The Myths of the Pay Gap, Sexual Assault Stats & Oppression of Women
Why we have to stop living in generalizations and deny, avoid or change nature, preferences or the biological differences of men and women.
By now I’ve interviewed more than 85 women on Girlskill Podcast about success, femininity and their journeys. Almost never I get into arguments and discussions about their views on feminism and femininity because I respect my guests’ perspective and their lived experience. I always see myself as a host and a channel for them to express their views and share their stories.
A lot of women have never thought about what femininity means to them because they never had to. (Does that matter at all?!)
Femininity is a concept that is unique and deeply personal to every woman. She will have her own definition based on her cultural and educational background, self-awareness and personal growth journey as well as simply the depth of her interest in exploring the definition.
Although, I have come to a general and fundamental definition of what femininity is through research, study and my own lived experience which I now teach to women during coaching, I respect every woman’s definition and perspective and try to never judge.
During my interviews we rarely talk about the contemporary feminism movement. First up, because I think that there is enough of that subject discussed on other podcasts and online. Second, because this is a controversial, sensitive and 🔥 issue. And third, this is not what Girlskill is about.
When I have interviewed this amazing woman last week and she had started to passionately express her views on the patriarchy, how modern democracy has been designed to keep white men rich, how white men intentionally have silenced women for centuries and how the future is indeed female (a story that I hear every day on social media and the news)…
I had to step in.
I just couldn’t bloody resist but to voice out my disagreement and share my own personal view on the subject. I was trying to decide whether I should just let it go, simply say I disagree and move on, or actually get into a debate. I then thought:
“Damn it! This is my show and I gotta stop playing it nice and trying to be careful and not offend anyone all the time #politicalcorrectnessisoverrated… I have a voice and my experience and my views have the right to be expressed.”
The woman I was interviewing is a highly intelligent one with a degree in psychology and applied economics. She was working in the social and political sector in America for a while as well as on Hillary Clinton’s campaign, done TED talks on the subject of purpose, has her own business leading companies into developing their purpose driven visions and comes highly recommended from another guest.
Luckily, my experience in actual debates in high-school and college has taught me how to express a disagreement and go into a debate without being arrogant and a total dick and without taking things personal.
So I gathered my courage and went into a mild “battle of opinions” on my own podcast without having the extensive knowledge on the subject of politics, social justice or history.
I wrote down all the points I disagreed with and have addressed them one by one:
- “Women have been oppressed by white rich men intentionally forever.”
- “Patriarchy is designed to keep women small, without a voice and in the kitchen.”
- “Democracy has been invented by rich white men to make them forever and continually richer.”
Notice how the words in bold are all in passive voice.
Perhaps this should have been the whole point of my argument. I’m tired of social media and “news” repeating the same story that things have been done to us (women) throughout history and centuries. But that’s a discourse for another story.
Let’s address generalizations
It seems like we talk about these complex subjects of patriarchy, white supremacy and feminism in absolutes. Black and white.
There are so many layers, complications and theories in concepts such as oppression, patriarchy and democracy that I feel like we can’t just throw them around like no-one’s business. Most people, including myself, don’t even understand or can comprehend the full scope of these complex terms without carefully studying history, politics and social justice. People spend their entire lives studying and researching these subjects and some of them are still confused.
And what happens when someone in power and an influencer (especially if she is a woman today) starts using these generalizations? We all start hearing these slogans everywhere, repeating them and then BELIEVING them. And what happens next we start BEHAVING them. This is what was happening to me as well. I thought:
If “everyone” (read: women influencers) is saying that patriarchy has indeed ruined us all keeping women voiceless and powerless, then it must be true!
Suddenly we start thinking “Damn! If so many intelligent, high-status women in politics, hollywood, business and media keep saying it – IT MUST BE TRUE!
I think this is where I had a major conflict in my head and started actively seeking for answers. Am I crazy to not see/experience/believe these slogans or something is happening on a deeper level? A level that I just can’t read into or comprehend? At first I didn’t listen to that voice of reason. It just can’t be right. Look at the stats!
Perhaps, I am like the only one on this planet who doesn’t really experience the evil patriarchy (besides the white rich men, of course.) Perhaps life has given me a golden ticket (please save your #whitepriviledge comments until you read my other articles about where I came from and how I had to work hard for everything I have and how my skin color doesn’t mean shit where I come from.)
