Tag Archives: Feminism

It’s Equal Pay Day. Hard to Believe We Still Need an Equal Pay Day.

Women earn less than 78 cents for every dollar men earn. Weren’t we supposed to be past this by now?

Women earn more degrees. Time Magazine says we are soon to be the “richer sex.” There is no plausible argument that our work is less valuable than men’s. And yet, here we are.

Plausible or not, some people still believe that men should earn more money because they should support their families while their wives care for their children. Setting aside the back-handed insult to women who don’t have children (suggesting that we are not fulfilling our primary duty or purpose in life), this is also a ludicrously anachronistic perspective in an age when most mothers work outside the home and more men than ever are children’s primary caretakers, and when many families are headed by single moms and therefore at higher risk for poverty.

For more depressing statistics and information, visit the National Committee on Pay Equity’s site.

Let’s work towards the time when Equal Pay Day is relegated to the history books because equal pay has become a reality.

 

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Enough Already With the Crusade Against Low-Riding Pants

Originally published on Care2

 

Following the lead of Atlanta, Florida and, bizarrely, US Airways, among others, an Indiana town is trying to ban males from wearing their pants “hanging around the buttocks,” according to WSBT.com. The NWI Times reports that in Merrillville, Indiana, officials “are proposing an ordinance that would not allow people to wear their pants more than 3 inches below the hip in public places.”

Now we have to worry about the government intruding not only into our bedrooms, but also into our closets. Forget about the egregious violation of personal liberty — perhaps more worrying is that I’ve seen how government officials dress, and I do not want them in charge of my wardrobe.

But seriously, this would be a scary arrogation of power. “Councilman Ron Widing said he is concerned the proposal could be viewed as unconstitutional,” NWI Times noted. “I don’t know how we can tell anyone how to dress,” Widing said. Governments already ban states of undress, but that seems like a more legitimate issue of public concern than the height of one’s waistband. It’s not like men’s naked butts are hanging out — generally it is just their underwear.

I also have another reason to oppose Merrillville’s proposal: I love the low pants look. Whenever I need a smile, I can just look around for some guy with his pants around his groin and have a nice laugh. As I have noted elsewhere on this blog, it’s funny that they have to grab their pants all the time so they don’t fall down. It’s funny that they can’t walk normally because their pants constrict everything between their knees and their hips. And it’s funny that they think this is a good look for them.

Interestingly, Merrillville is not proposing to ban miniskirts, low-cut push-up tops, high heels (which actually injure women), or other clothes that reveal nearly all the skin a woman has. Instead it has aimed at a style that shows men’s boxers. What exactly are the Indiana officials trying to accomplish? Are they afraid that seeing some plaid fabric on a man will cause the citizenry to riot, but sanguine about the sight of an arresting amount of female flesh and the maiming of women’s feet?

Whatever their motivations, I hope that Merrillville’s leaders keep their sartorial preferences to themselves and let the rest of us make our own choices, however misguided.

 

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Newcastle Beer Censors “Unattractive” Women

As far as beer commercials are concerned, women might as well be blow-up sex dolls — as long as they’re pretty dolls. But in what looks (at first) like a win for feminism, Newcastle Brown Ale is running a TV commercial featuring a female brewmaster. The commercial goes on and on about her skilled hands, showing them sifting through barley and such. But wait for the punchline:

“Why do we focus so much on our brewmaster’s hands? Because she’s not an attractive woman.”

Yes, beer companies aren’t known for subtlety, but come on. It almost makes me nostalgic for the days when they just showed pretty women but didn’t come out and say “we won’t even look at any female who doesn’t make us pitch a tent.”

I may be giving the fraternity of beer and advertising executives too much credit here, but maybe they are feeling threatened by the growing number of successful female professionals (there is one in their midst: they employ a female brewmaster) and are lashing out with a reminder that however successful, talented, or smart we are, to them we are still no more than sex dolls.

I call for a truce in the war on Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers just long enough to require Newcastle to advertise only on his show. They deserve each other. Currently, and inexplicably, the commercial is running on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” To give them a shout-out about the ad, call The Daily Show at 212.468.1700. (They suggested I call Comedy Central Viewer Services at 212.767.8642, but that number got me to a full voicemail box.)

Then take a moment to let Newcastle (owned by Heineken) know how you feel. I called customer service at 1.877.522.4577. You can also email the company at newcastlebrownale@qualitycustomercare.com.

UPDATE: Heineken’s Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Tara Carraro, contacted me after reading this post on BlogHer.com. She said that Newcastle’s intent was to call out the “BS” in “typical beer ads that only show attractive women.” The company thought it clear that the hands of the actor playing the brewmaster in the commercial were male, and therefore clear that the comment about the brewmaster not being “an attractive woman” was tongue-in-cheek.

The problem with this explanation is that, as Ms. Carraro confirmed, the script refers to the brewmaster as “she.” The line “she’s not an attractive woman” makes no sense if the brewmaster is male. It does make sense that the unattractive woman has mannish hands like those in the ad.

I applaud the company’s prompt response to my post and the message Ms. Carraro says Newcastle meant to send. But they didn’t send that message. Changing one pronoun in the narration would make a world of difference; otherwise, the commercial should be pulled. As it stands it is not a wry commentary on beer commercials’ blatant sexism but an example of it.

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