7 Easy Steps to End Gender Wage Gap

The Gender Wage Gap exists. Truly, it does. And you can’t just write it off (like Romney tried to) by saying women make different choices–they stay home with the kids and lose a few years of experience, or they drop out of school to start a family, or they take part time work so they can be home when school lets out. Economists have controlled for everything there is to control for–sex, age, education, majors, hours worked, full time or part time, experience, race–and women still come up about 77 cents to the dollar. (In Utah its 55 cents to the dollar. [But you know, all those wive’s incomes for one family really add up in Utah.]) So to fix this, here are 7 easy-peasy steps to end the wage gap and increase equality in the workforce.

1. End Salary Secrecy

Ever have a job where the boss tells you not to talk about your salary to other workers? Yeah, that’s because he doesn’t want you to find out that he’s paying you less than the dude next to you. If people can’t discuss what they’re paid, how will they ever know if they’re being cheated? It’s the perfect plan.

2. Raise Minimum Wage

2/3 of all people making minimum wage are female. [See Step 5]

3. Fix the Broken Career Pipeline

Get rid of the glass ceilings (women not being promoted), the glass elevators (men rocketing up the career pipeline when in a female-dominated occupation (teachers, nurses, caretakers, etc.), the sticky floors (keeping women on lower levels of jobs. Like the glass ceiling), and the glass cliff (if women do break through the glass ceiling and get promoted, that position is precarious. Such as the first pregnant women CEO–Marissa Mayer of Yahoo. Yahoo is failing, which is why she was promoted there).

4. Pass Family Leave Policies

Paid leave for things like maternity leave/paternity leave/family emergency leave

5. Increase Child Care Support

How can mothers both be in charge of the children and work all day long? It’s impossible! If only there was some sort of place that would care for other people’s kids during the day. You might even call it… Daycare! Problem is the average fee for full-time childcare for an infant exceeds 10,000 dollars a year in 16 states. The minimum wage right now of 7.25 an hour, for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year with no vacation equals 15,080 dollars a year. Do we see the problem in math here?  [See Step 2]

6. Encourage Unionization

Jobs that are unionized offer better pay, better benefits, generally more family leave policies, have more flexibility in schedules, paths to negotiate, etc. The United States today is becoming increasingly de-unionized.

7. End occupational segregation

Still today, in 2012, there is occupational segregation. Women are still teachers, nurses, caretakers, while men are doctors, lawyers, CEO’s, politicians, etc.

There you have it. 7 simple-as-pie steps to end the wage gap between men and women and increase equality and fairness for all in the 21st century. Let’s get cracking.

Pregnant Women’s Rights Taken? Feticide or Not?

A woman from Illinois, Bei Bei Shuai, left a note saying she was going to kill herself before taking a dose of rat poison. She’d just learned her boyfriend was married and leaving her–back to his wife and two kids. Bei Bei was pregnant at the time with his child.

The rat poison wasn’t enough to kill her. Later that day she drove to the hospital and was given an antidote. A week later, however, she had to have an emergency C-section. The doctors discovered her baby’s brain was bleeding, and it died a few days later.

A few weeks later, Bei Bei was formally charged with feticide (the act of killing a fetus). The question here is: if an expectant mother survives a suicide attempt but the baby doesn’t, is that murder?

The people who think no say the baby was born alive, Bei Bei had no intention of killing her baby, and suicide isn’t even illegal in Indiana.

The people who think yes say that in her suicide note, she clearly stated that she was going to kill her baby, along with herself, and that’s the smoking gun.

However, feticide laws were created to protect pregnant mothers against crime, not hold punishment against mothers themselves. Examples of this include a “chemical endangerment” law in Alabama, where over 60 mothers have been arrested for doing drugs while pregnant. And in Iowa, a woman was charged with attempted feticide because she fell down the stairs. (The initial police reports say she did it intentionally, which the woman denies.) Women’s advocates say there is an increasing trend of punishing expectant mothers for their behavior, and Bei Bei is the latest example.

