I watched a comedian argue that women should be paid less than men because men have to spend their money buying women drinks. Personally, I did not find this very funny. And I know here is where people tell me I need to learn how to take a joke and that obviously this is not something meant to be taken seriously, but I didn't laugh. Because I've heard all the arguments.
I know the inadequacies of the calculation of the wage gap, even the ones that aren't about the fact that 78 cents on the dollar is only applicable to white women. I have heard that women getting paid less than men for the same work has to do with commitment, not gender. I have heard the excuse that women leaving for maternity leave are the cause of these inequities. While I realize most people don't mean to or don't regard this as a way to speak about sexism, I want to tell them about the immense societal pressure women face to have children in order to feel fulfilled. I see women having to choose between career and family in a way that men do not have to do and then get paid less when they try to do both. I see it as an indefensible injustice. Women are kept out of high power positions by social constraints and the idea that femininity and control are mutually exclusive. Women are called 'bitch' instead of 'boss' and face sexual harassment in the workplace.
Not to mention the pink tax that increases the price for exclusively female products and the luxury tax on feminine hygiene products. Birth control is unavailable and unaffordable.
So I don't want to laugh when the comedian tells his audience economically men have it rough. I don't find it funny when a man's ability to get a date is more important than a woman's ability to feel safe and valued in the workplace, or her reproductive health. I want women to feel at home in whatever field they choose to pursue. I don't think that's a lot to ask. I'm angry this is something that is either reduced to a joke or elevated into a political debate that makes women into fragile beings incapable of both supporting and raising a family.
So let me just say that despite the fact that having a vagina costs more money and that being a woman (with or without a vagina for that matter) means we get paid less, it also carries with it a strength that I wouldn't trade.