“Whoever told you you only had to hear what didn’t upset you?” -liberal host of HBO’s “Real Time” Bill Maher
Over the past four decades, the media, which are supposed to objectively reflect all views, have overwhelmingly reflected ideological feminists’ views on gender issues and the male-female dynamic. (For a detailed look at the reasons, see Warren Farrell’s Why Men Earn More, a book so shocking that I suspect most pay-equity feminists refuse to read it.) The effect of this long-running lack of objectivity is, I think, to create in our collective mind an entrenched and immutable perception that no other view is possible and that gender issues and the male-female dynamic as portrayed by these feminists are not foolhardy concepts but widely accepted fact that is completely beyond dispute.
Thus, the ordinary woman — even the woman who is staunchly not a feminist — can hardly be blamed for believing she is taken advantage of by men and must endure oppressions such as poorer treatment by male doctors and less pay than her employer’s men who perform the exact same work.
Many if not most women are subjected to these oppression stories virtually very day of the year in the still-unobjective (liberal) media. The stories are convincingly told by intelligent, sophisticated members of such groups as the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), which says in the very first sentence of its position statement on equal pay:
“American women who work full-time, year-round are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.”
If such educated, sophisticated groups as the NWLC — and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the subject of the following commentary — believe women are unfairly paid less, it must be true. Why would they lie?
Before reading, you may want to learn why the countries deemed most equal are defunding gender ideology.
By Jerry A. Boggs
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) describes itself as “a nonprofit public policy research organization dedicated to informing and stimulating debate on public policy issues of critical importance to women and their families.” It regularly distributes reports on the status of women, as it did in its November 2004 press release, “New Report: Women Still 100 Years From Full Equality.” (See www.iwpr.org)
The organization’s issues of critical importance include “employment, earnings, and economic change; democracy and society; poverty, welfare, and income security; work and family policies; and health and violence.” Clearly these issues affect many women, especially minority women, and IWPR excels at bringing the issues to the forefront for discussion which it hopes will lead to legal and policy changes to improve women’s lives. Yet for all its commendable efforts and intentions, IWPR has serious flaws. Often gravitating toward being doctrinaire, it tends to:
- Resist hearing even well-reasoned non-feminist views on gender, thus resists listening to a “different voice” as much as it may say men do.
- Promote a victim feminism.
- Disregard evidence — likely because of the apex fallacy* — that the average male fares no better in society, and often fares worse, than the average female.
*”The apex fallacy is the idea that we use the most visible members of a group to make generalizations about the entire group; i.e., we see prominent men at the top of the pyramid and think all men are doing well, when, in fact, there are a great many at the bottom of the pyramid, too.” -Alison Beard, Harvard Business Review
In my view, IWPR generates discord between the sexes and perpetuates many of the problems it purportedly wants solved. It is fulfilling its own prophecy that total gender equality will evade us for another 100 years. (Is IWPR doing this unwittingly or wittingly? When it says full gender equality will take another century, is it really saying, “Keep your donations coming!”? See the related “Why Do Some Feminists Get Uneasy When Women Make Progress?“)
To support my belief about IWPR, I will provide what I think is some badly needed balance to each of IWPR’s four core issues concerning women: economics, violence, health, and political representation. Readers are asked to suspend, for now at least, any “Yes, but…” response they may have. In the past, the media’s general suspension of the “Yes, but” response to feminists’ views permitted those views to be widely publicized and taken seriously.
If IWPR claims a centerpiece evidence that American women are economically “short-changed,” it is that on average women earn about 77 cents to men’s dollar. “There’s no good reason,” says economist and IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, “why our paychecks should be docked because we’re women….” Hartmann may be the only economist in the nation who believes that the entire gender wage gap can be explained in just three simple words: discrimination against females.
Update July 15, 2013: It appears IWPR is finally backing off on that simple three-word explanation: On July 15, 2013, PolitiFact.com reports this statement from IWPR’s study director Ariane Hegewisch: “One of the big factors explaining why women earn less than men is that jobs typically done by women have lower earnings than jobs typically done by men.”
Other people think there are more complex reasons for the sexes’ earnings differential.
One of those people is Dr. Warren Farrell, educator and author of 2005 book Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — and What Women Can Do About It, which is free to read in its entirety at the site. Farrell, strategically ignored by IWPR and other feminist groups (so as not to draw attention to his book since it factually and effectively destroys IWPR’s wage oppression theory), says the definition of “full-time” work is as few as 35 hours per week and as few as 26 weeks per year. Women, he says, are much more likely to work 35 hours per week, men much more likely to work 40-60 hours per week. Women are much more likely to work 26 weeks per year, men 52 weeks. Also, men are much more likely to hold two workplace jobs. But statistically a man with two jobs is considered one full-time worker. So we are often comparing a man’s two jobs to a woman’s one job. A man earning $40,000 per year from two separate jobs paying $20,000 each, for example, is treated statistically as though he were unfairly earning 33 percent more than a woman paid $30,000 from her one job.
Feminists should compare women’s wages to gay men’s. The average woman, with regard to the kind of work she chooses, is probably more similar to gay men than to straight men. Gays, who don’t need a high-paying job to help them feel attractive to the sex that’s not on their radar, generally feel less pressure to be successful than straight men. That’s why gays are more likely than straight men to become waiters, hair dressers, and workers in other “female” occupations. Of course, many gays obtain good jobs to garner society’s respect as a man and to hide their gayness. But overall, gays, like most women, tend to look first for work that interests them and second for work that pays well, whereas straight men tend to do it the other way around.
The sexes’ job-market choices also enter the equation, hugely. The sexes are equally aware, says Farrell, that engineers will average more income than home economics majors. Yet as of 2013, over 80 percent of the engineering degrees went to men, and over 88 percent of the home economics degrees went to women. If career-minded, higher-educated women, including many feminist women, often make such lower-paid career choices, we can perhaps better understand why millions of traditional women choose traditional low-paying fields such as secretary and nurse. (See the Fortune Magazine article that asks, “If these educated, accomplished, powerful women don’t seek the biggest jobs, who is going to?”)
But don’t women choose “female” jobs because they presume discrimination in “male” jobs? Partly, yes. But men, too, have presumed discrimination in “female” jobs, such as daycare worker, nurse, secretary, stewardess, and clerk-typist. Until just a few years ago, few if any employers would hire a man for these positions. Regardless, how many men were bold enough to be seen in such “female” jobs? (How many women years ago were bold enough to be seen in “male” jobs?)
Women’s job choices — and men’s — tend to be influenced by “what the market will bear” principle. Since women in huge numbers are (still) either supported by a man (fully or partly) or anticipate being supported, they as a group are able to bear lower pay than those in the group expected to do most or all of the spouse supporting. Many women, married women in particular, might be comparable to teens who live with, and are supported by, their parents and who are able to accept a job that pays little, while their parents must earn enough to support both the teens and themselves. Women as a supported group thus have been able to bear the low-paying jobs that men as supporters generally have been unable to bear. They often can regard their husband as an “employer” who pays them to work at home tending the hearth and raising the children. So they often need not necessarily seek a higher-paying real employer.