Perhaps I am just some sort an alien female creature that has been #blessed who sees so much opportunity, so many great men and women around, so much non-oppression!! Perhaps indeed I am the only one in this world who thinks that we live in great times and instead of complaining about how women have been “insert-your-own-passive-voice-verb,” I think there has never been a greater time for women to succeed, to achieve their dreams and live their best lives!
Yeah, it must be just me…
And then I started stumbling upon people like Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan, Christina Sommers and others who made me feel like I’m not actually crazy and that there might be some truth to my views and my lived experience.
I was having in-depth conversations with my female guests on Girlskill who shared my experience and finding women who also don’t align much with these slogans. I started understanding the hidden agendas behind identity politics, feminism, and “patriarchy is the enemy” movements.
I don’t have all the answers and this might be a life-long guest but one thing I know for sure:
We can’t simply generalize serious concepts without deeper research and self-inquiry, then repeat them, repost them on social media, believe them and then behave them. It’s not that simple.
I wonder what would happen if I post “Empowered Men Empower Women” or “Empowered Women Empower Men” or even worse “Empowered Men Empower Men” Imagine that?! 🤷♀️🤣🙈 #controversy
I got inspired by Namaste Moore who said:
“Feminism cannot give you power. Power is an inside job…
I don’t need feminism because I know my power. It’s so vast and great that no legislative authority can take it from me, and, therefore, no legislative authority can give it to me because it is innate in my being…
So how can feminism give it to me? It existed before feminism was even a thought in a mind of a wounded woman…”
I fully believe in these words. Only active voice here.
So I went into the argument about such generalizations with my guest.
First up, I mentioned that this is such an American view on things. White privilege perhaps indeed exists even here in Eastern Europe, although there are no black people at all, simply because we were just born with white skin, but I have never encountered a racism issue until I got to the U.S. It wasn’t a concept in my mind because there is only in one race where I come from. There is a whole other set of serious political and economic issues to deal with in the poorest European country and race was never part of it.
I grew up in a Communist society (even after Soviet Union fell apart, the Communist Party was the ruling party for about eight years where my father was an active member of – so it was quite ironic that even after the fall of the Soviet regime, the established democratic rule still elected the Communist Party as the ruling party.) Because I grew up pretty much in a Communist regime, I have never thought that women are inferior to men in any way.
I grew up watching Soviet movies portraying women as courageous, brave and equal to men in their intellectual abilities. In fact, Communism was very clever to put women to work alongside men because female labor is still labor and everyone had to work and contribute to the good of society. This is one of the reasons why Eastern European and Russian women are so fierce and independent and will never let a man tell her what to do or “oppress” her.
That is in my blood too.
Nekrasov, Russian poet of the XIX century, said: “The Russian woman can stop a galloping horse and enter a burning house”.
I grew up with this ideal of female power. In fact, most men on this other side of the world know not to rock the boat because they know very well you can’t stop an enraged woman. She will bite your head off so better don’t f*ck with her. (This image of female power is not only Russian, Eastern European or Hindu. Most men will tell you they would rather avoid a conflict with a woman then get into a full-on fight with her.)
What is still quite a mystery to me is how these women manage to stay feminine 🤷♀️ and how the sexual polarity still exists in relationships. This unique blend of female fierceness and gentle femininity is quite opposite to what I see in American women. Perhaps it comes from history of Russian queens (Catherine I of Russia, Olga Constantinovna of Russia and many more…) and Kings’ wives who were always regarded as equal partners having to play their own roles. Perhaps it comes from deeply rooted appreciation of the feminine nature and power.
The one thing that has always puzzled me is how in the supposedly most democratic country on earth we are still dealing with racism and female inferiority issues?! (I am generalizing myself now. Isn’t that crazy. I have used my own generalization to oppose my own point against generalization. #ridiculous)
I don’t have all the answers. I’m trying to shed light on a different experience and different perspective. The answer is somewhere in between left and right, black and the white, the extremes and opposite generalizations.