Pregnant women are ending up victims of a law meant to protect them. Convicting Bei Bei (she awaits trial later this year) will set a dangerous precedent against pregnant women. Many worry that if a ruling like Bei Bei’s is upheld, pregnant women (fearful of being punished) will be more reluctant to seek help. Unless an expectant mother is perfect, it could make her a target.

The message to women is clear: you are criminally liable to the state for your conduct during pregnancy, even if you are mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or in the extreme psychological state in which people try to kill themselves after a terrible life-destroying blow. (Suicide by pregnant women is not rare: it’s in fact the fifth leading cause of death for them.)

During initial court proceedings, it looks that there is an overly reasonable amount of doubt as to whether the rat poison actually killed the baby. It could have been a drug known to cause brain bleeding given to Bei Bei at the hospital. It could have been something in the blood transfusion that affected the baby. The pathologist who performed the autopsy claimed there was no scientific evidence to support it was the rat poison, and she didn’t bother to check for other causes of death. But regardless of what actually did kill the child, the principle at stake here is how we treat expectant mothers.

For now, Bei Bei must wait for the courts to decide if she’s a murderer or the victim of depression paying the price for a desperate act.

What do Twilight and Star Wars have in Common?

So, for those of you who haven’t heard, Star Wars VII is a thing going on now. Let’s just do a quick recap of the happenings, shall we?

George Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney, who is making another trilogy of the series. It’s an all new plot line, I heard supposedly 200 years in the future, with new plot lines and characters and even new planets to explore. Episodes 7,8, and 9 were supposedly written when the other six movies  were written. It’s not coming out of the blue. Doesn’t sound too bad right? Well, that’s what I thought too. Until yesterday.

Now, in your general musings about the day, you might be wondering (along with how is a raven like a writing desk) what Twlight and Star Wars have in common. The quick answer is nothing. They have nothing in common.

You, sir, are wrong.

Robert Pattinson is the answer here. R-Patz, after just being released from the Twilight franchise, has signed on with Star Wars. Now, I’m no Twilight fan, but Robert isn’t that bad an actor. I’ve seen his other stuff. I think the whole constipated-high acting thing was designed specially for sparkly vampire man. But now, something’s gone too far. He’s signed onto Star Wars… to play to voice of Jar Jar Binks.

Jar Jar Binks.

What the hell?

How in the world does that make sense? We are keeping Jar Jar Binks? Damn you, Lucas for creating this monster! And now it’s continuing? Wait, wait, how can Jar Jar Binks be in the movies if they’re 200 years into the future? He wasn’t even around for 4, 5, & 6. Where is the timeline of the movie?

And that’s not all I’ve heard. Darth Vader may be coming back.

What?

Yeah.

Are you sure?

That’s what I’ve heard.

But… but he’s dead.

I know.

He died.

I know.

Luke burned his body, for Christ sake!

I know, I know, I don’t understand it either. Why, Disney, why are you doing this to us? What? Did his magical suit somehow protect him from the flames and then bring him back from the grave? Or are these new movies somehow interjected in the period between when Luke was growing up and Vader ruled? Or… Or are you just insane?? Gah!

Oh no, don’t tell me, more information? Alright, bring it on.

The movies might feature Luke, Leia, Han, and Lando. I don’t understand how that’s going to work either, unless you have a time machine. Or they’re all really old, in which case, no. No. *Flips table*

I’m just going to treat this as if it were the apocalypse and prepare for the very, very worst. I’m going to crawl into my bunker, lock the door, and watch the good Star Wars movies with my space blanket and canned food. Hold onto your butts, because this one looks like it’s going to be a doozy.

Mike and Ike…. are gay?