“The most popular job for American women as of 2010 is still secretary/administrative assistant, which has been a top ten job for women for the last 50 years.” -Huffington Post, June 26, 2013
Men, after society’s 40 years of pursuing a “gender equality” that has been mostly the righting of wrongs for only one sex, are by and large still expected to be at least the primary provider who will take up the slack when the wife leaves the workforce, usually at a time of her own choosing. They are expected to be ever ready to handle most or all of the family’s expenses. “Primary” providers thus typically experience the same old lifestyle restrictions that sole providers have always experienced. (This indicates that little has changed for men, except that perhaps the pressure on them to earn more money has increased, as women increase their own earnings and then, because of hypergamy, often increase their expectations of men. See below regarding hypergamy; also this.)
So if a man expects to marry and become a sole or primary provider, he naturally feels unable to bear the pay of a secretary or a clerk-typist. The pay from such jobs seldom is enough to provide for a family. To the extent the child-caring role has led to women being barred from high-paying jobs, the male’s primary or sole provider role continues to bar men from — in effect prices them out of — lower-paying jobs, jobs which might interest them more or offer the flexibility usually unavailable in the better-paying jobs, the flexibility men often need to become more involved with their children.
The male’s provider role, sole or primary, has naturally given rise to the expectation that men should be more successful than women. The expectation of greater male success leads the female secretary to judge the male secretary, her actual equal, as unequal to her, as not being up to her standards. It leads her to fall in love only with the male executive. “It leads the female nurse,” says Warren Farrell in another example, “to look right past the male nurse to the male doctor.”
These are examples of what anthropologists call hypergamy, “marrying up.” Hypergamy is described as the apparently world-wide compulsion among women to seek a man who is slightly older, taller, better educated and better paid than they are.
In Women Vs. Women, a book about competition among females, Tara Roth Madden describes how women objectify men as success objects and effectively use them to tell other women, “Here is my man: with him, I buy cars, clothes, entertainment, vacations, trips to the beauty parlor and, if I’m so inclined, motherhood or early retirement.” Is hypergamy waning? Quite the opposite, apparently: “More women,” according to sociologist Catherine Hakim as reported in the January 2011 MailOnline report “What women REALLY want: To marry a rich man and stay at home with the children,” “are choosing to ‘marry up’ by picking wealthy men for their spouse than in the 1940s.”
When a young man learns that females prefer to date and marry “up,” he may believe that without success or the proven will to succeed, he will be sentenced to a life deprived of a woman’s love (not to mention society’s respect). This belief may lead many men, consciously or unconsciously, to link self-worth to net worth. This male linkage represents the major difference in the sexes’ psychology about earning money.
Thus the expectation of male success as a provider discriminates against men just as the expectation of child-raiser discriminates against women. It stops men from even thinking about becoming a secretary or other low-paid worker who doesn’t earn enough to give a wife the option of working, staying home, or using some combination of the two. (This may help explain why many men in lower-paid “female” jobs are gay: to gay men, women’s expectation of male success is irrelevant.)
I once heard it said, “Which sex dominates a job determines the job’s pay.” It’s actually the other way around: a job’s pay determines which sex dominates the job. Advertise a position paying only $15,000 a year, and mostly females will apply. Advertise one paying $75,000, and mostly men will apply. Just as society has steered women into low-paid jobs, it continues to steer men away from low-paid jobs and into jobs which pay more — and which men pay more for with greater seniority and education, as well as with a job accident rate six times higher than women’s and a job death rate 15 times higher.
“I was very surprised in reading your book how many women — some of them self-identified feminists, some of them professionals — have the fantasy that some man is going to rescue them financially.” “So I think that women [who] grew up as the children of baby boomers — certainly, from that generation on — felt they had a lot of options, and one of the options was not to work.” -January 2009 Time magazine interview of Hilary Black, author of The Secret Currency of Love: The Unabashed Truth About Women, Money, and Relationships
“A record 55,553,000 women 16 years and older did not participate in the labor force in September , according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The participation rate for women also dipped in September to 56.7 percent; it has not been this low since September of 1988 when it was 56.6 percent.” -Market Watch, October 3, 2014
IWPR believes women should average the same pay as men. This presumes that women are primary or sole providers of a spouse as often as men are — which they aren’t by a long shot — and that women doggedly pursue higher income in numbers equal to the men who do — which isn’t the case, either. Suppose men weren’t expected to be primary providers and didn’t feel they needed a well-paid job to feel attractive to women.* Men’s average wage would then be much less than it is now. If money meant nothing more to either sex than economic survival, the average pay for both sexes would, I’d imagine, fall somewhere in between women’s current average and men’s current average. To “help” women raise their average pay to that of men’s, many employers buy into — or feel pressured by lawsuits to buy into — IWPR’s explanation of the gender wage gap. They may substitute equal results for equal opportunity. This may produce blatant discrimination against men and friction and lowered morale, particularly if less qualified women are selected solely to yield the “proper” gender balance.
*Some feminists and the mainstream media (which I define generally as television and such widely read news outlets as The New York Times, USA Today, and Time magazine) have circulated the notion that female success threatens men and drives them away. The “Men are threatened” idea, without the deeper understanding of it that feminists and the mainstream media generally ignore, no doubt discourages a sizable number of women from moving up at work, and therefore may help keep women’s average wage lower than men’s, hampering IWPR’s goal of erasing the gender wage gap. However, it is not women’s success that threatens men. Because of hypergamy, a man may sometimes see women with higher wages as having higher expectations and hence being more likely to reject him, so he won’t approach them; this male fear of rejection apparently explains why, for example, international supermodel Bar Refaeli, according to a Fox News item on October 18, 2013, reportedly complained she can’t get a date — by the way, what would we think of Leonardo DiCaprio, whom Refaeli dated, if he complained he couldn’t get a date? (Even many well-off feminists select men who are more well off: Gloria Steinem supposedly married a more successful man, and before him dated men with high incomes and high status. Millionaire Jane Fonda picked billionaire Ted Turner. CBS Early Show anchor Julie Chen, instead of marrying a lesser-paid stage hand or cameraman to help close the gender wage gap, married CBS Chairman Les Moonves. British actress Emma Watson, as of early February 2015, was rumored to be hanging with Prince Harry, a success-object, status-object, and handsome-guy object all rolled into one. Such successful feminist women, while condemning the gender wage gap with words, reinforce it with behavior. So we can hardly blame the successful non-feminist Christie Brinkleys for reinforcing the gap by marrying the even more successful Billy Joels, or the successful movie stars like Kate Winslet who chose as her third husband Ned Rocknroll, the nephew of a billionaire, or the millionaire actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, who now swings with billionaire Jeff Soffer.)
But in the real world, does a woman’s success at work actually diminish her success with men? Not at all. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Sue Shellenbarger, “Many women are surprised to find their earning power has become a magnet for the opposite sex.” Why are they surprised? Because they’ve heard for years that female success threatens men. I have a saying that explains why successful women have become attractive to men: Today’s possibility is tomorrow’s expectation. Just as male success has long been a female expectation, female success, after becoming a possibility, is becoming a male expectation. The problem for successful women is not attracting men, but attracting the “right” man. Many high-earning women still prefer high-earning men. “Some women,” writes Shellenbarger, “are wary of being trapped in the breadwinner role themselves. Some want the companionship of men who are as ambitious as they are. Others want the freedom to stay home with their children some day.”