Democracy & how men have invented it to keep themselves rich
On the subject of democracy and its foundations, I mentioned that I’m not sure that less than 300 years ago the founding fathers really thought that liberty, justice and equality for all was the primary driving force and intention to make them, white rich men, even richer…
I mean, maybe, but how can we know what was Thomas Jefferson’s real intention and other men at that time? Yes indeed, slavery was existing at the time and women indeed didn’t have the right to vote, but does that imply, prove and actually mean that that is what they were after? To make such a conclusion seems a little arrogant and a lot misleading.
I thought it was so interesting how we can look back at what happened 300 years ago and make a judgement of people’s intent based on what we know now and our current reality… (remember, we hear it, we repeat it, we believe it and we behave it…) So I was like “how can we generalize that?!” I would love to actually talk to Mr. Jefferson and ask him these questions… I also might be simply naive, but I refuse to believe in this ill-intentioned male behaviour everywhere since ancient times. In fact, I think that my deep belief in the good of the world (including the good of men) is what led me to lead an abundant, happy and prosperous life.
My podcast guest had agreed with me that indeed in America it feels like that is the whole world and she’s never thought of the position of women and people of color in, for example, communist societies. Then she also agreed that women indeed always had power behind the scenes. My ego was pleased. Not that that was the point. (But maybe it was. I gotta dig deeper.)
The Pay Gap & Sexual Abuse “Facts”
Of course, in our heated discussion the #metoo movement, sexual abuse and the pay gap was mentioned to further illustrate the point that women are oppressed by the patriarchy to this day and are struggling. Again, things we read day in and day out everywhere today.
To illustrate another perspective, I mentioned Jordan Peterson, The Factual Feminist and The Red Pill documentary I recently watched. Here are some things that fascinated me and I brought up in the interview:
In his third interview on the Joe Rogan Podcast, Jordan Peterson talks about the pay gap and that, actually, it doesn’t really exist. I know, I know – SHOCKING to hear and read but hear me out.
I was always questioning this pay gap thing… because I didn’t experience it myself (working in Eastern Europe, the US and Asia) and never actually seen any proof of both female and male candidates being hired for the same exact positions and ACTUALLY seeing on their paychecks “John Brown – $15/hour” and “Silvia Roberts – $11.7/hour” so I was skeptical.
Yes, I understand that this is not as literal as that and that women might be discriminated against at the workplace in subtle ways like not being promoted as much as men, not being as incentivized as much and so on (this view in particular I don’t resonate with because I don’t feel like anyone owes me anything because I am a woman. If I want a promotion or more incentives or commissions, I go ask for it. Or I should be able and free to do so. Whether I actually go for it is another question. See explanation below.)
And, of course, if Obama says that for every $1 a man makes, a woman makes $0.78 cents it must be true!!!
Well, here is where Dr. Peterson’s explanation comes in. I understood that the $0.78/$1 ratio is taken across all industries comparing all earnings of men and women.
Here is how the gender pay gap is actually calculated: (explanation from Howstuffowrks.com).
“The gender pay gap figure is typically calculated by first adding together all of the annual salaries of women who are working full-time, year-round, then finding the median salary — that is, the salary that’s in the exact middle, with 50 percent of the women earning more than that figure and 50 percent earning less. Then the same calculation is made for men working full-time, year-round. Once those two figures are determined, you can compare them and calculate the pay gap [source: Glynn].”
And indeed, if we take all (American) men and women and compare their income overall, women would earn less. I am actually surprised that these figures are not even more different.
But, Anna, how is that fair?!
First up, women tend to be more agreeable than men and not as aggressive in terms of going for what they want. I believe that indeed we need to cultivate confidence and self-worth, self-esteem in boys and girls alike but agreeableness is also in our female nature. Here is where I might get a lot of backlash from women in particular, but this quality is what actually has helped females survive for thousands of years when men were hunting and fighting and women had to form bonds, create alliances and communities to ensure their own survival and the survival of their own children.
I believe that women don’t actually need to be as aggressive as men (read: don’t have to be men and behave like men) to get what they want. We can all get what we want leveraging our strength. Women and men are different in biological, energetic and emotional terms and denying this fact is denying our true nature. But let’s focus on the subject in front of us.
