Wednesday, 19 February 2014 17:00

The War on Men’s Wages

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A market economy is absolutely the worst system in the world — except for all the rest. This isn’t just a play on Winston Churchill’s quip about democracy, it’s also true. Pity that we have to rely on those vice-ridden, flighty creatures called human beings to make decisions about what products and services we’ll enjoy. The only thing worse is having those decisions made by the subset of human beings called bureaucrats or politicians.

“Study: Hollywood execs have own 'war on women,' choking off major roles, salary from women,” reads the headline at Washington Examiner. At issue is a new report by the Women’s Media Center (WMC) — arch-feminista Gloria Steinem’s group — showing that in terms of warm-body count and amount of cold cash, women lag behind men in all corners of media and entertainment. We’re to find these data troubling and, as Time magazine wrote in a headline, “depressing.” In perhaps some comic relief, Time followed that note with the subtitle, “Jennifer Lawrence makes $11 million less than Adam Sandler.” Yeah, hey, pass the Prozac.

I don’t know, is it depressing that men do more dangerous jobs and suffer vastly more work-related injuries and deaths? Is it depressing that the whole workaday world, so unjustly dominated by men, was created by them in the first place? Is every difference among demographics that doesn’t happen to benefit “victim” groups to be thought depressing?

What’s really depressing is that this wage-gap wailing is part of an effort to destroy the market.

All the more alarming is that, instead of refuting the propaganda, conservatives have been all too happy to pile on to score political points. We saw this with recent reports on the intersex wage gap in the Obama White House, and now we’re seeing it again when the issue is the liberal bastions of media and entertainment. And, hey, they deserve to take it on the chin — but the truth doesn’t.

As to this, the Washington Examiner wrote,

Women represented just 28.8 percent of speaking characters in the top grossing films of 2012, had just 16 percent of the top executive movie jobs in 2013, and of the 16 biggest paychecks for actors per film, not one went to a female actress.

The top earning actress, Angelina Jolie, earned $33 million, roughly the same amount as the two lowest-ranked men on that list provided by the New York Film Academy. It also quoted a 2013 Forbes ranking that showed the top 10 actresses making a collective $181 million versus $465 million for the top 10 men, or about 39 percent what the guys took home.

Wow, talk about broken champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

The operative term here is “top grossing.” Since these films satisfy the market more than other movies, people, presumably, prefer films dominated by male characters. In this vein, do you really think Hollywood pays male actors more out of some old-boy-club allegiance? Nothing would please producers more than equalizing the sexes’ pay — by reducing the men’s.

The WMC also reports:

• Over a five-year period ending in 2012, the 500 top-grossing movies had 565 directors, 33 of whom were black and two of that 33 were black women. 

• Only six percent of the top 100 films in 2012 hired a balanced cast of women and men.

• For production of the 250 top-grossing domestically made films of 2013, women accounted for 16 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors, slightly lower than the 2012 and 1998 figures.

Again, “top-grossing,” “top 100,” over and over. Clearly, these people don’t like the market.

The WMC also complained that sports radio and journalism included few women, with the “top” radio shows having none at all. Of course, not only do the same market forces apply, but, reality check: The vast majority of people interested in sports are men.

The report goes full Joe Biden when discussing talk radio. The WMC writes that in that medium’s rankings, “Women made up 11.1 percent of the 117 general news talk show broadcasters; some of them teamed up with other commentators.... Rush Limbaugh retains the No. 1 slot — the lone woman from the Top 10 in 2012 [Laura Ingraham] fell to No. 17 in 2013.... (To Limbaugh’s 14.75 million listeners in the summer of 2012, Ingraham had 5.75 million listeners.)”

You stupid, sexist people, you have no idea who you should be listening to. Let’s redistribute a few million of El Rushbo’s listeners to Ingraham.  

Look, let’s get something straight: The market is discriminatory.

It discriminates between the talented and untalented, skilled and unskilled, and often the sinful and sublime. President of the WMC Julie Burton said, “The media is failing women across the board,” but must every group be proportionately represented in every field, everywhere, every time?

And given that female fashion models earn considerably more than their male counterparts, is the fashion business failing men across the board? Does the NBA’s inordinate percentage of blacks mean that it’s failing whites? And while the WMC report also tells us that of “the women who did get speaking roles in movies, 34.6% were black, 33.9% were Hispanic, and 28.8% were white,” writes Time, there is no mention of the media failing white women. Note that their 28.8 percent of speaking roles is far below their 63 percent share of the female population.

But complaints about intersex wage gaps have always been nonsense. Consider the oft-cited statistic that women make 77 cents on a man’s dollar. This has nothing to do with unjust discrimination. Rather, women choose less lucrative fields (e.g., the social sciences as opposed to harder ones), statistics show that “full-time” men work more hours than “full-time” women, and women are more likely than men to decline promotions and choose flexibility over income when seeking employment. In fact, as the documentary The Gender Equality Paradox points out, the sexes choose more stereotypical jobs in highly egalitarian nations such as Norway than in more patriarchal countries such as India. Why? Because people in rich nations have the luxury of following their hearts — and men’s and women’s hearts lead to very different places.

Unfortunately, peddling wage-gap lies will instigate social engineering in the area of the sexes’ pay. We’re already seeing this in certain hard sciences, where entry-level women command more than their male counterparts because employers fear costly discrimination lawsuits. The problem with this is that if you give women greater pay, then men are going to be paid less to compensate. This means it will be more difficult for men to provide for their wives and children as sole breadwinners. So wage-gap propaganda isn’t just a war on the market, but also on the nuclear family.  

Of course, though, if like feminist Simone de Beauvoir, you believe that a woman “should not have that choice ... to stay at home to raise her children ... because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one,” this is exactly what you want.

So much for the pro-choice Left.

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