A root cause of the sexes’ earnings gap, obviously, has been men’s willingness to support a woman who earns low or no wages, and women’s unwillingness, except perhaps in temporary or special cases, to support a man even when the woman herself is successful. It could be argued that when the (successful) female becomes equally willing to support a man and offer him the same options she expects from him, more men will take lower-paid “female” jobs, thereby freeing up more higher-paid “male” jobs for women. Perhaps only when this “gender willingness gap” closes will the gender pay gap close — in which case closing the pay gap might well take, as IWPR theorizes, another 50 years. It can also close, of course, if, as stated above, employers act on IWPR’s suggestion to give preference to females by deliberately discriminating against men to compensate for the supposedly ill-intentioned discrimination against women. (Employer “discrimination” has in fact been against both sexes and has evolved, says Warren Farrell, as a system that both sexes in roughly equal numbers have supported in order to support families.) Other points to consider when reflecting on the sexes’ earnings gap and on women being economically “short-changed”:
- Women generally have been as able to find a well-paid husband as men have been able to find a well-paid job (meaning, among other things, that countless women are better off than the average man). Conversely, men have been as unable to find a well-paid wife (who is willing to give her husband the option of taking a low-paid job and raising the children) as women have been to find a well-paid job. What limits and hurts one sex limits and hurts the other. The bottom line is that women in general have had equal access to a man’s income without equal production in the workplace, just as men have had equal access to home-cooked meals and other domestic advantages without equal production in the home. (Men’s unequal production in the home – unequal house work – has been written about a thousand times in just the past decade. It has angered many women, and has probably damaged many marriages. And, I suspect, it has sparked resentment in the men who feel something is not quite fair in the media’s handling of the issue. All this because IWPR-type feminists and the media dismiss the male side to the gender story and lack what I consider the all-important balance and fairness.)
- Overnight a bride gains access to the earnings and assets for which a man may have sacrificed decades of his life to acquire. Think Bill Gates. He became a billionaire after working hard for nearly 20 years. His wife Melinda became a billionaire overnight. (Also think billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.) After a divorce, a woman may continue to get part of a man’s income (alimony) without having to continue doing anything for him. But alimony means the man continues to work in part for her.
- Women typically marry up in age and live longer than men. So wives typically benefit longer from husbands’ earnings than do husbands. Suppose a wife, typically, is a little over two years younger and lives five years longer than her husband. Suppose he was a sole provider and his income and assets were acquired only in their marriage. She benefits from the fruits of his labor over seven years longer than he does. Yet many say he had the power because he earned the money.
- There is no power in earning money. There is often satisfaction, even exhilaration — the “thrill of the hunt and conquest.” But over time this satisfaction tends to wither as the daily grind and monotony of work take their toll. For the vast majority of workers, earning money means only responsibility and stress. The power in money is in spending it. (Ask political action committees. Or mobsters who bribe officials. Or suppose you earned $1 million a year but couldn’t spend it? Would you feel powerful? “Money talks” speaks of the power derived from spending money, not from earning it.) And according to She-conomy, besides controlling most of the consumer wealth, women control “85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care.” The greatest power in spending money, I suggest, lies in the right to spend money toiled for by others.
- Single women’s pay represents 93 percent of single men’s.
- Unlike the races, says Warren Farrell, the sexes have approximately equal numbers of people born into privileged and oppressive conditions.
- Consider the effect of the following on the sexes’ earnings gap: When a pregnant woman cannot afford parenthood or doesn’t want to interrupt her career, she can obtain an abortion. Yet if she wants the baby and he can’t afford parenthood, she can obligate him to pay support for the next 18 years. If forced into unwanted fatherhood, he may have to work overtime or acquire an extra job, as happens often in reality. She may quit work or go from full time to part-time to care for the child. In this instance, the woman’s choice created an enormous wage gap between this man and woman. He is then said to possess power because of the higher pay she forced him to earn and turn over to her. In fact, he now has less power if he works more hours. Most of the “power” he had was actually transferred to her. (In most states, husbands must support children that wives have from affairs. Thus a wife often can control the number of children a couple has, and so to a great degree can control her partner’s life.) Is there just one similar law that gives men such power over females? Suppose a man could legally require a pregnant female to deliver and give him the child and pay him support for 18 years. IWPR-type feminists would correctly call this The Number One Economic Oppression of Women. The word “enslavement” might be tossed in there as well.
- Many feminists are among those who think employers are obsessed with making profits. If in fact employers are so obsessed, why would they purposely decrease their profits by hiring “over-paid” men? Why not hire only women and pay them 76 percent of what they were paying men for the same work? Hiring only women, speculates Warren Farrell, would permit a business to beat out its competitors and make huge profits for its “profit-obsessed” owners.
- Men tend to pick jobs that interest them the most from the among the jobs that pay the most; women tend to to do the reverse: pick the best-paying from the most interesting.
- A lot of women are married to a man who earns less than they, but almost all of these women earned less than their husbands when first married.
- There are more women than men in the lowest-paid jobs, but there are more men than women in the most dangerous jobs. Each year at work men suffer over 2 million disabling injuries. About 6,600 men are killed in accidents on the job. About 400 women are killed. While women’s pay averages 76 percent of men’s, women’s occupational deaths represent only a little more than 6 percent of men’s. This gap is ignored by IWPR and the mainstream media as a gender issue. It is never brought up in a context such as: “While women earn 76 percent of what men earn, they incur only six percent of accidental workplace deaths.” Both IWPR and the media are concerned about raising women’s pay to that of men’s, but not, apparently, about lowering men’s workplace accident and death rates to those of women’s. Do they care more about women’s pay than about the lives of our fathers, brothers, sons…? Some apparently do, complaining, for example, only about the gender wage gap and not at all about the death-rate gap in the mining industry, one of the world’s most lethal jobs for men.
- If women earned more than men and had a higher occupational death rate, wouldn’t this be interpreted as proof that men weren’t pulling their weight in the work force?
Failing to consider such factors as these regarding the gender wage gap, feminist groups such as IWPR have taught women to see the gap as prima facie evidence of discrimination. They do not motivate women to change their income-affecting behavior to obtain equal pay with men; rather, they encourage women to sue their way to equal pay. To companies that haven’t discriminated but nonetheless are sued over their “gender imbalance,” the cost can often be huge merely to settle out of court to avoid negative publicity.
The threat of women suing their way to equal pay, says Warren Farrell, makes outsourcing look good. Such feminist groups have helped create many problematic consequences, but one of these consequences is particularly abysmal. Instead of encouraging white women to avail themselves of equal opportunity, feminists lumped them in with truly disadvantaged minorities and managed to get them included in affirmative action. Soon white women, the group that unlike blacks has always benefited from white men’s wages and wealth, achieved a stellar success with affirmative action. “Affirmative action programs are often described in the press as being based on ‘racial preference,’” says Dr. Manning Marable, Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University, New York City, “but the overwhelming majority of those who are the chief beneficiaries of affirmative action are white women.” Jennifer Epps, chair of the ASM Diversity Committee, says in the University of Wisconsin’s Daily Cardinal, “In fact, white women have been the largest beneficiaries of affirmative action based on levels of upward mobility, access to higher education, post-graduate income levels, post-graduate job placement and graduation rates.”
