He’s not very good at this, is she?

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Discussion (59)¬

  1. Tim Reid says:

    Feels like you’re punching down at transgender folks here author. First time I’ve felt the comic hasn’t been satirising a worthy target.

  2. MarkyWarky says:

    Are they though? Are all masculine and feminine characteristics “socially constructed stereotypes”?

    I think ideas about “roles” and “places” are constructs based on percieved gender characteristics, but I do think there are real differences between the genders that have solid evolutionary explanations behind them. I appreciate too that there’s a spectrum – not all men are aggressive and not all women are nurturing, for example – but in general terms there ARE differences that are not all given to us by society, just like there are for all creatures, aren’t there?

  3. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Those who’s genders are fluid
    Risk being treated rude
    While wearing a bag
    Are you a liquid hag
    Or in girl’s washrooms just to be lewd?

  4. DocAtheist says:

    Author, I think I get your point, and I agree. It’s not about transgender, it’s about locking cis-genders into tiny little boxes based on exaggerated social norms, and then pretending to expand those social norms by describing each cis-gender as having some sort of hidden characteristics of the other.

    This brings to mind that tabloid rag of a book, “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus”, a cheap, dime store misrepresentation of the serious, peer-reviewed research done by Deborah Tannen. For any who haven’t heard of Deborah Tannen, I recommend googling her. She has wisely represented her own work in very readable books of quality.

  5. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Bravo, Author.
    Tim Reid, he’s not punching down, he’s aiming directly at the lunatic fringe of an otherwise worthwhile movement.
    Get rid of women as a category because this self-proclaimed ‘pretty boy’ feels excluded, anybody?

  6. jean-françois gauthier says:

    @marky: being no specialist, my understanding of current gender theory is precisely that “feminine” and “masculine” qualities, not just roles, are social constructs.

    @tim: being a relatively plain-vanilla cis-gender myself, i can’t claim to understand what must be a fairly painful transition and pre-transition for people who go through that. considering how difficult it must be, i wouldn’t take lightly the choice that’s being made. that said, i’ve always been unconfortable that people would end up being caricatures of the gender they identify with, very much undercutting those of us who feel that there’s no essential quality that makes a woman want to wear makeup or that makes a man pick up a fight in a bar.

    experiments have be made where people would be asked to describe their perception of a sexual encounter; the researchers would then remove all anatomical references from the texts and ask other people to read them and guess if each one was written by a man or a woman. they did no better than flipping a coin. clichés like men giving love to get sex and women giving sex to get love are not supported by empirical research.

  7. ladyduck pojok says:

    I have recently attended a talk about the shortfalls of the new proposed self-declaration / gender recognition act in Scotland which will allow born male to self-declare as woman by simply filling a form and there by have full legal access to women only spaces (such as prisons or spaces usually reserved to women who are trying to escape male violence). I was not opposed to the simplification of the long and administratively heavy process that transgender people have to go through in order to officially change gender, I was merely curious to hear whether the impact on women’s rights had been taken into account at all in the proposal. Of course it had not, women’s right groups were not consulted and when they questioned the proposal they were branded transphobic. When I went to that public talk, I was welcomed and escorted out of the venue by angry transwomen shouting that I should “stuff *things* up my a*s”. Being a feminist and a woman, I was used to getting this kind of insults from MEN…. not really from WOMEN. This cartoon, Author, is spot on and the punch line is very reminiscent of my own experience.

  8. 1happyheathen says:

    “punching down”? no I do not think so…. if we fail to have self-awareness about ourselves and learn to laugh at ourselves a bit what kind of fundamentalist monsters will we become?

  9. wnanig says:

    AoS, from that link:
    “What if, instead of mobilizing solely around “Women,” we mobilize around “Women and Femmes.”

    Exactly how are the French supposed to translate that? Anglo-centric or just cultural appropriation?

    It seems very unhealthy to tie your well-being and identity so closely to language and what other people are saying. I guess that is one of the things that seem most insane to me in the victimhood culture (along with the postmodern elimination of truth and fact). Going back to the discussion of left-right, progressive-reactionary in the last thread, I think maybe “honour culture”-“dignity culture”-“victimhood culture” might be a better dimension to discuss. Mo and parts of the left oftentimes seem to be creating a weird mix of honour culture and victimhood culture that is not internally consistent. One of the reasons the right-left scale seems so problematic at the moment might be that it seems to have been de-coupled from the dignity culture that used to be predominant in the West.

    Every time I see someone bringing out the “How would you feel if I insulted your mother?” argument or get incomprehensibly offended by something I think of the “big nose” monologue of Cyrano de Bergerac (http://instruction2.mtsac.edu/french/cinema1/Movies/Cyranos monologue.htm).

  10. So if Mo is gender-fluid and switching back and forth and he switches back to being a man but doesn’t take off the burqa and Jesus, trying to be polite, calls him “her” – will he punch Jesus’s lights out?

    The snares are many.