So one of the reasons for the “pay gap” is simply that women are more agreeable and don’t ask and go for what they really want as aggressively as men. Note: there are many women who are actually much more aggressive than some men but on average that is not the case.
Second, on average women prefer to be in jobs that are more nurturing and give them more pleasure and less stress and less risk. Teaching jobs, linguistics, the service industry and the health care sector are some examples of such jobs preferred by females.
Interesting statistics below:
More fascinating stats on the changes in the workforce since 1950 between men and women here
Of course, 65 years of women entering the work force might not be enough to make conclusions on preference but we clearly see that there are certain jobs that women simply prefer to be in more than men.
In online business specifically, I see a great number of business run by women that are more service and abstract/creative oriented than the highly rationale, drop-shipping, Amazon, email funnels and traffic & SEO-oriented as well as tech-oriented. Is that because women are not offered as many opportunities? Perhaps. There are plenty of initiatives to promote women and minorities in tech industries but the “diversity” is nowhere near leveling out. Perhaps it will never be leveled out due to a matter of preference. How many women on average do you know who are obsessively passionate in technology and numbers? None of my girlfriends are.
I know so many women (myself included) that would hate to work in more linear, number and one-directional oriented environments. Does that mean that there are no women in tech, investments, or logistics? No, it doesn’t. But on average more women do not choose these environments.
Will male-dominated environments benefit from more women? Absolutely. But perhaps to an equal degree so will the female dominated environments benefit from having more men. But wait, who has the time or the nerve to talk about promoting more men into teaching or care providing positions if men already have all the power and are oppressing women?! It’s all about women today and how can women “take power back.”
But maybe women don’t want that kind of power, more stress, longer hours, risky and intense physical labor jobs?! Oh wait, women actually can’t really be in intensive physical labor jobs.. oh wait wait… What about promoting women into construction, oil rigs, and high risk jobs? Did you know that majority of people who die on location in high risk jobs are men?
But why does that matter?!
It’s all about promoting women into power now so who cares if women don’t drive as many trucks across country, spend sleepless hours monitoring heavy machinery, and building railroads… these jobs are for men.
Of course, there is a popular view that since women have been oppressed for so long, we now have to give them all the opportunities and support them in any way possible to equalize the playing field. I do agree with this view but I believe that things have been taken a bit too far. I don’t believe in penalizing men for lack of opportunities in the workforce for women. That seems unfair to me.
Another thought: Who gets to be evacuated first out of the crashed airplane or a major disaster? Women and children, of course… Maybe we could have like 50/50 split in these situations too? One man for one woman gets evacuated – provided that each has a child in their arms. Would that kind of equality work?
Oh wait… There is also military service… Shall we promote women in combat positions too?
The third and one of the most important points of why gender “pay gap” is misleading is that only women bear children. I am quite heart-broken by the fact that this incredible biological phenomenon is seen as some sort of a hindrance to a successful life by women themselves. (I am currently 5 months pregnant so I can speak from experience.)
It’s not that employers don’t really want women in power or positions of influence. In fact, they do want women in higher positions because of their high emotional intelligence, ability to think three-dimensionally and perhaps even intuitively when going into negotiations or business deals.
Jordan Peterson gives an example of a law firm he’s worked with that had quite a few women rising to the top partner levels. Management was deeply disappointed by loosing their top women in their 30s or so because these women chose to focus on creating families and other priorities. According to Dr.Peterson (my own examples and so many women I talk to and work with) when women get to high-level positions where they get paid really well and where, of course, they work super long hours and really really hard, one day they wake up thinking…
“Wait a second…I have more money than I need. I’ve proved everything to everyone, including myself… I’m with a partner who earns a decent income… Why the hell am I struggling so much, working so many hours and pushing so hard?! It’s bloody exhausting. I’m done. Oh wait, I also feel like I would like to create a family, deep connection and shift my priorities. Maybe I need 3 months of travellin in Italy to rediscover myself and what success means for me.”
See, men don’t really have such a realization. In fact, when women are shifting their priorities in this way, men are like “Oh shit. I gotta work harder to take care of my family.”
If a male body could produce babies we would be having a completely different discussion but unfortunately, (or fortunately,) they don’t, so here we are back to this gender “pay gap.”