This is not just opining or whining on their part. Citing a statistic representative of many employers, a March 1998 press release from the State of Washington’s Office of the Governor informs: “Of Washington state workers who have benefited directly from affirmative action, 60 percent are white women….” White women’s inclusion and meteoric success with affirmative action have made a mockery of affirmative action.
Here’s how: Just as most white men share their income and assets with white women, most white women reciprocate. More to the point, they share with white men their affirmative action gains. This means, possibly, that by virtue of the huge number of white women assisted by affirmative action, white men may be the program’s second biggest beneficiaries, despite however often they as individuals suffer “reverse” discrimination. For every white man hurt by affirmative action, another might be obliquely aided. Perhaps even many of those who are hurt are partially or fully compensated when affirmative action rewards their wives.
That white men profit via this roundabout fashion is no secret. “Affirmative action has enabled wives and daughters and mothers and girlfriends to compete in the workplace,” said Ralph G. Neas, former executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, “and that has helped entire families, including white males in those families.” Corretta Scott King, speaking at a Washington County university on Martin Luther King Day, didn’t explicitly say affirmative action helps white men, but implied as much when she said, “So affirmative action benefits all families.” (We need a program to help all families?)
Thus, a program that was conceived over 30 years ago solely to help the oppressed appears to be helping the “oppressors” about as much. Who knows, it may lend a hand to more middle- and upper-class white families than to poor black ones, since a beneficiary’s economic status isn’t a qualifying factor. How often, I wonder, has the wife or daughter of an affluent white man been boosted by affirmative action into a well-paid job herself – a job that might otherwise have gone to a poor but qualified black American?
This corruption of justice may occur often, and it would at least partly explain why, despite the strides of many individual blacks, black household wages advanced on average only 1.2 percent on whites’ between 1985 and 2000. At a 1.2 percent gain every 1.5 decades, blacks won’t close their wage gap with whites for at least another 200 years, thanks probably in no small part to IWPR, which complains that women won’t achieve wage equality with men for another 50 years. (See “Why Affirmative Action Keeps Blacks Behind Whites.”)
Affirmative action was largely hijacked from blacks, in my view, because feminist groups such as IWPR succeeded in categorizing white women as being just as oppressed as blacks. They pushed this view despite Editor & Publisher’s September 1996 front-page headline that reads, “Who controls most of the wealth in the nation? Women.” (Trust me — they weren’t talking about black women.) And how are things today? Women are set to control even more of the wealth. Listen to Sheconomy: “Over the next decade, women will control two thirds of consumer wealth in the United States and be the beneficiaries of the largest transference of wealth in our country’s history. Estimates range from $12 to $40 trillion. Many Boomer women will experience a double inheritance windfall, from both parents and husband.”
“76% of Americans believe that men control more wealth than women. But a new survey of Federal Reserve Board data reveals that women actually control 51.3% of personal wealth in the United States.” -PBS.org, “To the Contrary”
Not only do American women as a group control most of the wealth in the U.S., but globally most of the consumer spending: “For a start,” says Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, September 12, 2014, “women are the ultimate agents of aggregate demand, accounting for 70 percent of global consumer spending.”
Remember — there is no power in earning money, only in spending it, and that the even greater power is being able to spend money toiled for by someone else. WHICH sex has the power?
“Violence Against Women” is the main title of a doctrinaire feminist interpretation of gender violence. (Go here for the pdf file.) It was a presentation given June 2003 at “Women Working to Make a Difference,” IWPR’s Seventh International Women’s Policy Research Conference. A text-book example of feminist literature teaching women to hate and fear men, it gave me the impression that IWPR believes – or wants readers to believe – that American women are perpetually under siege by a reign of male terror authorized and fueled by the “patriarchy,” and that society is desensitized to what IWPR calls “femicide,” men’s misogynistic killing of women. It mentions no female violence whatsoever. I sensed that IWPR may want us to think women are innocents who commit no brutality of their own except, perhaps, when justifiably provoked by aggression or threat.
In 2010, over 10,000 males were murdered vs. only 2,918 females. -FBI - Men kill far more men than they kill women. There are more men who kill themselves than there are women who are killed by men. How can it be said men kill women because of misogyny? It can more reasonably be said men kill men because of misandry.
On that last point, moderate feminist Naomi Wolf might differ. On page 221 (hardcover) of her Fire With Fire, she serves up eye-opening facts on women’s child abuse, which is relevant here because of its significance as a type of domestic violence never mentioned by IWPR: “Women are more likely to commit major physical abuse of their children than are men: 56.8 percent to 43.2 percent.” (See this list of videos and these Google search results.)
Then there is this: In a paper titled “Women and Violent Crime,” Rita J. Simon, professor of justice, law, and society at American University, Washington, D.C., says, “Women are more likely to kill their children than are men: 55 percent to 45 percent.”
Crime research writer Patricia Pearson states on page 255, note 71, of the first publication of her book, When She Was Bad: How and Why Women Get Away With Murder: “Women commit almost all of the murders of newborns. In Dade County, Fla., between 1956 and 1986, according to the June 1990 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 5:2, mothers accounted for 86 percent of newborn deaths.”
The real significance of these statistics on mothers’ rather extensive domestic violence against their offspring is immediately obvious to all except perhaps IWPR and other like-minded feminist groups. The statistics smash the feminist suggestion that women are innocents who aggress only when they are provoked. They demonstrate that if women can commit unprovoked brutality against those whom they are socialized to love, they can indeed inflict it against those whom they’ve been encouraged almost daily to distrust and fear, to see as angry, violent, and irredeemably misogynistic.
Here’s one example that illustrates why men are considered by many feminists and others to be the “violent sex”:
On January 6, 2013, a woman was rescued from the icy Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio, by a short-haul Ice Rescue Team. The team consisted only of men; I saw no female rescuers among the swarm of men in the local news video clip.
Now here’s the rub: these male rescuers, like so many others over the years, will not make the network news. But they would have made it if, instead of saving the woman from death, they had assaulted her and beaten her to death. Thus, because the big media report on men’s violence against women far more often than they report on men’s rescue of women, millions of Americans, especially feminists, believe men are the “violent sex” and not the “rescue sex.”
It should now be easier to accept the statistics on women’s unprovoked violence against men. These statistics are in abundance in such books as, besides Patricia Pearson’s, The Myth of Male Power by Warren Farrell, and CeaseFire! by Globe columnist Cathy Young.
After learning that unprovoked gender violence is pretty much an equal-opportunity activity, one should then factor in “gender protection.” This is necessary to put gender violence into its proper perspective and to obtain a more realistic understanding how the sexes relate to each other.
According to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, more than 90 percent of the selfless souls who’ve jumped into flood waters, burst into burning buildings, and rescued often complete strangers from violent assault — sometimes at the cost of their own lives — are male. Far more men pull women from the jaws of violence and death than the other way around.
Yet IWPR and the mainstream media don’t seem interested in tracking the number of women removed from danger by men, only in the number of women put in danger by men. Although the foregoing facts on violence are always a mere two or three mouse clicks away, many in the media deliberately slant their gender-violence reports against males. In doing so, they help drive the wedge deeper between the sexes. Then they deny being biased or complicit in the erosion of gender harmony.
