How myths about the differences between men and women hurt both sexes…
By: Hayden Cunningham
What do we mean by gender equality? Men and women are inherently different and always will be. Men and women have the same rights protected under law. If the means to achieve a certain “gender equality” involves an attack on any group of people, that’s a problem. Modern feminism seems to have taken a step away from seeking “equality” and has become an attack on men.
My last article discussed how politics has a nasty tactic of labeling someone who disagrees with you a certain “-ism” or “-phobia.” The fear of having one of these titles added to your name can be pretty effective in silencing someone or getting them to think like you do. In this article, we will discuss alleged sexism, and how some statistics may make you realize that society is a lot different than you’ve heard.
Here are some of the most common arguments for how men and women are not equal, followed by statistics to shed light on what is true.
The gender wage gap
In 2019, women made 0.79 cents for every dollar men made. This statement is true. But to say that it is due to sex alone is wrong.
To start, it is illegal for a company to discriminate with pay between a man and a woman. There are many reasons women make less money, on average, then men. Most of these reasons have to do with a difference of choices in their personal lives.
Psychologists have attributed this difference in desired occupation as a biological difference in men and women. Another biological difference is the character trait of agreeableness. If two people are working at a company and one is more agreeable than the other, the more agreeable person is more likely to be paid less. For example, A less agreeable person is more likely to fight for a pay raise. On average, women tend to be more agreeable (and less confrontational) than men. Now some women are more agreeable than men, and some women get paid more than men. Some men can also be too disagreeable, causing them to lose their jobs or hopes of a promotion.
A choice in occupation can have a huge effect on the outcome of pay for men and women. Women tend to dominate in studies that are more prone to have human interaction: nursing, social work, teaching. Men tend to dominate in studies that are more analytical or require using your hands with objects: mechanical engineering, economics, computer science.
A nursing career has a salary range of $47,000 – $90,000. 97% of nurses are women. A mechanical engineer career has a salary range of $52,000 – $101,000. 88% of mechanical engineers are men (that doesn’t mean that that women are not successful in the occupations that they dominate, because they are). Pay by occupation is determined by the markets. So no, these careers do not have a higher salary because they are male dominated. Men do not dominate the markets. In fact, women make up 80% of all consumer decisions.
Countless studies have continually debunked this claim and have shown that it does not mean what people think it means.
Gender quotas in corporations
In 2018, there were only 24 female CEO’s of all the fortune 500 companies. Many politicians have suggested a gender-quota for corporations, similar to what is done in the Scandinavian countries. But I ask this simple question? Hypothetically speaking, how much of a factor could it be that there are less women who want to be CEO’s than men? My point is that the two sexes (yes ‘two’) make different choices throughout their careers. Sexism alone is not a good enough reason to answer why we have these disparities.
Becoming a leader of a company is a very competitive process of climbing a hierarchy ladder over a period of time. Men, on average, tend to be more competitive than women. Women are less likely to choose longer work hours. This is arguably the biggest requirement to gain a higher position in a company.
Besides these facts, can’t we agree as a society that quotas are wrong? A person should not more qualified for a job because of their gender, race, or sexual orientation. The person who should get a job should be the one who is best-suited for it. If that means there is an office that happens to be all women, or an office that happens to be all men, then so be it.
The Patriarchy and “male privilege”
Our social hierarchy is fundamentally masculine. That does not mean that we live in a society of male dominance. Understand these facts: most people in prison are men, most homeless people are men, more men are robbed than women, most victims of violent crime are men, most suicides are performed by men, most deaths from a more risky occupation are men, most people who die in wars are men, women succeed more in school than men, a higher percentage of women graduate college than men, men pay more for car insurance than women, and nearly all custody battles for a child are won by women, not men.
So where exactly is the male privilege? You cannot use examples of men who are overly successful in their careers and claim that the entire structure of our society is male dominated. I don’t even think there’s enough truth to the claim that more women have been oppressed historically then men. So to look at history as a continual oppression of women by men is false. These states aren’t stated to imply men have it worse in the country. The point is that bad things happen to everyone regardless of their physical attributes. There may be forms of harassment that are more common against women than men, but that does not mean we (Americans) live in a male patriarchy where men have more power than women. These hierarchies are based off competence, not power or sex.
There are no rights in 2020 America that are given to men and not to women. I think that is something we can all agree on. No, abortion (the murdering of an unborn baby) does not count. Interesting though that there is a law that forces a man to do something with his body that a woman does not have to do: sign up for the draft on his 18th birthday.
Sexual harassment and the “me too” movement
Those who agree that laws make men and women equal may point to social safety that is presumed to benefit men and not women. For example, a guy may feel more safe walking down the street at night than a women would. This is obviously a physical advantage rather than an advantage based on sex. But this is anecdotal, as there are plenty of large women who would feel more comfortable walking at night than short and skinny men. Also depending on the neighborhood, a man feeling safe walking down the street may be stupid for assuming his safety. Remember the statistic mentioned earlier that men are the overwhelming majority of victims of the violent crime and abuse. That’s not privilege. So it’s less obvious that there is one sex asserting dominance over the other.
