Is the Wage Gap Even Real?

Women argue with me every time I suggest that the pervasive statistics on the wage gap are wrong. They cite personal examples and refuse to grant credence to my ideas. But now, thanks to this 5 minute video, I know for a fact that the traditional idea of women making 77 cents to every dollar a man makes is wrong – when other factors are considered, that gap is reduced from 23 cents to about 6 cents.

But that 23 cents didn’t come out of thin air – it’s calculated by dividing the median wages of all women working full time by the median wages of all men working full time. As the video I linked above shows, this doesn’t take into account other important factors, chief among them the often underrated and entirely unpaid choice to birth children. But the primary culprit is job choice. More women are teachers. More men are aerospace engineers. More women are social workers, and more men are investment bankers.

Women tend to choose paths of connection and health, while men chase money and power. And which of these does our society value more?

You don’t need to be a statistician to know that we live in a society valuing competition over connection, infrastructure over mental health, technology over education, and money over connection.

So it’s no surprise that most of the jobs that require intense masculine yang energy are higher paying than those that require soft feminine yin energy.

So, ladies and gents, when you bring up the wage gap, please change your language. Yes, patriarchy is a real thing, but it’s not perpetuated by companies choosing to pay men more than they pay women. It’s far more systemic than that, and reducing it to physical gender misses the point entirely. It’s a preference for masculine energy over feminine, a valuing of intensity over ease, power over empathy.

Let’s keep using that 77 cents on the dollar statistic. But take sex out of the equation and start talking about masculine and feminine. About the fact that our society pays engineers and lawyers and investment bankers hundreds of thousands more than teachers and social workers and counselors. And maybe we’ll start making progress.

Peace, Love, and Namaste –

signature

In Celebration of Women

Aren’t we lucky, getting a whole day to celebrate our sex? Personally, I take it further – it’s become a lifestyle. I grew up resisting it, seeing femininity as a weakness, an excuse to be emotionally unstable and manipulative, a made-up façade under which brains were supposed to atrophy, a body and soul with no purpose past the functional roles of briefly being sexy and then bearing and raising children.

I grew up wearing my older brother’s hand-me-down basketball shorts and t-shirts, running around outside, reading books, and acing timed math tests –

boyish little girl

One Halloween I was a twerk queen…

#TBT halloween twerking little girl

…and the next I was a football player –

little girl halloween football player

While I’ve always loved style and dance, my preferences for intellectual conversations and theological debates followed me throughout adolescence, leading to taunts of lesbianism (at a time when I was fully in denial of existing as a sexual being – straight or otherwise) and honest thoughts of changing my gender. Because men have it easier. They get to be smart and funny and ugly and still respected, considered successful. But women – women only have to be beautiful, women can only be doted on and adored. I decided I was too short to become male and that, for me, it wasn’t worth the process of switching over, and now – well, now I am a woman. And now I absolutely respect and adore that.

let's be feminists beautiful blog woman

But this did not happen overnight. Before I could ever celebrate my femininity, I had to understand it. So I studied, spent years exploring and trying on different forms, trying to understand what this was. And I learned that Western culture has a very limited understanding of it.

Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate those who identify as women. Feminism is more than this – it is a celebration of the feminine. Man or woman or gender neutral, every single one of us has feminine energies and qualities. Maybe you don’t like that we use this word, indicative of our society’s binary idea of gender, to describe intuition, sensitivity, beauty, and other lighter energies, but let’s take one step at a time. For now, this is how people understand it, and it makes the most sense to use it.

Feminism got lost when women tried to be men, just like patriarchy became toxic when men denied their feminine qualities. We need balance – all of us. Men focused on brute force and power, and more recently, women have embraced our masculine energies, focusing on gaining access to the boys’ club that was politics and business and science and philosophy and – practically everything. Now men stay at home to raise children and women, too, are finding our way to this balance. We’ve gained access – women are CEOs, we are philosophers, we are engineers, we are mathematicians. We wear pants suits and we cut off all our hair and we are powerful. But let’s not forget our sensitivity, our beauty.

Let’s relish in our ability to wear dresses and lipstick, let’s lean in to our femininity in order to actualize ourselves – societally and personally. And – what  I love most about this – is that it’s inclusive. Everyone has a feminine side, everyone can embrace emotion because we all have it. Everyone can be beautiful, and sensitive, and sweet – these are not weak. It takes strength to feel. It takes courage to be sensitive and kind and caring, bravery to be beautiful and fragile. Men, women, everyone – we are fragile, we are lovely, we are gracious – we are feminine. This is feminism. This is what I celebrate. So today, on this day for women, and on every subsequent day, let’s celebrate the women in our lives and the feminine energies within us. Let’s all be feminists.

feminism is for everyone #internationalwomensday

Love, calm, & care –

signature