Further references on violence:
- Bureau of Justice, http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/gender.htm: “Males were 3.4 times more likely than females to be murdered in 2002.”
- References Examining Assaults By Women On Their Spouses Or Male Partners: An Annotated Bibliography, http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm
- An example of how gender violence is skewed against males when presented to the media (where it then often gets even more skewed): “The Great Dating-Abuse Hoax,” by Adam Jones of Gendercide.org.
- American Spectator: “Feminists are understandably reluctant to acknowledge that study after study have shown that women are not only as potentially violent as men, but they are potentially more violent, partly because they expect not to be punished for their actions.” http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=7133
- Massachusetts News: “Women report using violence in their relationships more often than men. The research disputes a long held belief about the nature of domestic violence — that if a woman hits, it’s only in response to her partner’s attacks.” http://www.massnews.com/past_issues/other/8_Aug/domviin.htm
“United Auto Workers president Bob King recently asked state Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer to run for governor, even though most Democratic leaders have coalesced around the candidacy of former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer. Whitmer turned down King, citing her decision a year ago to not run for governor and focus on raising her young children, according to a Whitmer aide.” -The Detroit News, January 14, 2013
“Everyone wants to know if Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to run for president. What would prevent her from doing so?
“The former secretary of State told Charlie Rose that the prospect of becoming a grandmother could be a factor in deciding against a 2016 campaign.
“‘I’m about to have my first grandchild, which I’m thrilled about,” Clinton said Thursday, according to the PBS transcript. “I can’t wait. I want to see what that feels like. I’m not going to skip over it. I want to really be present, as I meet this … new person in our family.'” -USA Today Politics, July 17, 2014
“State legislatures,” says IWPR, “are all heavily weighted toward men. Even in the most balanced state legislature, Washington, women have only 37 percent of the seats and men 63 percent. In the most unbalanced, South Carolina, men hold 90 percent of the seats. This imbalance exists even though women are likelier than men to register to vote in every state but Pennsylvania, and are likelier to actually vote in all but seven states….”
IWPR President Heidi Hartmann says there is “no good reason to deny us [women] our fair share of political offices. At the rate things are changing, it’ll be…nearly a full century before women hold half the seats in Congress.”
“…[N]ew research shows that young women especially are far less likely than men to think about trying to be an elected official.” -Kay Steiger, Atlantic Monthly, March 29, 2013 (Could it be that all women feel they have more societal permission than men to marry an elected official than be one themselves?)
Since IWPR seems to prefer equal results to equal opportunity in the workplace, does the group also prefer equal results in the political sphere? Would it push for the requirement that an equal number of females be nominated for office? (It is beyond me how it would then compel voters, even female voters, to put an equal number of women into office.) Likely yes, for it holds that females in office work for women’s interests, and more females in office would mean more people working for women’s interests. “Media commentators, political activists, and feminist scholars all suggest,” it says in IWPR’s “Transforming the Political Agenda? Gender Differences in Bill Sponsorship on Women’s Issues,” “that female legislators will be more attentive to the needs of women, children, and families. … Congressmen’s comparative neglect of feminist issues reflects the fact that these issues do not yet have an established place on the Congressional agenda…. Congresswomen are clearly bringing women’s issues to the national agenda.” If IWPR thinks men in office don’t serve women’s interests, consider just a few (harvested from memory, not from research, which would undoubtedly reveal many more) but important gender-based laws or policies formulated by men over the decades:
- The year 1908 could be called a peak time of the “reign of the patriarchy.” It was long before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Yet it was the year in which states began passing hours-limitations laws. Lobbied for mostly by women, these laws barred employers from requiring women to work more than ten hours a day. The laws patently opposed the interests of male workers by outright discriminating against them and keeping them under their employers’ thumb. They also snubbed the interests of employers, virtually all of them male. (There was a major unintended consequence of these hours-limitations laws: employers were motivated to hire only men in certain production jobs subject to last-minute changes in work hours. The laws solidified the division of labor by sex. They also fueled the gender wage gap because, I suspect, employers now faced a smaller pool of prospective employees for high-production jobs, and had to raise the pay to draw in enough men to fill them. If these laws had limited only men’s hours, we’d still be hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women.)
- In 1909, a Washington state law made slander of a woman a crime.
- In 1912, when the Titanic sank, society was still “ruled” by the “oppressive patriarchy.” Aboard that ocean liner, the era’s male-made maritime laws did not require the perhaps more sensible “children first, then women, then men.” They mandated “women and children first.” This ran not only against the interests of men but also against the interests of children: 74 percent of the Titanic’s women were saved, compared to only 52 percent of the children. (See the Anesi Web Site.) For every adult female saved, two more children might have been saved. When our most important right was at stake – the right to live – women’s interest trumped even the interests of children. What incredible power – to live a long life, then to be rescued at the expense of others, including children – experienced by the older women helped into Titanic’s lifeboats. (If old men had been saved at the expense of the women and children, we’d still be hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women and the privilege of men.)
- In 1920, when women’s protest yielded for females the right to vote, young men, many of them teenagers who themselves lacked the right to vote, were dying by the tens of thousands in a World War that American women did not have to worry about. No doubt that while women were demanding voting rights, many women said, “I’d rather be denied the right to vote than be required to risk a horrible maiming or death in a war in a strange, far-away land.” (Even if women had been required merely to wear a ribbon showing their support for American soldiers, we’d still be hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women.)
- In 1956, women were allowed to receive Social Security benefits at age 62. Men weren’t granted that privilege until 1961, and so for a while the group with the shorter life span was required to spend a longer time at work. (This women’s-interests law likely made some employers reluctant to hire older women, for fear they’d retire too soon after receiving expensive training. If men had been permitted five years before women to receive Social Security benefits at age 62, we’d still be hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women.)
- In 1964, about ten years before the women’s movement demanded equal pay for equal work, male legislators passed the Equal Pay Act.
- Before the military draft was shelved in the 1970s, male legislators believed the male-only draft was based on more than just the “practical” consideration of “men are stronger.” They also considered it morally repugnant to expose females to the rigor and horror of battle. On whether women should be drafted, Sandra Day O’Connor was asked during her 1984 justice-confirmation hearing how she felt about women being required to fight in combat alongside the men. O’Connor is a sophisticated, highly educated women who doubtless champions equality of the sexes. Yet her response was that she wouldn’t want to see young women coming home in body bags. Young men coming home in body bags is just fine, apparently. (If women instead of men had been subject to the draft, and if a male Supreme Court justice had said he wouldn’t want to see young men coming home in body bags, we’d still be hearing about it as an example of how society oppresses and devalues women.)
- When a male politician wants to outlaw abortion, some feminists accuse him of trying to throw women deeper into the depths of oppression. They forget that politicians have never even considered giving men what some consider the equivalent of a woman’s abortion right – the right to “abort” support for a child they didn’t want. Suppose men in office worked a tenth as hard to assist men in the reproductive sphere as they work to assist women in the productive sphere via affirmative action, diversity, quotas, and set-asides for women-owned businesses – the last still in effect despite the fact that as of 1997 women owned 46 percent of all domestic firms. Feminists would feel alarmed and threatened. But male office holders keep men’s rights in the reproductive sphere virtually non-existent, as Cathy Young points out in “Stigmatizing Fathers.” (If male office holders had given men the counter-balancing right to abort support at the same time they gave women the right to abort a pregnancy, we’d still be hearing about it – about this true equality – as an example of the oppression of women.)