Yes, women do loose their jobs, a couple of years of income, influence and power. They do pivot their career growth trajectories and they do go through enormous hormonal and body changes. But could we perhaps think about what do they gain instead?!
Could we perhaps entertain the idea of the fact that perhaps a woman’s job or career or business is not the most important thing in her life?! I am not suggesting that suddenly, babies and families are or should be womens’ priorities but if you talk to mothers, you will sense the difference.
Now, there are women who think they can do it all. That is The Lie of Female Success that is being sold to us.
This “can do – will do” attitude in some cases is so detrimental to a woman’s health and inner life, it is ruining not only her own self but everyone around it too. Modern women get pregnant, deliver babies via a scheduled C-section in New York (don’t get me started on the “maternity leave” in America that I can’t even call maternity leave, as well as the drugged and fear-infused birthing process) and they’re out at work in 8–10 weeks time.
If they’re lucky they get 12 weeks (right at the time of the average recovery after a normal vaginal birth. If a woman had a C-section which is actually serious surgery or tearing during birth or any other complications, her body requires up to 6 months of recovery.)
But why take all this time off to recover, take care of your body and your mental state, the incredible and critical connection that a woman is establishing with her baby, as well as the sensitive and fragile time with her man, when you absolutely need to go to work?
Meetings and projects are waiting! Teams who rely on you are desperately in need of your magnificent leadership powers. Take back the seat at the table! Lean in! Close the pay gap! It is your responsibility to do that for other women.
Pay 50% of all of your bills and child care. Demand maternity facilities and rights! Breastfeed everywhere wherever possible! Push as hard as you did while delivering your baby (if you actually did get a chance to push or felt any pushing happening after an epidural.) These are the modern slogans of motherhood.
I created an exclusive 75-minute video training on this exact issue where I talk about the Lie of Female Success, the Modern Female Epidemic and what you can do to start living a life of more fulfillment, feeling less drained and in these chains of proving everything to everyone. Check it out here
So the perceived “pay gap” will remain where it is no matter how much we push because we can’t deny, avoid or change nature, preferences or the biological differences of men and women.
Now, two more quick points.
Sexual Assault “Facts.”
My guest continued speaking about the oppression of women and mentioned that we still live in a society where “1 in 5 women gets sexually assaulted.”
Is that really true? Again, if the news, social media and powerful people say that, it must be true! If so many women came out during the #metoo movement, it must be 100% true.
Let’s look at how these facts might have been collected and whether, perhaps, there might be some other agendas at play here. The Factual Feminist youtube channel is full of videos explaining the myth and facts behind such slogans not to oppose these views but to shed light on the reasons and facts behind these “facts.”
What struck me is that this specific statistic of “1 in 5 women gets sexually assaulted” is actually misrepresented and was based on a certain study that had vaguely stated questions, low response rate and a non-representative sample. We do not live in a rape culture. Christina Sommers rightly points out that we will never know the actual number of rape victims especially because what constitutes rape has been quite vague for different people.
Another point to sexual assault and, specifically, domestic violence. In the Red Pill documentary I was shocked to find out that 40% of all domestic violence victims are men. Kind of crazy to even imagine it… Another fact from the documentary: in America out of 2,000 domestic violence shelters only 1 accepts and helps men who are victims of domestic violence. Quite shocking when you compare statistics. While 40 % of all victims are male only 0.005% of shelters accept men.
But wait, men are stronger physically and emotionally, aren’t they?! They should be able to handle the small little petty abuse of tiny little women. I’ve seen the viciousness of women first hand in my own home from my own step-mother and how she had abused not only my father and me threatening to kill herself and getting physical with me and my father, but also to her own children.
Women can be as violent, unstable and even more emotionally abusive as men. The question remains why in a domestic violence situation police are usually taking in the men without even asking questions.
Today women are glorified, men are vilified. Let’s stop doing this to our men and to ourselves. When I mentioned some of these points to my guest she said “Oh, of course there are good men out there! My husband and my father are just some examples of them! You can’t really judge all men by a few bad apples in the basket! For every 10 apples in a basket, you’ll find at least one bad one!”
To which I replied that perhaps if that basket was full of 10 apples who were all female, there would be a couple of bad apples too. She did agree with this point too.
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