  11. MarkyWarky says:

    @j-f g, and yet we see repeated studies that report specific gender differences beyond the obvious physical ones – spacial awareness, pain thresholds, memory, etc etc etc. We also see, frequently, studies and tests that appear to show differences at a very early age, suggesting more “nature” than “nurture”. Then there are undeniable differences in the stages at which males and females mature – if different as teenagers, why not throughout life? Finally, we see that the same differences appear in most species (e.g. female baby monkeys who prefer dolls while their male peers prefer trucks), which if you accept our naturalistic view that humans are just another animal, should tell us the same should apply to us. So I suspect that it’s neither ALL societal nor ALL inherent, but a combination of both.

  12. Mr Yan says:

    Tranny’s are a very small proportion of the population that any affirmative actions is almost pointless. It’ll only annoy the majority for minimal gain.

  13. DC Toronto says:

    I’m not sure this is “punching down” but it is the first time that I recall the commentary veering from religion.
    I was recently the target of some aggression in these comments (it felt aggressive to me) when I was accused of being transphobic and afraid of having a “second dick in my bed”.
    Mo’s reaction is a good representation of the hypocrisy often seen in those who push a trans agenda.
    The actual number of trans people is a small part of the population. And it is a major life changing decision to change ones gender. I support making it a rigorous process prior to making irreversible changes to ones body. It should not be taken lightly.

  14. Lady Mondegreen says:

    Tim Reid, “Punching down”? Trans activists do the punching.

    It is utterly common for trans activists to threaten violence against those who disagree with them. And they do more than threaten: one woman was beaten up in Hyde Park.


  15. Interesting thread. I recently read a long and involved article about trans men and women discussing the social changes that accompanied transition. It was mostly what one would expect. Trans men suddenly found that their opinion was taken seriously, that their mistakes were minimized and their wins were exulted, while trans women found that they were suddenly the object of mansplaining and being told to shut up.

    One thing surprised me. A trans man described the effect of testosterone therapy as causing him to become more focused, more decisive, more aggressive, and more willing to take risks. I’m totally ready to assume this is a subjective observation arising from his preconception of gender differences. For that matter, all the other observations may have the same root.

    My testosterone was shut down as a response to prostate cancer therapy. That’s been brutal, and I now sympathize even more with Alan Turing. I really miss sex, and have fond memories of what an erection felt like. But I can’t say I believe there has been any attenuation of my ability to make decisions, or my willingness to take risks, or my impulse to punch those who annoy me. But then I’ve always had a strong feminine side, so my reports are as unreliable as the trans man’s.

    It’s my personal belief that, while there may be a statistically significant different in the characteristics of men and women, they are nothing at all in comparison to differences between individuals. Take the new head of the American CIA as an example of how sweet and nurturing women can be, eh.

    My first wife and I decided that we would raise our children in a gender neutral manner. Our boys could play with dolls if they wanted to, and our daughter could play with tools and toy trucks. That taught us how little influence a parent actually has. Everybody who met our sons would comment on how big and strong they were. And everybody who met our daughter would comment on how pretty she was. By the time they were three my daughter was all about, mommy, can I use your lipstick? My hair is so pretty. And the boys were all about: Give me a gun; give me a knife; give me a club; let me kill something. Impossible to fight the socializing imposed by society.

    I’m perfectly willing to accept whatever gender a person wants to choose, whatever pronouns they request, and whichever washroom they want to use. None of my damn business.

  16. wnanig says:

    Re: Tim Reid, “Punching down”

    It is not always obvious what is up and down – especially at different levels of analysis. A member of an oppressed group can also be a tyrant at the individual level, perhaps even using the oppressed status for emotional blackmail. It is quite possible to be both victim and perpetrator. An individual also does not have to be the same as the median of whatever distribution is being considered, which seems to generate endless amounts of confusion in current public discourse.

    Secondly it is not obvious that satire has to have a purpose that is concerned with (political) up and down. It can point out inconsistencies, provide a starting point for reflection, provide another angle, give a sense of proportion, show shades of grey or the complexity of a world where problems to which we cannot calculate a solution exist (which should concern conspiracy theorists and utopians alike):

    Btw, found this while searching for a useful link – complexity concerns applied to conflict:

  17. M27Holts says:

    As somebody said on a previous thread. Stereotypes are very often correct by virtue of mathematical probability. Most men are stronger than their wives and taller and hairier and most men also are taller than their mothers and sisters. Does stating that make you a male chauvinist pig?

  18. M27Holts “Does stating that make you a male chauvinist pig?” Only if you use it as justification for paying a woman less for doing the same job.

  19. M27Holts says:

    On the subject of the Burka. Every time I visit the Trafford Centre (shopping mall 6km west of Manchester, England) I see Muslim women and girls in the full Darth Vader garb with their husbands/sons in shorts and t-shirts. The incongruence with equality is obvious, the mall is always very hot and packed. I always go with shorts and t-shirt as it’s so warm and stuffy. Those women must really want to make a statement if they choose such unsuitable garments or do they choose as the feminists insist they must?