- In 1987, according to Warren Farrell, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that in jobs dominated by men, less qualified women could be hired. It did not allow less qualified men to be hired in jobs dominated by women. (Such sexist policies may have put more than a few men out of work. If the Court had ruled the opposite, that in jobs dominated by women, less qualified men could be hired, but did not allow less qualified women to be hired in jobs dominated by men, we’d still be hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women.)
- Men are more likely to be assaulted — even with the sexual assault of women factored in — and more than twice as likely to be murdered. Yet in 1994, men in Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act to protect the safer sex. (If Congress had passed instead a more appropriate, but still unnecessary, Violence Against Men Act, we’d never stop hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women.)
- Later in the 1990s, male legislators created the Office For Women’s Health. There is not yet a counterpart office for the group that on average dies six years sooner and has a higher death rate for every one of the 15 leading causes of death. How might some men feel about an office for women’s health but none for the group with poorer health and a shorter life span? That could probably best be answered by asking women how they would feel if men, who already out-earn women, had an Office of Men’s Economic Advancement, but women had no similar office. (If men did have an Office of Men’s Economic Advancement and women had no counterpart, we’d never stop hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women.)
- Courts do not grant men a legal right to be a parent when a woman wants to terminate a pregnancy. That would interfere with a woman’s legal right not to be a parent. They also don’t give fathers the right not to be a parent if this right means a man could “abort” child support. That’s in part because that right would infringe upon a woman’s right to be a parent; it could compel her to lean toward getting an abortion when she dearly wants to be a mother. A man has no rights even when a woman deliberately deceives him about her contraception. Would a woman do that — deceive a man about something with such a life-altering potential? “Forty-two percent [of 5,000 polled women] would lie about contraception in order to get pregnant, no matter the wishes of their partner,” says TheScotsman, reporting on a poll by That’s Life! Magazine, in an article headlined “96% of women are liars, honest.” And courts still pay no attention to males even when they hear such firm declarations as that uttered by unmarried teenager Prissy on the December 31, 2001, Maury Povich Show: “I’m going to have a baby no matter what it takes!” To young Prissy, “no matter what it takes” probably included scheming to take advantage of the first naïve boy she came across. Yet courts actually do worse than ignore males’ rights in the reproductive sphere (while vigorously enforcing women’s rights in the productive sphere). Michigan resident Alexander Shire, at age 14, was likely naïve and poorly informed about sex. At that tender age, he was seduced by an older married woman who may have used him simply to become pregnant. The seduction was bad enough. But hear this: Now that Shire is an adult, he “must pay child support [emphasis added] to the state for the illegitimate son he gave her, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided in a precedent-setting Macomb County [case]….” (Macomb Daily, February 21, 2004, in Michigan) The statute of limitations for sex crimes against minors had expired in this case, so the woman went unpunished. Even if she had been charged, it probably wouldn’t have mattered. The appeals court ruled that the matter of “consent was also irrelevant when it comes to his child support responsibilities” [emphasis added]. In effect, Shire was punished for being seduced at age 14 by an unquestionably more mature, adult predatory female. Such a hideously sexist ruling is potentially devastating to boys. It obviously can ruin them for the rest of their lives. It can hurt poor men in particular, and can hurt young black men as much as any act of racism. (If a court issued a ruling even remotely as devastating against a female, we’d never stop hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women.)
- Our legal system could be called a lenient system for women. In fact, Cathy Young comes close to calling it that in Ceasefire! She writes: “There is a deeply entrenched habit in our legal system and our culture of treating female offenders more leniently….” (If our legal system and culture had a habit of treating male offenders more leniently than female, we’d never stop hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women.)
- On top of all this, our society for centuries has pressured men to behave chivalrously toward women. Chivalry has often had the force of law. Even today many of the men I’ve met feel expected to do such things as: rise when women approach, yield their seat to them, open doors for them, propose marriage while kneeling before them, and place themselves protectively between women and danger. This is precisely the type of supplicant behavior that commoners are expected to exhibit toward royalty, and which lower-ranking military men must display toward superior officers to show respect. Chivalry continues to manifest itself regularly in the mainstream media. It appears not only in the female-biased reporting on gender, but also in TV sitcoms, movies, and daytime talk shows, as illustrated by Dr. Phil. (If females were expected to exhibit such behavior toward men, feminists and the mainstream media would call it proof positive that women are second-class citizens. We’d never stop hearing about it as an example of the oppression of women.)
Men in office undeniably are concerned more about women than about men. Says Warren Farrell in a treatise on men’s higher visibility in the media:
One of the major functions of men who make the front pages is to protect women.
In general, men make the front pages either when they protect and save us – or threaten our safety. And men are especially concerned about saving and protecting women. So, when the President and Congress unanimously pass male-only draft registration and a Violence Against Women Act, it is mostly men on the front pages, even though it is women being protected. Ditto for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) programs, an Office of Research on Women’s Health, the Learned Helplessness Defense, sexual harassment legislation, the prosecution of a man for rape or date rape… mostly men on the front pages, saving mostly women. (See Chapter Eight of Farrell’s riveting Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say.)
Since IWPR seems to believe that men in office aren’t concerned about women’s interests, by extension they have to also believe women in office aren’t concerned about men’s interests. If that’s true, and if IWPR succeeds in getting more of the kind of feminists they prefer into office, millions of men, especially poor men, will see their quality of life erode. That, accompanied by the anti-male miasma spawned by movies, sitcoms, ads, columnists such as The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, would not augur well for our society. (If we think male violence is rampant now….) I personally would not object if all office holders were women, provided that they:
- Discussed men’s health as often as women’s
- Condemned the gender occupational death gap as often as the gender wage gap
- Recognized women’s violence as often as men’s
In short, I would not object to office holders being all women if they honored genuine equality of the sexes. Truly egalitarian females in office would serve us all better than the chivalrous male office holders we now have.
“Over 17 million women have no health insurance,” IWPR states in a press release. While this figure is tragic and alarming, it essentially means nothing as a gender issue since IWPR does not tell how many men are uninsured as a comparison. A reader might conclude that the number of uninsured men is relatively low. Yet during the 2004 presidential campaign, Democrats repeatedly stressed that 44 million people are uninsured. Obviously millions of men have no insurance, either, though it’s hard to nail down a precise figure because few people, it seems, have men’s health interests in mind. In general, and again without comparisons to men, IWPR paints a less-than-rosy picture of women’s health. To be sure, many women do have poor health,
especially, as IWPR indicates, poor women. But because nothing is said about men’s health, readers once again might be left thinking men are doing comparatively well. Yet even the pro-female (at times outright anti-male) New York Times finally, in March 2003, conceded that it is men who are at a greater heath risk in our nation. The following is a partial list of facts from “The Weaker Sex,” by Maggie Jones:
- Men start out ahead: 115 males are conceived for every 100 females. But it’s downhill from there.
- The male fetus is at greater risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.
- Male births slightly outnumber female births (about 105 to 100), but boys have a higher death rate if born premature: 22 percent compared with 15 percent for girls.
