Monday, November 30, 2015

Feminism Thoughts

Obviously I think about feminism often.

I think it's because there is so much pressure from the media and society (especially educated men, weirdly) to be feminist, and I'm just not inclined to join, so I'm constantly trying to figure out why I am so--I can't think of the word; offended but not that and disgusted but not that and opposed but not that but somewhere in between--by it. It's presented as a good thing. How can you be against something that is supposed to help women?

I think that part of it is that it's "supposed" to help women but spends a lot of time and resources proving why my choices (which I made freely and with full knowledge of what I was choosing) are "wrong" and "bad for women." (They never will believe that I wanted to study the humanities because it gives me great joy--not because I was socially pressured into it. In fact, the social pressure was to accept the mechanical engineering department's courting of me into their program, or study chemistry or something equally science-y because I'm good at science and I enjoy science. But studying the humanities was fun and easy, and that's what I wanted to do.)

Anyway, I was reading an article in the newspaper about Utah having the largest "wage gap" in the country, but the article was highly misleading because they were comparing not a woman in one industry with a man in the same industry, but apparently ALL women in Utah (including the stay-at-home moms) with ALL the men in Utah.  Total amount made by females divided by number of women in Utah compared to total amount made by males divided by number of men in Utah = simple math but not true comparison. Of course if 78% of men are working full time and only 49% of women are working full time, you're going to see a wage gap using that math because there are fewer women adding to the total amount made.

They did acknowledge that women are drawn to caring professions and men to mechanical professions, and that mechanical professions pay more. But they falsely attributed that to women being told from a young age to consider only those professions instead of respecting women's ability to follow their hearts and talents. (How many women do you know who actually WANT to wok construction jobs?  Can't we respect that as a reality instead of a cultural manipulation of women?  Wouldn't it be better to ask why we value the caring jobs less monetarily?) (you can read the article here:

Really, it would help in the evaluation of women's earnings if people would back off and respect women's right to want to stay home and raise children and recognize the immense value that choice has to society. Why are they constantly belittling women who want to stay home? Why constantly push them toward the workplace?

(It should be noted, of course, that friends tell me that women who work feel equally attacked and belittled for not staying home, even outside of Utah. You just can't win, I guess. And this is something the feminists should be addressing, instead of adding to the problem.)

The comparison that needs to happen is within a single industry. That would give us more information about the wage gap, if there is one. Does a female grocery store clerk with the same amount of experience as a male grocery store clerk in the same store get paid the same amount? That's the statistic that is significant.

At least the article is acknowledging that part of the problem is women take time off to raise kids and therefore have less experience than men of the same age. And that's a thorny issue because it's not fair to the men to just pay the women more for less experience. But the end result is fewer women in management, and that looks bad.

Similar to the wage gap issue being a lot more subtle if you have valid statistics and look at the whole picture instead of over simplifying, recently scientists determined that there are few if any differences between male and female brains, and the scientists and feminists made that out to prove that men and women are identical except for a few inconsequential physical differences, so all the differences between men and women are actually cultural and should be stamped out.

That's a big conclusion from a small study. For one thing, people are made up of more than their brains. Male and female hormones, for example, are vastly different and have an enormous impact on how people think and feel and act. And those don't show up in a comparative brain scan. And science completely ignores the influence of the spirit, which they can't acknowledge exists but might have an enormous impact on a person. But we don't know because we know very, very little about the true nature of spirits, especially since our bodies limit them and limit our ability to perceive and understand things as they really are in the eternal world.

Looking at the world and interacting with babies will tell scientists more about the nature of men and women than a simple brain scan comparison. Considering how little we understand of how the brain works at all, saying the structure looks similar means very little anyway.  The study even acknowledged they were not looking at how the brains worked, only how they looked. Similar things can work in very different ways (listen to a male voice vs a female voice, for example).  Also, small difference in appearance can be massive in function or output. Think how much difference a pinch of salt can make to a dish. Or how different "nine" is from "none."  It's just a letter different, but it will change the output significantly. I guess what I'm saying is it's a mistake to attack all women as inferior based on one study that is very limited, just like it's a mistake to include stay-at-home moms (who earn zero) in an analysis of the wage gap.  (The brain study was reported on here: --note that the scientist at the end also is saying what I'm saying here: similar is not the same as equivalent)

So, two things I was particularly thinking about women in work lately.

