17 February 2014 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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In the area of gender politics there is much blame to go around and outrageous claims coming from every angle. I have long advocated for equality of opportunity for everyone regardless of race, gender or lineage. Yet there exists a great resistance to bringing women into the male realm of being respected for mind and leadership skills over physical attributes. Interestingly this resistance is greatest from females and comes at an early age.
It is my intention here to dispel some of the myths about how a disproportional representation of women is maintained in the areas of business, politics, and law and who is behind it. I also intend to argue that such concepts as equal pay for equal work and proportional representation are false objectives that are inhibiting the advancement of women and will keep them mired in a dead end political quest.
A primary complaint of those pursuing gender equity is that men are considered successful when they express leadership skills, attain higher status in business and exhibit dominance while women are primarily judged upon their physical appearance – suitability to procreate. Often times this is attributed to the rules of a patriarchal society. Applying blame to men for suppressing the status of women through patriarchy, such as a perceived “glass-ceiling”, has been a long-standing mantra of so-called feminist. I contend, however, that there should be no objective to break through this purported glass-ceiling but an effort to bring men down through the glass floor to be more involved in domestic life.
In essence I am saying that the objective should not be for women to foreclose their traditional parenting and family role in pursuit of the material acquisitions and status achievements that represent successful males. Instead, I believe that measuring success based upon achievement of status and material accumulations is a fallacy that has been harmful to society and particularly the family unit. Men should be perceived as successful by balancing being involved in the lives of their children and other domestic functions as well as financial prosperity. Likewise, money should not be a substitute for or means of placating the effects of being an inactive, unattractive slob with a poor physique.
Women though are measured primarily by means of their physical attributes. The greatest scorn, ridicule and pressure to achieve nearly unattainable body images comes from girls. The message that girls tacitly express to each other is that, as a sex, they are not worthy of first being measured by something other than physical appearance. This is done first through the collective application of make-up. The direct message from these girls to each other is that as you naturally appear is not acceptable to your female friends and most certainly not your males peers.
Girls and boys also display a profound difference in the way they tease or insult each other. Boys for the most part demean one another by appealing to flawed character traits and when it is physical the insults are more apt to be based upon strength or stature. Girls on the other hand let the insults fly which are primarily directed toward one's physical appearance – often sexuality, even among younger pre-adolescent. So from an early age girls are programming themselves and their peers to evaluate one another based upon physical appearance and to use such as the measure of one's stature.
I further argue that while men do need to be more sensitive to their use of physical appearance when rating women that it is women who need to take the initiative. I would be thoroughly pleased if not another one of those fashion magazines that feature computer enhanced images of female models, that are produced by women and overly emphasize physical appearance as a measure of worth never made its way into the hands of a young girl again. But such is unlikely to be the case in a free market economy where supply meets demand. We must collectively work to reduce the demand on women to hyper-focus on physical appearance to the detriment of their character traits and skill base. A good place to start would be in boycotting the cosmetics industry.
Women tend to reduce themselves in stature by playing victim status. This is apparent in the false claim of a so-called earnings gap – same work, different pay rates -- which clearly does not exist. The latest number going around is that women only get paid 77% of what men do for the same work. It simply isn't so. I have sent both males and females to the personnel departments at various industries around my community and always found the same results – pay rate was not dependent upon gender. The fast food restaurant that promoted on their sign board “Now hiring closers, $10/hr” said that the rate was not adjusted based upon the sex of the applicant. There is some validation to the claim when it is placed in the context of rates of production.
To demonstrate the difference in production I will use an analogy of legal counseling. You could have your neighbor sit down with you and your attorney and advise you on child custody matters. You could select a church leader to do that. You could select me to do that. Any of us could dedicate the same amount of time at that session, print out and distribute the applicable law, and type away on the computer taking notes. But of those three I stand resolute in my proclamation that I would be the most productive in formulating your litigation scheme. Thus, while I am providing the same amount of work my pay rate should rightfully be much higher than the inexperienced neighbor who, although having never been involved in child custody litigation, did the same amount of work. Productivity is where a pay disparity is achieved and is justified.
Women have traditionally taken it upon themselves to be in the employ of others in fields that do not produce as much income and are therefore subject to lesser pay. I see it in the field of law that is becoming more infused with women. Law is a technical science but such rigid structuring is at odds with the needs of children and families who are in domestic relations turmoil.
It has been my learned experience that if a female judge sits on the bench that there is more likely to be a better outcome for everyone involved. While brilliant legal minds cross the lines of gender I believe that we have farther to go in acknowledging that. Women should embrace, compliment and reward the achievements of their counterparts in fields such as law or other academic achievements. But when a female post a photo of herself on Facebook after having a makeover which is then juxtaposed to the photo of her receiving an award for academic excellence the makeover photo will receive many more 'likes' and comments of praise than the academic achievement. Most disturbing is that the praises lauded upon the “beauty queen” will come from other women.
The final point that I propose is that seeking proportional representation based upon any birth trait demographic conflicts with the objective of being offered equal opportunities, accepted as individuals and judged upon their merits. The idea that we must have mandated numbers of legislators or other power brokers commensurate with the population distribution by gender I believe is insulting to women in that is says you don't possess the necessary attributes so we have to give you the position. It is also highly insulting to men such as myself who put forth effort to encourage and support opportunities for women to advance their position and status. I recently attended a symposium by the Indiana Commission on Women where the proportional representation issue was also raised. Implicit in the call for creating novel approaches to achieving gender representation parity is that women's issues or positions are not worthy of universal support but can only be supported by women. I feel that issues related to those which fall outside the realm of physical appearance are important and that the greatest barrier to those issues being recognized is not a patriarchal society but sabotage from other women. Particularly those who who objectify themselves.
The goal of everyone should be that we are all respected for intrinsic skills and abilities which we manifest into production for the greater good of our society. That while a physical appearance judgment spanning a wide swath of disciplines is useful and legitimate neither should it be the basis for determining one's worth. Women in particular need to stop facilitating this measure of character. To do so they must first cease objectifying themselves.
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Make a suggestion for me to write about.
Make a suggestion for me to write about.