Friday, August 03, 2007

One word

Sometimes this blog worries me. I have no desire to come across as misogynistic, let alone actually be that way. When I talk about gender differences in general, I try to apply an objective standard of equality, in which all other factors being, er, equal, men and women are treated equally. Then I try to assess whether or not what I am reporting on succeeds or fails according to that standard. Of course, given my orientation, I do this from the point of view in which I seek to expose areas in which men are unfairly treated rather than the acutely politically correct women as losing out. This, of course, can be very difficult to do without seeming to complain about or blame women.

Sigh.

Digressing slightly, I note that a few recent comments have not exactly helped matters. Guys, I don't blame you for being pissed, I've got plenty of reason for that myself, but the fact is that all women are not to blame. In fact, not even a majority are to blame and sometimes not even those women who think you're to blame, are to blame. They're just living in the same twisted, blinkered society you are, but they're female, not male. What they need, just like every other distressingly ignorant innocent, is to be educated. You don't help that by yelling at them. Most especially, you can't help it by yelling at your allies. Quit it.

But today's posting concerns one word. That word is "much". It appears in a New York Times article where the findings of a study are reported which show young women in big American cities are now making more than men. That is, the pay gap has actually reversed itself in this demographic. Great? No, not great because now you have a reverse inequity. Not that that will be any reason for concern for the vast majority who reflexively seem to think that a second wrong puts everything just right.

The word appears in the fourth paragraph of the article in the last sentence which puts the penultimate sentence into a broader context. The two sentences read:
"[The study] shows that women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117 percent of men’s wages, and even more in Dallas, 120 percent. Nationwide, that group of women made much less: 89 percent of the average full-time pay for men."
There it is, "much". So what's my problem? Well, 89% is 11% less. 117% and 120% more imply 85% and 83% for the lesser earners, or 15% and 17% less. Forgive the remedial math, but what I'd like to know is why 11% less is "much less" and 15% and 17% less are just, well, less? If 11% is much less and 17% less, then is 17% less than 11%?

It's a little thing, a tiny thing, too small to merit a blog post, I should really just get over it, I really should, shouldn't I? But, but, well it just bugs me. It's the little things like this that I should just get over behind which real prejudice lurks. If I let the little things go, won't the big things follow? Enough little things can add up to an awfully big thing. Indeed, maybe enough little things like that can chew you up, spit you out and take your children away.

Do you see what I mean?

5 comments:

Arby said...

Hmm,

Well, I am certainly no apologist. The current social climate is badly flawed and biased against men and unbelievably cruel and inhumane to fathers.

but...

The poor quality of the writing of this statement doesn't explicity indicate what the author is comparing the nationwide stats to.

ie. If you are comparing the nationwide women's earnings against the earnings of women in Dallas and New York, then it is likely that the earnings are quite reasonably described as much less. Especially, as I understand it, because NY and Dallas are quite affluent areas so the amount that women in these areas make is unavoidably much more than some woman in a low paying job in Skagway, Alaska.

The comment is unclear as to whether it is comparing women to women or women to men in the "much less" statement. I read it as likely to be either one.

The comparison of womens salaries seems correct to as lower in the article the author explicity states the median salary in Dallas and says it is "although their median wage there, $25,467, was much lower than that of women in New York."

Though, who knows, your interpretations is easily as valid.

Joel said...

My ex makes somethinng like twice what I do. She always has. Yet there's that assumption that a man will always have more money than a woman, and so it's incumbent on us to give them more.

Anonymous said...

I am going to have to side with the first comment that this blog post mis-interprets the context of the word "much"

Having clicked through and read the article it definitely does seem to be focused on comparing women in affluent regions to those in less affluent ones and not women to men in each area.

So it would be appropriate in the context of the original piece to use the word much to describe a drop from 120% to 89% of the national average mens salary.

It would be another discussion altogether to talk about the fact that where women are earning more they are earning significantly more - up to 20% more then men. Where as in the areas they are earning less that gap is closing every day and is down to a mere 11%

Though I am not a believer in the fact that a pay gap exists between men and women and that it is explained entirely by other factors such as, working hours, experience, education, traveling required, overtime, hazard pay etc...

I do believe that both men and women still need to make progress in certain areas of economic value to compete equally with one another.

I just don't think that the author of this piece meant to imply that what men earn in areas that women earn more men is not as significant or important as the areas where women earn less then men. It simply was not the context of the piece.

Metaphysicallyfit said...

I suck at math, so I can't comment on the last part of this blog. I just want to say that as a regular (female) reader of yours (I even put a link to here from my own page), I have never felt you were misogynistic. I like your articles and agree with a lot of what you have to say; I can even sympathize with some of it. But that last bit with all those percentages went right over my head. I'll have to have my husband read it tonight and see if he can sort it out for me...LOL

Boris Epstein said...

John,

It may be a lot simpler than that, though. The system promotes a victimhood-based social arrangement - which is an arrangement perfectly suited for manipulation and oppression. At this point, women are designated victims - that may be all there is to it.