Patriarchy, The Wage Gap, And Other Feminist Lies

Patriarchy, The Wage Gap, And Other Feminist Lies

Don't let the comments fool you.

I often hear devout feminists scream incessantly about how our culture is an oppressive patriarchal structure, a system of domination by which the wealthy, white, male ruling class has authority over everyone else.

However, much of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here, I examine some of the most popular feminist claims, which are pointed to as proof that we live in a society that privileges masculinity over femininity.

Deconstructing the claims

Evidence of patriarchy comes in various forms, but feminists often point to statistics like the wage gap as proof that our society unfairly benefits men at the expense of women. This is a good place to start. Firstly, we need to understand where that statistic comes from, and what it actually “proves” – or rather, disproves.

In 2015, women earned 83% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time U.S. workers.

Is this proof that we live in an oppressive and unfair system that perpetually discriminated against women? Well, no. There is undoubtedly, a wage gap, insofar as the median earnings of men and women differ; but the claim disregards factors that make simple comparison less straightforward.

For starters, the pay gap statistic simply reflects the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. In the very same Pew Research Study, if you read past the headline, you’ll find that when age was taken into consideration, women between the ages of 25 to 34 earned 90 cents for every dollar a man in the same age group earned.

Further, the deceiving statistic also does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. In a 2013 study (also conducted by Pew) women were more likely to say they had taken breaks from their careers to care for their family. These types of interruptions can have an impact on long-term earnings. Roughly four-in-ten mothers said that at some point in their work life they had taken a significant amount of time off (39%) or reduced their work hours (42%) to care for a child or other family member. Roughly a quarter (27%) said they had quit work altogether to take care of these familial responsibilities. Fewer men said the same. For example, just 24% of fathers said they had taken a significant amount of time off to care for a child or other family member.

When all these relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents. And no one knows if the five cents is a result of discrimination or some other subtle, hard-to-measure difference between male and female workers.

Now, a feminist might argue that the reason women take more time off from work than men is because societal expectations, normalized by patriarchy, “pigeonhole” women being into lower paying “pink-collar” jobs in health and education. According to NOW, powerful sexist stereotypes “steer” women and men “toward different education, training, and career paths.”

Well, let’s take this claim seriously. Consider, for example, how men and women differ in their college majors. Here is a list of the ten most remunerative majors compiled by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Men overwhelmingly outnumber women in all but one of them:

  • Petroleum Engineering: 87% male
  • Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration: 48% male
  • Mathematics and Computer Science: 67% male
  • Aerospace Engineering: 88% male
  • Chemical Engineering: 72% male
  • Electrical Engineering: 89% male
  • Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering: 97% male
  • Mechanical Engineering: 90% male
  • Metallurgical Engineering: 83% male
  • Mining and Mineral Engineering: 90% male

And here are the 10 least remunerative majors—where women prevail in nine out of ten:

  • Counseling Psychology: 74% female
  • Early Childhood Education: 97% female
  • Theology and Religious Vocations: 34% female
  • Human Services and Community Organization: 81% female
  • Social Work: 88% female
  • Drama and Theater Arts: 60% female
  • Studio Arts: 66% female
  • Communication Disorders Sciences and Services: 94% female
  • Visual and Performing Arts: 77% female
  • Health and Medical Preparatory Programs: 55% female

It’s apparent that men are overrepresented in STEM fields, while women are overrepresented in ‘caring’ professions, which typically pay less than STEM jobs. Is this evidence for the claim that patriarchy pressures women to pursue less lucrative careers? Well again, no.

A multi-national study, conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri, examined the claim that women are “pigeonholed” by patriarchal societies to pursue “pink-collar” careers; and they found that countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion of women taking degrees in STEM fields. Interestingly enough, countries such as Albania and Algeria have a greater percentage of women amongst their STEM graduates than countries lauded for their high levels of gender equality, such as Finland, Norway, and Sweden. This research has been dubbed “the gender paradox,” for good reason – consider for a moment that there are two reasons men and women differ: nature and nurture. If the popular feminist claim that men and women are exactly the same in all aspects of their being were true, you'd think that flattening out the socio-economic environment would make the differences between the sexes would disappear. However, paradoxically enough, the opposite happens – when you remove environmental factors, the biological differences are allowed to maximize.

Furthermore, for the past few decades, untold millions of state and federal dollars have been devoted to recruiting young women into engineering and computer technology. Yet, the efforts have not yielded the results they intended. The percent of degrees awarded to women in fields like computer science and engineering has either stagnated or significantly decreased since 2000. (According to Department of Education data, in 2000, women earned 19 percent of engineering BA’s, and 28 percent in computer science; by 2011, only 17 percent of engineering degrees were awarded to females, and the percent of female computer science degrees had dropped to 18.)

This evidence suggests that though young women have the talent for engineering and computer science, their interest tends to lie elsewhere. Women, far more than men, appear to be drawn to jobs in the caring professions; and men are more likely to turn up in people-free zones.

Is this a bad thing? Of course not.

In the pursuit of happiness, men and women appear to take different paths. To say that these women remain helplessly in thrall to sexist stereotypes, and manipulated into life choices by forces beyond their control, is divorced from reality—and demeaning to boot. If a woman wants to be a teacher rather than a miner, or a veterinarian rather than a petroleum engineer, more power to her.

Some other evidence to consider for all of the feminists out there:

Women are attending college at higher rates than men

This fall, women will comprise more than 56 percent of students on campuses nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Some 2.2 million fewer men than women will be enrolled in college this year. And the trend shows no sign of abating. By 2026, the department estimates, 57 percent of college students will be women.

Black & white women raised in similar environments have similar income levels

A recent study published by the New York Times has help lay waste to the popular feminist claim that women are unfairly disadvantaged by the current socio-economic structure. The study, led by researchers at Stanford, Harvard, and the Census Bureau, found that although black men earn less than white men raised in similar environments, black and white girls from families with comparable earnings attain similar individual incomes as adults. The fundamental claim of the intersectional theorists, that women are among the “oppressed classes of people” in Western societies, is mere rhetoric.

Suicide rates are far higher for men

You might think, if Western society was the oppressive patriarchal institution feminist’s claim it is, surely suicide figures would show women give up on life more often than men. But that's simply not the case. In the US, of the 38,000 people who took their own lives in 2010, 79% were men.

Does all of this 'prove' definitively that we live in a perfectly gender-equal society? Of course not. But the bogeyman that feminists blame for women's problems or under-achievements simply doesn't exist - at least not to the degree they claim.

Seeing as women are free to pursue any career they want, own any property they wish, attend any college they desire, are owning businesses and running corporations, actively involved in political power, engineering and science, are protected from discrimination by law and are openly praised for all this to cloying degree... We are NOT living under patriarchy and have not been for some time.

Cover Image Credit: The Guardian

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.


I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?


This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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