Mike and Ikes. Wonderful candy. Wonderful people, too. I remember when I first met Mike. I thought he was a little weird at first. You know, twitchy. He used to always have one earbud in when he spoke to you, like he superglued it there or something. Well, actually one time it was superglued. Ike pranked him. It was great. The earbud was stuck for a week. He couldn’t take showers, so then one time when he was…. Well, he made me promise never to tell that story. Alright, you talked me into it. One time when Mike was taking a bath, Ike unlocked the bathroom door, ran in, and squirted red dye into the water. Mike didn’t see or hear it coming. He was listening to the music through the attached earbud. I swear to you, for the next three days from the chest down, Mike looked like an oompa loompa. What was even more funny was he was singing to the song he was listening to, and I’m pretty sure it was Beyonce. But don’t tell him I told you.

Ike on the other hand, man is he a pistol. He’s like a chipmunk on coffee. He’s like a ferret on speed! The boy never sits down. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sit down and eat a meal. And he’s always scribbling on things. On napkins, on the tablecloth, on his jeans, on his bedsheets in the middle of the night, on the freaking walls! The whole outside of his house is covered in graffiti. His graffiti. Ike loves to keep colored sharpies in his pockets at all times in case he gets that itching to tag my curtains with another one of his designs. (I don’t mind really, they actually look better that way. I just would have appreciated it if he asked beforehand. Or had done it while I was home.)

When I heard about them breaking up though, I… I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t understand. They seemed perfect for each other, you know? They were meant to be together. Like Simon and Garfunkel, or Jack Skellington and Sally, or Garfield and lasagna! Mike would mellow Ike out so he could actually be functional in society, and Ike made Mike laugh, and smile, and gave him something to watch over. I’m still in shock over it. I didn’t see it coming.

One of my friends said that they wouldn’t get back together until Marriage Equality is federally recognized, but I’m not so sure if that’s true.

But for whatever reason, I just hope that someday, soon hopefully, they can sit down and talk, and really listen to each other, and work out the issues. I’m not going to say if I’m on Team Mike or Team Ike, because they shouldn’t be separated. They can’t be! I know everything will work out right. They just need a little perspective, you’ll see. Before you know it, we’ll be strolling down the riverbank arm-in-arm like old times. I just…. I just have to st-stay positive about these things.

Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s not about gay marriage. It’s just a marketing ploy that will end sometime next year when they break up “forever” or are happily reunited (whatever that means). It’s a cute idea, but I was not at all intrigued until I heard the marriage equality thing, and then i was really intrigued… and then was really disappointed.

What do Lady Gaga and the Hunger Games have in Common?

What do Lady Gaga and the Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence have in common? Good question. They’ve both been in the news, not for what they do, but for how much they weigh. Oh unknowable universe, what will you come up with next?Lady Gaga gains weight

In case you haven’t heard, and this news made headlines by the way, Lady Gaga has gained weight. Yes, that news made headlines.
She’s gained about thirty pounds, and she has no intention of losing the weight. [Fuck yeah.] She’s going to dress the same and do all the crazy weird meat-related things she’s always done, but just going to do it with a different figure. And, depressingly unsurprising, she has been criticized for gaining a few extra pounds, but in the way of Lady Gaga, she doesn’t give a shit. Her words: “I don’t feel bad about it.”

And she shouldn’t.

In case you didn’t know, Lady Gaga was once a child. A very voluptuous Italian child. She used to make herself throw up because she thought she was ugly because she wasn’t breath-thin. Now, I think she intentionally gained weight (at least in part. I read in an interview that she talked to her
 image consultant or some other big wig about discussing her look change) to give girls a role model to look up to that wasn’t as thin as the legs of a giraffe [not that Lady Gaga is necessarily the best role model for young girls, but inevitably she is so let’s look on the bright side]. Which is awesome. How many stars out there diet and exercise and diet and exercise to look thin and beautiful? A whole damn lot. Thank god someone is taking a stand. It’s a damn brave thing to do, because people are going to be spitting fire. Actually, they are already.