- Overall, more newborn males die than females (5 to 4).
- Sudden infant death syndrome is one and a half times as common in boys as in girls.
- Boys are three to four times as likely to be autistic.
- Boys are three times as likely to have Tourette’s syndrome.
- Dyslexia is diagnosed two to three times as often in boys as girls.
- As teenagers, boys die at twice the rate of girls.
- Boys ages 15-19 are five times as likely to die in a homicide.
- Boys ages 15-19 are almost 11 times as likely to die by drowning.
- Boys ages 16-19 are nearly twice as likely to die from a car accident.
- Though women attempt suicide two to three times as often as men, four times as many men actually kill themselves. [Note: I suspect a deadly car “accident” may often be a suicide.]
- Men suffer hearing loss at twice the rate of women.
- The male hormone testosterone is linked to elevations of LDL, the bad cholesterol, as well as declines in HDL, the good cholesterol.
- Men have fewer infection-fighting T-cells and are thought to have weaker immune systems than women.
- Men have a higher death rate from pneumonia and influenza than women.
- By the age of 36, women outnumber men.
- Men ages 55-74 are twice as likely as women to die of heart disease.
- Among people 65 and older, men account for 84 percent of suicides.
- Stroke, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and accidents — all among the top causes of death — kill men at a higher rate than women.
- American men typically die almost six years before women do.
- By the age of 100, women outnumber men eight to one.
For a balanced report on men’s and women’s health, see the Health Review article,“The health consequences of being female or male — Men’s & Women’s Health in Focus.” See also Boys, girls fare equally in U.S. It is, according to the site, the most comprehensive examination of the overall well-being of male and female children. It found that “Although boys have the advantage in some areas and girls score better in others, they are doing about the same in a broad array of measures assessing essential dimensions of life, such as health, safety, economics and education….”
A serious health issue is homelessness. “Out of all single homeless adults, 80% are men; out of all homeless adults, 70% are single men; out of all homeless people — adults or children — fully 65% are single men.” -Abandoning Men: Jill Gets Welfare–Jack Becomes Homeless An even more serious health issue is suicide. “Men and boys comprise nearly 80% of all completed suicides in the United States.” -Boys, Men, and Suicide
IWPR is a far-left feminist advocacy group that addresses many worthy causes. But too often it goes well beyond seeking equality for women. In addition to championing such socialist concepts as a universal healthcare system and a “living wage” for all workers, it pushes for programs and policies which, rather than create equality, enhance only the lives of females, frequently at the expense of males. If IWPR had its way, it is likely that:
- The 14 Amendment’s equal-protection clause would be breached still further than the Violence Against Women Act breaches it, as more government resources would be allocated to protect the group that has always encountered less aggression.
- More and more health funding would be provided to the group that historically has been healthier and longer-living. Women, since at least 1990, have been getting the lion’s share of the National Institute of Health’s gender-specific research funding: 14 percent vs. men’s 6.5 percent (the vast majority of the NIH’s research is gender neutral). Compare, for example, the spending for breast-cancer research with that for prostate-cancer research. The difference is alarming. Nearly as many men die of prostate cancer as women die of breast cancer, and since there are slightly more new cases of prostate cancer each year than breast cancer (233,000 vs. 232,670 projected for 2014), probably more men would die of prostate cancer than women of breast cancer if men as a group lived as long as women, if men did not have higher mortality rates for all of the 15 leading causes of death. (Such facts about men’s health I could not find in IWPR’s literature.)
“Note that breast cancer is actually rather rare (0.8 percent); that is, for every 1,000 women, 8 will have breast cancer. There is a 90 percent probability that those women will receive positive mammograms — say, 7 of the 8. That leaves 992 women who do not have breast cancer. Of this group, 7 percent will also receive positive mammograms — about 69 cases of what are called false positives. Thus, a total of 76 (7 + 69 = 76) women will receive positive mammograms, yet only 7 of those — about 9 percent — will actually have breast cancer. The point is that a measure of risk often requires a string of calculations. Even trained professionals (such as doctors) are not used to calculating risk and find it easy to make mistakes.” -“More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues”, p. 78, hardcover
- More and more education opportunities would be accorded the group that attends college and obtains degrees at a higher rate. As far back as 1991, writes Tribune columnist Kathleen Parker, “54 percent of bachelor’s and master’s degrees went to women. Recent research shows girls are more likely than boys to take high school math and science. Boys in grades K-12, meanwhile, are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade. In high school, boys are five times more likely to commit suicide.”
- More and more women would advance in the world of work via quotas and affirmative action programs. In contrast, men’s involvement in the world of children would continue to be questioned and often thwarted. This is now being accomplished via such tactics as issuing false or misleading reports about “abusive” men besting women in custody cases, and about divorcing fathers “taking children away from their mothers to keep from paying child support.” Probably the tactic applied most often is to claim that the courts hugely fail women, and hence suggest that men get what they want after a divorce. Renee Beeker is a member of the National Organization for Women. (NOW and IWPR differ somewhat in their purpose but ideologically they seem almost perfectly aligned. For instance, NOW, like IWPR, fabricates causes of the gender wage gap.) In “The Status of Women in the Family Law Arena,” Beeker says of the judicial system, “While not all members of this system fail in their position, there is a huge systemic sickness that has spread across this country resulting in the failure to protect the rights of women, and therefore the needs of children.” Such unfounded, inflammatory statements are, I believe, intended to stir up guilt and help insure that divorcing mothers continue to get the upper hand in custody cases. [Note: After a half-hour of searching IWPR’s web site, I could find no in-depth opinions regarding child custody! Perhaps they are a tad less doctrinaire than NOW.]
Pushing for such policies would not be about equality. It would be sexism under the guise of “helping the oppressed.” As stated, IWPR seems interested in more than pursuing equality for women. It appears focused on entrenching a feminist ideology, rather than promoting fair and objective policy making based on impartial research of the needs and desires of both sexes. IWPR may in fact want to lay the groundwork for a female-privileged society, perhaps in retaliation against what they still see as a society that privileges males at women’s expense. Yet, despite my strong opposition to much of what IWPR stands for, in the arena of ideas the group has a perfect right to speak its mind. The problem, as I see it, is not so much with IWPR or other activist feminists, as with the mainstream media. In The New Victorians, which asserts that leading feminists now concentrate less on equality than on “Woman As Victim,” Rene Denfeld writes in the chapter “Victim Mythology”:
Many magazines and newspapers simply publish as straight facts the figures from press releases they receive about studies. Few check on who did the survey, how scientific it was, and how trustworthy the findings are. Once reported, these “statistics” are then repeated by other magazines and newspapers, which often have little idea where the numbers originally came from.
Besides often accepting at face value the views of such groups as IWPR, the mainstream media provide few or no opposing views by those such as Warren Farrell. Their modus operandi is to publish an IWPR report or press release, then follow up with reinforcing commentary by their editors or columnists. Some examples: PR Newswire (which, incidentally, has a “Women’s News” link but no “Men’s News” link) issued IWPR’s latest press release to the media on November 16, 2004. The Detroit Free Press published a report. Its competitor, The Detroit News, then ran a commentary by Laura Berman which mirrored some of IWPR’s distortions. The Seattle Times’ Camille Ricketts echoed salient points, while allowing only a three-sentence counter argument. On November 28, John Sullivan added to IWPR’s momentum in The New York Times, which weighed in twice on behalf of the feminist group.