The studies that claim that “1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted in college” or “1 in 3 women are sexually harassed” are false. There is no evidence that there is a “rape culture” in America or on college campuses. The Campus sexual Assault (CSA) study, for example, uses misleading tactics to achieve their desired conclusion. The survey was anonymous, did not require verification of claims, and did not fully define what “sexual harassment,” “rape,” or other terms meant. Then, the authors of the study determined who were victims and who weren’t. Their conclusion was the one-in-five statistic. The creators of the study have since come out and asked for the study to not be used in these claims, as it is misleading. Numerous studies similar to this one have been debunked as well.
The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics concludes with their data of reported cases that 1 in every 52.6 college women will be victims of sexual assault or rape while in college. FBI statistics of 2012 show that an estimate of total forcible rapes for women was 52.9 per 100,000 females. This is about 1 in every 1,900 women, and 1 for every 1,000 college women. One victim is too many, and women should not disregard the concern of this happening to them, but that number is not nearly as much as one-in-five.
It is also worth noting that each year in the United States, more men are raped then women. This statistic is shown when you include the prison statistics of sexual assault with public statistics. Yes, that crime is men-on-men, as opposed to the majority of cases outside prison that are men-on-women. But that further proves the point that men are victims of violent crime more than women. This statistic is also important when you add the fact that men are more likely to face more severe charges for the same crime, and are sent to prison for a longer time than women. So again I ask where the male privilege is?
Men do not get away with rape. Sexual assault is not tolerated nor encouraged in our society. When there is evident proof that a man raped a woman, that man faces charges. I do think one thing should change in the charges: every person convicted of rape should serve a life-sentence. Women who are victims of these horrible acts have an obligation to speak out and tell people what happened. No victim should stay quiet, as that could encourage the suspect to do it to another person.
Contrary to the beliefs of the “me too movement,” we can’t believe all women. We should believe all women who are telling the truth. And how do we do that? In a court of law. As stated time and time again on this site, anecdotal data is not enough to prove there is a problem, and it is not enough to prove that there is a cultural problem with sexual harassment. You need empirical data to prove it is a large issue. You need empirical evidence to prove any allegation (perfect example: Brett Kavanaugh). I sympathize so much with people who have experienced these horrific events, and I understand the anger and frustration in this argument. We all have different bad life experiences at one point or another. But keep in mind that statistics and evidence will show us what is happening on a large scale, not personal experiences. These experiences are not enough to support a claim that there is a broad issue. And while some cases may be true but do not have enough evidence to convict the suspect, unfortunately we cannot have the suspect face charges. We cannot run our legal system that way. It is a sad truth of the matter.
In no way should we blame the victims for what happened to them. However, explaining that some actions by a victim made it more likely for that event to unfold. This does not justify the actions of the perpetrator. Sexual assault is also tricky to define. An encounter you consented to but later regretted is not sexual assault. An encounter where both parties were drunk can also be a tricky. There should not be people committing these types of crimes (or any crimes), but there are certainly actions you can take to further protect yourself.
The best way for women to overcome the physical differences between them and men is to own a firearm. There’s a reason that a firearm is called “the great equalizer.” Exercising your second amendment right gives you a level playing field if you are in a position where you need to physically defend yourself. And no, women shouldn’t have to carry a gun to defend themselves from people who seek to hurt them. Neither should men. But unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect society.
How do you think young men will succeed in a society where they are told that they are part of a group that oppresses women? How do you think young women will succeed in a society where they are told they have to constantly fear for their safety, and that they will be pushed down because of their gender?
All of this has lead to a blurring of the line between boys and girls. For example, The Boy Scouts of America that was founded over 100 years ago announced it was changing its organization to simply “Scouts of America.” The organization will include both young men and young women. Then the organization filed for bankruptcy. Why is having an organization that teaches boys to become respectable, decent men a bad thing? Women want husbands, fathers, and sons who can be strong, defend their families, have manners, and be respectful. Why can’t boys have a place alone to be taught that?
Yes our society has flaws. But modern western society is the least tyrannical society in history. Stop reflecting on what barriers were in the past for women because times have changed. And society has nowhere to go but up. This isn’t the Handmaiden’s Tale; we are not going to re-enter a society of legal discrimination based on sex. There is not systemic oppression towards women.
Like race relations, when we see a situation that is bad let us all come together to condemn it. When a women faces some sort of abuse or oppression, society needs to agree that it was wrong and justice should be served. The same is for men. But it’s a dangerous game to try and convince an entire group of people that they are victims, especially when you misread history. We live in an imperfect society, but we also live in the best society in history. Some people live in great conditions and have good life experiences, and some people don’t. Can’t we all agree that overall, when compared to history and the rest of the world, we got it pretty good but there’s just a couple of problems here and there that we can fix?
For a political party to convince you that you need saving, they must first make you feel like a victim. They will put you in a group, then tell you that as a member of that specific group you are a victim. As I have proven, claims can be misleading. Even studies can be misleading and biased. Prepare yourself for those threats that are out there (most effectively would be a firearm). Make smart decisions. Prioritize individual-thought and critical thinking over a desire to associate yourself with a group. That is the greatest fear of those who really want to control you.