How The Cookie Crumbles

http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q

To begin with, I found this article to be quite interesting. It’s certainly an interesting way to demonstrate gender inequality and the wage gap. To sum it up, a group of high school students held a bake sale in which guys had to pay $1.00 for a cookie, as opposed to girls who had to pay $0.77. The purpose was to showcase the differences in pay faced by men and women within America, where on average women only make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. This sparked controversy, and most importantly, conversation.

(Found at http://video-static.clipsyndicate.com/zStorage/clipsyndicate/271/2015/03/18/02/51/swlmmwmgwsrdmpvdysco.jpg)

I believe that it was an excellent way to demonstrate the wage gap – an issue that is hard to portray simply by discussing it, as comparing a dollar to 77 cents may not seem like that big of a deal. However, when it’s actually embodied in front of a person who is forced to pay more, the severity and unfairness of it becomes much clearer.

Before really diving into the issue, I would like to point out that these statistics are more relevant to white, able-bodied men and women than to men and women of ethnic groups, who on average are paid much less than their white counterparts. Likewise, people who are able-bodied are often also paid less (Aboriginal).

That being said, ethnic voices were excluded entirely. Even within the comments, based on the profile pictures it seems that it is predominantly white men arguing that these statistics are untrue and white women arguing the opposite. Many of the men arguing against these statistics have used derogatory terms, insults, and unbacked statistics to try and support their arguments. Some examples from the comments are “…men pay for more than half of the cost of having and raising children.”, referring to these statistics as an “anti-scientific lie”, and my personal favourite  “I do think though that in many jobs a man is more productive… so in some jobs men are on average superior…” (Carlisle, in the comments)

(Retrieved from http://amysrobot.com/files/pay.jpg)

Many people argue that the inequality does not actually exist, and that if it does it is merely a 5% wage differences as opposed to a 23% difference. The underlying issue relates directly back to entrenched sexism within society, reaching back to the time of colonialism. Before European settlers came to Canada, equality was not just an idea but was a practice among Aboriginal citizens, and jobs were shared among both sexes, though a gender split was still apparent (Colonialism And Slavery Handouts). However, following the arrival of colonial settlers in which Aboriginals were colonized, suppressed, and ultimately dominated over, it became a very male-dominated society, in which white men held more power than anyone else (Tolmie, Jane, week 9). These power systems have become heavily integrated into our society, meaning that straight, able-bodied white men are generally viewed as those with the most power (Aulette & Wittner).

I find it interesting that the comments themselves exhibit these power systems – there are a much greater amount of comments from white males than there are from any other group of people. This, paired with the fact that the majority of people in positions of power (i.e. the government) are white, able-bodied males, contributes to the inequality and oppression of other groups – when there is a majority group in power, their interests are often looked after and met far before the interests of others.

Further, when a crime is committed by a young white man, for instance, news stations often focus on the potential that this person had or basically lessen the severity of the crime by making what could be considered excuses for the criminal. Meanwhile, there is a tendency to focus on what the victim did or did not do beforehand. On the flip side, if the offender is a person of colour, the severity of the crime is often stressed and very rarely are excuses made. This speaks of the racism present within society, and is portrayed through the reactions of different news stations regarding the rape case discussed in week 11 (Tolmie, Jane, Week 11).

Focusing solely on the career aspect of this issue, a great example is the glass ceiling effect, in which women of all ethnicities and men belonging to ethnic groups are unable to reach high-paying jobs, despite there seemingly being no reason. It is as if there is an invisible barrier there, preventing people from moving up into better jobs.

(Retrieved from http://www.kchronicles.com/comics/2012-07-22_glass_ceiling-2665b5af.gif)

Ultimately, I believe that this was a fantastic way to get conversation going, and was certainly a great thing for high school students to do. However, it is not enough to create significant change. This is exhibited through the comments, and the utter denial clearly seen. Issues like this need to be targeted by the government, and individuals who hold a fair amount of power. It must be taught to people, publicized, etc. Only then, once people are truly aware of what is going on, can a difference be made.

References

Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Repairing the relationship. (2010). Unequal Relations, 165-200.

Carlisle, R. (2015, March 17). Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q

Colonialism and Slavery notes, as provided by Maria-Teresa.

Tolmie, Jane, Week 9

Tolmie, Jane, Week 11, Monday Class

Aulette, Judy Root, and Judith G. Wittner. Gendered Worlds. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. 18-120. Print.

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3 thoughts on “How The Cookie Crumbles

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog. It is interesting how you didn’t just focus on gender inequality in your blog but incorporated race and class as well.
    However, I still don’t think this was the right way to solve the problem of gender inequality and the wage gap in our society. It was a good way to make aware of this discrimination placed in our society, but allowing the girls to pay less shows inequality as well and discrimination against men. If the point here is to minimize the wage gap and install equality of men and women in income, discriminating against males is almost like reverse gender inequality. There is still inequality. Instead maybe the prices should be the same to show the equality of both genders. I agree with your point about how colonialism may be the cause of the gender inequalities in the first place. Without the influence of a mainly patriarchal white male society, the differences between the genders may have been different. This inference of our Canadian history shows how the wage gap is not primarily based upon gender but also other factors such as race, class and education. The facts that you incorporated into your blog were fascinating and merely unbelievable. The fact that there is a 23% wage gap in remarkable, and it’s a disgrace how our society has allowed this inequality to become so big. I also enjoyed you little comic pictures you integrated into your blog. They were a little comic relief with a great point behind them. They were funny yet proved your point, it was a very smart decision to put these into your blog! You inputted a vaious array of lecture material, which was also interesting to read. Overall, you’re blog was very well written and made some excellent points.

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  2. Megan!

    I absolutely loved your post. You brought up an issue with this article that I had never even considered – THE COMMENT SECTION! This section is something I usually forget about in an every day setting due to the misogyny and other intersecting oppressions that I’d come across. However, for academic purposes, you’ve proven they are of great value. I will be sure to reference these in the future. Your use of the comments added a real-life, relatable aspect to this article/video. In the video, I found the news cast to be very ‘touched’. And what I mean by that, is that they were extremely cautious not to take a side on the issue at hand, and remained very ‘edited’ the entire time. The scripting was dry and concise as to not provoke any controversy. However, the freedom given in the comment section proves that the issue of the wage gap is more than just a few high school students selling cupcakes, and I believe you’ve made a great point about this. As always, it was a pleasure to read your writing. I hope you have an amazing summer 🙂

    Kate
    *~FUNKY PHOENIX 4 LYFE ~*

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  3. By reading your thoughtful post, I really find many aspects that I ignored when I am writing my blog because we are working on the same issue.
    I am surprised that you notice the importance of the comments under this news! You really make good use of them in writing your blog. It seems that there are noticeable differences between the comments from different groups of people (e.g. white male and white female). And it is from these comments that the power systems in society are clearly shown.
    I really appreciate how you use committing a crime as an example to indicate the racism among society. It strongly support you idea that white, able-bodied males are in positions of power, which is an important reason for their high wages.
    I agree that these students’ actions cannot cause significant changes, however, I believe their behaviors will arouse government’s attention in some degree because it seems such a hot issue in mass media.
    Amazing work Megan! I’ve learned a lot from your blogs this semester!

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