t understand what you’re missing.

    Finally, I have to address something from your initial comment here that I didn’t bring up on the show. This quote from you:

    “That’s right, ladies, that 25% more money that we men earn, we are giving to you… and a little bit more. That’s because we love you and think that you are wonderful, funny, sexy, smart, strong, adventurous, hard-working, just plain fabulous people and it’s a treat sharing this world with you. And the fact that you live longer, healthier and happier lives than we do… we don’t begrudge you that at all. You deserve it. NOT SARCASM.”

    This bit made me give you the benefit of the doubt regarding your intentions because I believe that you think you’re coming from a good place but I have to point out how creepy and paternalistic this sounds, regardless of your intentions. I just read that paragraph to my girlfriend and her reaction was an expression of disgust on her face and the comment “I don’t want his pity”. You’re basically saying, whether you meant to or not, that women don’t need to be valued as equal to men because men are willing to benevolently share our greater intrinsic value with them. Lucky girls! (as long as they’re heterosexual and want to get married, of course)

    So no, it is not good news for women to hear from you that they don’t need to worry about the wage gap, the wealth gap or any of the other results of systemic sexism that have culturally and economically devalued women because there’s a statistic that says that men are willing to give them money (assuming they are married to a man – that’s the patriarchy at work right there). Being given money by a higher-earning partner does not equate to being equally valued and you should understand how insulting it is to pretend that it is. This is a load of men’s rights activist bullshit that you should be embarrassed to have written and which should be purged from your lexicon immediately.
  • Tod Hostetler
    commented 2015-02-25 01:54:58 -0500
    First of all, let me say that I am flattered beyond belief that you listened to me and took the time to construct a strong argument against mine.

    Second of all, shame, shame, shame on you, Jay, for the tone that you took when you referred to my putting ‘seven paragraphs’ of response. I might be wrong or I might be right, but I put hours and hours of my personal time into my response and expressing my opinion. Jay, we Liberals need you to be better than Bill O’Reilly.

    Third, thank you for acknowledging publicly that the 27% hour-for-hour work-for-work gender bias pay gap is a myth.

    Fourth, regarding your response to my comments on the wealth gap between genders, I have some issues. My assertion that White American Women own (not control, but OWN) more wealth than White American Men, is valid according to my research. For validation on this, I suggest that you find studies that are funded by corporate advertising firms, which you and I can agree are apolitical and purely motivated by profit.

    Fifth, at approximately 08:45 of your fine podcast https://soundcloud.com/best-of-the-left/final-comments-part-2-responding-to-tod-from-california-about-the-gender-wage-and-wealth-gaps, you begin wondering about this woman, that woman, the other woman, etc.

    But this argument started out as an argument about averages, and that argument was started by Feminists. Any sensible person can tell you that averages are not a basis for policy. Any sensible person can tell you that data is not the plural of anecdote.

    Listen, Jay… please… on all the points on which you seek to excoriate me, these are EXACTLY the points that I wish to have modern feminists focus on. Feminists have a bad public image these days, and it is exactly because they run around screaming that women earn less than men. I’m ON YOUR SIDE.

    IF YOU REALLY WANT TO ADVANCE WOMEN’S CAUSE, look around the world. There is so much work to do. Get out there and get your hands dirty and be prepared to be shot at from time to time.


    I just want Liberals to focus their energy on REAL LIBERAL ISSUES!!!!
  • Jay Tomlinson
    commented 2015-02-24 23:46:08 -0500
    For anyone interested in my response to Tod’s comment posted here, you can find it at this end of the next full episode here: http://www.bestoftheleft.com/_901_the_wealth_divide_and_the_crumbling_bridge_across_it_economics

    or listen to only that segment directly here: https://soundcloud.com/best-of-the-left/final-comments-part-2-responding-to-tod-from-california-about-the-gender-wage-and-wealth-gaps
  • Tod Hostetler
    commented 2015-02-23 16:04:30 -0500
    I agree with many points made in this show, but the 25% gender wage gap myth drives me nuts. There is broad consensus that the US gender wage gap is indeed about 25%, but this is a raw figure of earnings. It does not factor in a veritable galaxy of pay-affecting factors, with the overwhelmingly largest one being actual hours worked. Yes, people that work more hours earn more money. You might be saying ‘wait a second, that study I read said that they compared ’full-time-equivalent’ workers… and you’re right, they did. But ‘full-time-equivalent’ can mean 35 hours a week and it can mean 70 hours a week. The average man works more hours (30% more) than the average woman.

    Hours worked is the single largest contributor to the gender wage gap, but there are many more which have nothing to do with gender bias. When considering all quantifiable factors that affect pay, the wage gap shrinks to about 5%. (Some go as high as 7%, but 5% seems to be the majority consensus). Is gender bias a contributor to that 5%? Almost certainly. Is it the only factor? Certainly not. And when men work more hours, are more willing to travel, more willing to relocate, place a lower value on life/work balance, place a lower value on personal job happiness, take less personal time off, work dirtier, more dangerous, more life-threatening jobs, I am comfortable believing that this is a case where Bias has Basis. At least from the cold, uncaring, purely bottom-line driven perspective of a corporate economy. Listeners of this show should not make the mistake of thinking that corporate values are reflective of social values. If you think that they are, then I suggest that you know nothing of corporations. And if you are a woman working 70 hours a week as an underwater welder, God bless you and no offense meant.

    What people are doing, is hearing that there is a 25% gender wage gap, which is true. Then they are hearing that there is a gender wage gap between men and women working the same hours at the same jobs. Also true. Then they put those two facts together and wind up with a horrifyingly incorrect conclusion that there is a 25% gender wage gap between men and women working the same hours at the same jobs. Completely false.

    Now let’s also please, please, put the gender wage gap in context with the gender wealth gap. Women earn less money than men, but they have more money. Wait a what? 51.3% of the wealth in the United States is owned by women. White American women are the single largest economic demographic on the planet and control 80% of household purchase decisions in this country. That’s right, ladies, that 25% more money that we men earn, we are giving to you… and a little bit more. That’s because we love you and think that you are wonderful, funny, sexy, smart, strong, adventurous, hard-working, just plain fabulous people and it’s a treat sharing this world with you. And the fact that you live longer, healthier and happier lives than we do… we don’t begrudge you that at all. You deserve it. NOT SARCASM.

    Equality for all is a worthy sentiment. Not all women in the world have great lives. There is a lot of important work for well-informed feminists to do; I assert that wage parity should be very, very low on the list. Fact check me as aggressively as you please; if I have got this wrong I want to be the first to know. But keep this in mind… in researching this topic it is very easy to find citations and conclusions on both sides of the issue. Do what I have done… look at both sides closely, drill into the data, and then compare them against one another. Then decide for yourself which studies are more thorough, objective and convincing. I hope that you will be pleasantly surprised to find that the world is fairer than you thought… by 20%, at least.
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