On a similar note, Jennifer Lawrence is refusing to diet for her roll of Katniss. Some critics have said that she should be a lot skinnier if she’s supposed to be a starving girl. This follows that standard in Hollywood that people need to suffer and change their appearance for a roll. Like Natalie Portman, who was praised for dropping 20 or so pounds for her movie The Black Swan; or Danny Devito who gained 60 lbs for a roll. Or Rene Zellweger who had to gain weight for Bridget Jones Diary, and then had to loose it for other roles.

Lawrence said that she was very aware of how she looked for Katniss, and she was focusing on being fit and healthy rather than skinny Jennifer Lawrenceand malnourished. I’ve been on a few online forums looking at this stuff, and what I keep running into is that people think she’s crazy beautiful, which she is. But I kept finding comments somewhere along the lines of “She’s really hot, so it’s okay she’s not super skinny” over and over again, and it pissed me off. There are a whole lot of assumptions to be made based on that one comment. It’s okay not to be skinny if you’re beautiful; or she’s beautiful despite the fact she’s not underweight; or maybe if she hadn’t been crazy beautiful, their comment would change to Yeah, she should have been skinnier if she was a starving girl.

(By the way, Katniss was not a starving girl, despite living in a starving town. In the books, Katniss was a serious hunter. Her family ate better than most of the families in District 7 because she was always bringing home food for them. She wasn’t starving, she shouldn’t be thin, people don’t know what they’re talking about. How in the world could she have won The Hunger Games if she was thin, frail, and weak?)

But both these stories about Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lawrence… are they really news worthy? Apparently so, because they are. Because people search these kind of things out and read about it. Why does this matter so much? I think it’s sad that there are news articles about these women’s weight. Choosing not to diet is newsworthy. Gaining a little weight makes headlines. Is this or is this not kind of fucked up? I’m not talking about journalists and news sites doing a really bang up job of bringing the public important news; it’s this standard of beauty, this pressure on women, to be beautiful and thin in the media. I always hear about the pressure the media puts on women… it’s right here! We’re still doing it.

We hear about Lady Gaga gaining weight, and not about some one like let’s say Adele, because Lady Gaga is a sex symbol, and her gaining this weight is contrary to the popular public belief of what beauty and sex is.

We hear about Jennifer refusing to diet because she’s a famous woman and famous women have a long line of history of being thin and
gorgeous; of being anorexic and bulimic; of popping pills and getting plastic surgery done to be plump and symmetrical; of being the most beautiful people on earth. And hearing a celebrity is on a diet is not something that the public shakes their head at and says “She’s already beautiful. She should just love herself for who she is.” No, we instead go “Yeah, good for her, losing some weight,” or “What diet did she use? I want to try it too.”

These famous people, the people flooding the media, are invariably and unfortunately the people that we as a whole try to model ourselves against (probably more so children and teens than anyone else). The more people we have coming out and not only saying love yourself for who you are, but actually doing that, the better off we’ll be I think. That message will start to seep into the younger generations. They’ll take it seriously because a celebrity said it instead of their moms.

Hm, I wonder if I’ve gotten a smidgen off point here? Oh well. Let’s bring it back. Anyone who thinks it is their business to tell these women how they should and should not look can go fuck themselves. There, that seemed to wrap it up nicely.

Is Pink Really a Girl Color?

I Google Imaged “pink” just to see what I’d get. The first picture?


I can’t say I’m disappointed. I am a huge fan of P!nk, but that wasn’t quite what I was going for.

So I switched over to just regular Google. The first two links were for Victoria Secret something-or-other, and then P!nk, the singer.