One: there is a lot of "advice" from feminists about how women should succeed in work. Much of it is based on the idea that women and men are functionally equivalent and only differ in behaviors that were imposed on them by society. This drives me crazy because what they are saying is that women are simply inferior men and if they would just do things men's way, they would be less inferior and more successful.

Why are they assuming the men's way of doing things is superior? Why not assume the women's is? Or there is an in between way that is better than both? And why pressure the women to change instead of educating the men's culture about listening and how to "hear and see" women?

This is one of the big reasons I can't get behind feminism. They can't see women as women, but merely as inferior men who, if taught, will be less inferior or maybe even equal. But we don't become equal by becoming less female! If we don't value women, instead of changing women into something we do value, let's change what we value instead. In other words, why are the women trying to to adapt and change in order to be accepted by men who have prejudices? Why not ask the men to heal their wrong views?

Ironic that feminists are trying to solve problems by using the exact same techniques, thought processes, and behaviors the same feminists decry when being used by an abused wife. Instead of insisting the husband stop being abusive, the wife works her tail off to make herself somehow acceptable to his insanity. Hint for the feminists: You can never work hard enough to satisfy an abuser. They will always abuse because it's not really about you.

Two: It is important to realize where the wage gap came from. Way back when, it was socially acceptable to pay men more than women for the same work in the same industry. Why? The men were assumed to be supporting a family and the women were assumed to be single and supporting only themselves.  Why the assumption? It was, generally speaking, true. The exceptions were few and far between (and culturally invisible, to a great extent).

You can look at it this way: What was going on was the men were getting paid for their work AND getting a stipend for their wives' work in staying home raising the children. Women were, essentially, getting paid, through their husbands' employer, to do the immensely vital work of raising good citizens in an intact family.

The problem with it is on a very basic level: it's fundamentally unfair for a woman to deliver ten pizzas for $15  and a man to deliver ten pizzas for $20. Same work. Same duties. Same skills. Same amount of education. And really, the assumptions just didn't hold up. Not all men were supporting families, but they still got paid more. And not all women were single without children, and they still got paid less. And even if the assumptions were true, if you are getting paid to do a job for someone, there isn't a way to twist it that makes it okay to pay different people different amounts for the same job.

So I'm not in favor of keeping the wage gap by any stretch. But it came from a different, woman-friendly and family-friendly place. It was not "pure discrimination" and it would benefit society immensely if people valued the idea that it was best for men to stay with their families and for women to be free to focus on raising their children (whether they have an additional job or not). And one way we show we value things (the main way, it seems) is through money.  The wage gap was and is completely unfair, but it seems it could have been an attempt to support strong family structure and keep families (and therefore society) stable.

Unfortunately, any attempt to keep families strong and stable is seen as an attack on women any more.  Staying home is not a choice, in their minds, but a prison. Raising children is not a choice, but an abusive obligation that women need to let go of.

As long as feminism denies the nature of women and treats motherhood and raising children as abusive (even while giving lip service to the idea that women get to choose what they want their lives to look like--but if you want to be happy it will look like a man's life, they insist. Their way or no way because any other way is a social manipulation that you didn't choose freely), I can't buy in. Wouldn't it be better to draw the men home more instead of pulling the women out into the workplace more? I do not understand why feminism is blind to what women are and refuses to respect what so many women want.

Who defined your net worth to the world in purely monetary terms? Who decided that success looks like lots of cash and few obligations except to yourself?  Who decided that hedonism is the key to happiness?

As long as that is the definition of success, happiness, and value, I don't want any part of feminism.

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