By overwhelmingly reflecting feminist perspectives on gender issues, the media have likely emboldened IWPR, NOW, and other such feminist groups. They may have seduced them into feeling free to proclaim virtually anything regarding gender, no matter how far removed from the truth. Even the everyday woman, feminist or not, apparently feels that freedom. On the December 2 “NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams,” there was a report on a Viagra-type skin patch for women. An interviewed woman suggested that women may be too stressed out for the skin patch to be effective. Why? “Women,” she said, “are overworked and underpaid…” No challenge to this was presented in the name of fairness and balance. Did some viewers think, again, that men are underworked and overpaid? Although the woman was not an expert, her comment was yet another deliberately inserted and unopposed media reinforcement of the “unfair” gender wage gap — of The Lie That Won’t Die.
It is true that:
|Many women have health problems….||But men as a group have a shorter life span, dying sooner than women of the 12 leading causes of death.|
|Many women are uninsured….||But more men than women are uninsured|
|More women hold low-paid jobs….||But many men, too, hold low-paid jobs, and many more men than women hold dangerous jobs, a lot of which are also low paid.|
|Many women encounter violence….||But far more men do.|
|Many women can’t obtain a “male” job….||But many men aren’t allowed to see their children|
The mainstream media’s radar is tuned mostly to the left column, hardly ever to the right. So when IWPR says it is “dedicated to…stimulating debate on public policy issues of critical importance to women…” [emphasis added], we know the media won’t debate as much as repeat and support what IWPR feeds them.
Hence, some in the mainstream media tend to reinforce their own mistaken belief that only women have gender-based problems. When reporting on a political, economic, or religious view, the media usually provide an opposing view. In pursuit of that opposing view, reporters may travel far and wide, tirelessly probing and digging, leaving no stone unturned, owing to their learned principles of fairness, balance, and objectivity.
Yet with gender issues, they too often eschew those principles, preferring usually to report only the feminist vision.
What can I offer as immediate proof that this bias exists in the reporting on gender? Think about some of the non-feminist views I’ve provided here, the views that make sense and ring true to you, especially if you are a man. If you ask yourself, “Why haven’t I heard these views before?” the likely answer is bias. The mainstream media’s bias doesn’t hurt just men. By failing to promote understanding between the sexes, it continues to put gender relations and male-female relationships under strain, especially considering the media’s drumbeat of “men’s oppression and abuse of women.” Thus the anti-male bias also hurts women, the group the media strive so fervently to protect.
The mainstream media generally are unaware of bias against men until they see how an instance of it hurts women. For example, some in the media have said men’s shorter life span leaves widows destitute and creates for unmarried women a “man shortage.” Suppose the media ignored breast cancer as much as they ignore men’s earlier deaths. Imagine someone, especially a man, saying women’s deaths from breast cancer create a woman shortage for unmarried men.
Yet it may be too late for the media on a broad scale to produce a harmony-promoting, fair and balanced debate on the gender-based problems of both sexes. The unilateral concern for women as a disadvantage, embattled group may have been going on for too long. This concern for women may have become too entrenched, too institutionalized up and down the country. Women’s advocates may have been too indulged — even spoiled, I dare say — by the media’s decades-old one-sidedness on gender issues. Many of these advocates, including many leading feminists, will not tolerate even the mildest opposition to their ideas. To illustrate, rumor has it that in France it may soon be illegal to criticize women! (The proposal may have been inspired when Australia’s domestic violence was defined to include, according to The Myth of Male Power, a man raising his voice to his wife, but not a woman raising her voice to her husband. France’s effort to halt anti-female criticism might, among other things, sound the death knell in that country for marriage and male-female relationships. Which, of course, may be just fine with some ideological feminists who, if they can’t stop women from being involved with men, they can stop men from being involved with women.)
The general media’s “All feminist views all the time on all gender issues” may partly explain newspaper reporters’ recent poor scoring on honesty and ethics by a public that may have grown weary of the bias. “People who work at journalism full time,” says Jack Kelly, columnist and former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force, on the decline of newspaper sales, “ought to be able to do a better job of it than people for whom it is a hobby. But that’s not going to happen as long as we ‘professional’ journalists ignore stories we don’t like….”
To me, if there is anything that mainstream-media journalists, particularly those in television and at newspapers that follow The New York Times’ lead, do not like to write about, it’s a fair and balanced “male” side to the gender story. Thus, not only feminists but also many in the media may now be completely resistant to even listening to another side to a gender issue. Take the issue of “gender violence.” In much of the media, especially at such pro-feminist outlets as The New York Times, it may be impossible to get anything close to a reasonably objective, on-going balanced discussion on the topic. Gender violence has for too long been defined at the mainstream media level as something men inflict on women. Few media people, and certainly few leading doctrinaire feminists, are inclined even to reflect on – let alone discuss – Rene Denfeld’s words: “Danger doesn’t stalk women more than it does men. Fear does.” (When feminists and the media try to protect women by constantly and falsely informing them they are at greater risk than men everywhere they go, they are, I believe, largely responsible for women’s fear. See comments by Slate.com’s Jack Shafer on the Washington Post’s latest violence-against-women alarmism. See also Stephen Baskerville’s follow-up.)
One reason for the media’s disconnect with the male side to the gender story might be this: When my daughter was attending Michigan State University, she occasionally brought home a list of professions ranked by their starting salaries. In a list of at least 20 professions, the one with the lowest starting salary always was journalism. With that low salary, the field may not be attracting many heterosexual men, who normally feel considerable instant-success pressure. It may be attracting a higher-than-usual number of women who are well supported or anticipate being well supported, and gay men. Neither women nor gay men are likely to experience what heterosexual men experience, so neither group can connect well to the “typical” male reality. They may not even realize that a male side to the gender story exists. -Male Matters
Perhaps a lot of media people are just too afraid to write or say anything the feminists might deem offensive. Perhaps they fear happening to them what happened to a friend of Don Feder, a former Boston Herald columnist, who wrote on December 15:
One of the gentlest and most unassuming men I know, Gene (who has a PhD. in English) taught that subject at a Massachusetts state college for five years. Evaluations by his students were uniformly excellent. Unlike his liberal colleagues, he was never accused of using his classes as a showcase for his politics. Gene’s problems began when he started writing an opinion column for a local newspaper. One of his colleagues (doubtless a champion of the First Amendment) ordered him to stop writing articles critical of feminism. He heard from a faculty friend that every time he wrote something un-PC, colleagues would go to the chairman of his department demanding: “Look at what he’s writing now! Can you believe it? You’ve got to get rid of him.” This they eventually did. Gene, who didn’t have tenure, was replaced by a die-hard feminist who used her classes to cram her views down students’ throats. Gene struggles to get by teaching adult education courses.
And IWPR would very likely insist women have no power. But IWPR is right about one thing: Full gender equality, at least as I define it, may indeed take another 100 years.
References that explore the vast gender territory I did not explore:
- His Side With Glenn Sacks
- Why Men Are the Way They Are
- Father and Child Reunion
- Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt For men In Popular Culture
- The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men
- Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism
- Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women