Then I Googled “color pink” and these are my results:
 
 

I was thinking about this because as I sat on my bed I noticed that there is a lot of pink on it. Pink bedspread complete with pictures of sparkling pink diamonds, a pink Hello Kitty sheet, and then a pink blanket on top. (Yes, I’m in college. The sheet and bedspread are from my little sister. Her bed was roughly the size of my dorm bed so we used these sheets, and my Grandma made the blanket.) I looked at it and thought to myself, What a girly bed. If a random person was to walk into my room, without knowing who lived there, the only reason they would think a girl lived there was from the pink bed. Everything else is Nightmare Before Christmas, Firefly, books, and pirates (Why hello, Johnny Depp. You’re looking quite well this evening). Well, maybe they could tell by how many bottles of shampoo I have. man alive, I have a few.

Now, why is pink a girl color? It just is, right? It’s only natural to see pink and think: girl! Why is that? Oh, right. I remember. It’s because when we’re born, girls are born in pink and boys are born in blue. No… wait. We wrap girls and pink, and boys in blue. Then maybe it’s because all girls like to play with pink toys, and all boys like to play with blue toys! No, no, that’s not right either. We make girl toys pink and boy toys blue. (And then we separate the toys into princess and superhero.)

Then how come pink? Well, I did a little bit of research trying to figure this out. Apparently, it’s been argued that way back in ancient times, when humans were hunters and gatherers, women were attracted to the red berries, and that sort of reddish tone became associated with women. Whereas men were associated with blue because they were always watching the sky for the weather; good weather, good hunt, or something like that. It’s also been suggested that women prefer pink because of the red tones, which women can see better because our sex chromosomes apparently affects our eyesight.

None of this is true. I already know why. It’s the market. Pink isn’t natural to girls just as blue isn’t natural to boys. We’ve just created it that way, and then we replicate it , over and over again buying pink dresses and hats for our little girls, because it seems “natural” to us. In fact, it’s not. In the early twentieth century, boys wore pink and red while girls were dressed in blue. (They thought that since pink was the stronger color, it was more suited for boys. And blue was a more delicate color, meant for girls.) And now for some reason they’ve switched.

Which is why I think it’s so hilarious when I get these “real men wear pink” things. As if a color could somehow negate your testosterone. This Real Men Wear Pink is a struggle not for manhood, not even from gender roles, but basically from the media and the market. The market has decided that pink is for girls, and we abide by this idea. We’re fighting ourselves. Ourselves, I say!

The market–Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Kohls–has a sort of control over our lives. It affects us. We can see it in the clothes we wear, in the goods we buy, in the things we use. Remember back at the beginning when I mentioned all my shampoo? Why is that a girl thing? Because women are expected to have nice hair. Shiny hair. Bouncy hair. It’s supposed to smell good and look great, and when we tie it in knots it should hold strong. How many shampoo or conditioner commercials do we see a day? How many of those hair commercials are for women? Most of them. I’ve seen a few for men, but only a few.

What needs to change is not the markets, however. Because the markets are dependent upon something: us. For the markets to change, our attitude has to change. Pink was for boys, so the market sold pink boy shirts. Then, pink was for girls, so the market changed. Now I’m seeing more and more guys wear pink, and the stores are selling more pink boy shirts once more. Gone are the days when pink was only, just for, and specifically for girls. To change the world, we much only change ourselves, and the world will follow.

Maine and Maryland Come Out!

More cool-ass news, guys! Maine and Maryland have come out! By popular vote, no less. The public majority of both states recently (like, three days ago) voted to have Marriage Equality.

Dude, that’s fucking cool.

Tolerance and Acceptance strikes again!

I’ll have to add Maine and Maryland to my Marriage Equality States song (stolen from Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s Tie the Knot organization. Don’t know about it? Like bow ties? Click herehttp://www.tietheknot.org/) Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts  New Hampshire, New York, Vermont… Washington D.C., and now Maine and Maryland. Now, just imagine that, but in song.

A Marriage Equality Act is also expected to pass in Washington, too. And an anti- same sex marriage proposal in Minnesota is expected to fail. The gays are taking America by storm! Soon we’ll all be fabulous, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.