  20. Sparky_Shark says:

    @DarwinHarmless Dammit. I came here for cheap gags about “hot monkey sex” and jesus being represented as a fish-finger in a particularly tawdry nativity. And now I’m humbled by my lack of engagement and by your searingly honest responses. Shit. Where’s my burqa to hide my shame?

  21. Deimos says:

    This is definitely a good day, I’ve added “punching down” to my speciality terms dictionary that is used exclusively to
    torment the youngsters. Now I just need to work it into some totes amazing insults that sound like compliments or into product reviews on Amazon.

    Thanks Tim Reid, a fine addition to the language.

  22. DC Toronto says:

    DH – why trot out that old fake news. Women are not paid less than men for the same job. I’ve been in the workforce for 30 years and haven’t seen it ever for the past 20. Before that I wasn’t in a position to know.
    Can you site concrete examples rather than trot out statistics that meaninglessly lump all people together?

  23. DC Toronto, that is a very complicated issue, and there are many ways to argue about it. I can only take the word of Stats Canada, and since you seem to inhabit the same country as I do, here it is: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/03/08/canada-gender-pay-gap_n_9393924.html
    It looks to me like a woman doing the same job as a man WITH THE SAME EMPLOYMENT HISTORY AND SENIORITY might well be earning the same as the man earns. But if it’s the same job, should we use seniority and employment history as justification for a lower salary? After all, more women take time off to raise children than men do.
    That a gender pay gap exists is hardly fake news. It’s cause, possible solutions, and specific situations are open for a lot of discussion. As an example, my current partner spent many years working in early childhood education, gaining the certification and seniority to work her way up to director of a child care center. At that job she was still paid a very low wage, because apparently society doesn’t value the education of our children. When that job went away, she took a twelve month retraining program to become a computer programmer and suddenly found herself earning a starting salary that was higher than her salary after ten years in early childhood education and advancement to director of a child care center. This in Manitoba which had the best child care system in Canada.
    You might argue that these jobs are not equivalent. But how would you justify the pay differential. If you have ever been in charge of thirty pre-schoolers you won’t claim it’s because the higher salary is earned because the job is more difficult.

    If you want a more current situation, here’s what happened when All the Money in the World decided to replace Kevin Spacy and re-shoot.
    “Ridley Scott recently made headlines when he decided to reshoot Kevin Spacey’s scenes in All The Money In The World with Christopher Plummer – a decision that required co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams to come back for said reshoots. Reports now indicate that while Wahlberg received a hefty sum of money to film his reshoots, Williams was paid millions of dollars less.” Amusingly, both Williams and Wahlberg had the same agent.
    Now, unless you are ready to argue that the male lead in a movie is always worth millions more than the female lead, an argument not supported by any statistics I know of, there’s the example you requested.

    I would caution you that making broad judgements about society based on your own person experience during twenty years in the workforce is not a good way to reach valid conclusions. In my forty years in the workforce, my immediate superior was much more often a woman. However, the person above her, and living very high off the hog, was invariably a man and paid substantially more for work that I would judge involved less stress. I myself worked on short term contracts, but my weekly salary was far and above that of my female supervisor.

  24. DC Toronto says:

    DH – I agree that there is complexity in this issue. And I do think we can still make improvements.
    I did not claim that the average wage for females is less than the average for men. I followed your lead and referred to people doing the exact same job. I am not aware of any instances of this. You example of Wahlberg and Williams is a poor choice. Williams has much less name recognition and star power than Wahlberg. This was a career defining role for her and she is quoted as telling the director she would have done the reshoot for free. I don’t think such a scenario can be laid at the feet of our society. I am also certain that there were male actors who were paid less than Wahlberg for the reshoots. Part of Wahlbergs contract is to promote the movie. He brings more to the table than Williams and can therefore outperform her in this role.
    A former partner of mine also works in childcare. It is a frustration of hers that the pay is so low. And I don’t disagree that it is not easy. But I would suggest that the qualifications are much easier. That is, it can be done by someone who is untrained and approximate the same results. I’ve heard about the child centred training they receive in college and the benefits to the children of a trained teacher, but these are very difficult to measure and quantify. It can seem to be an equivalent option to take your children to an untrained home daycare and save a few dollars. Most mothers are untrained anyway so the difference for the child may be negligible vs being with their mom.
    Try coding in C+ if you’ve only learned Java. It won’t go well.
    as a result there is a supply/demand imbalance for programmers and they can command a higher salary. You’re probably aware of the salary pressures on North American programmers as more work was farmed out to India at much cheaper rates.
    My judgement is not based on my experience alone, but in gathering as much information as possible. I think this is an important issue … too important to use broad statistics to determine policies.. And I fear that our current PM, to stoke his feminist cred will do just that. Make policy that looks good on paper but does not address the fundamental issue, or attempts to fix something that is not broken.
    I too have often had female bosses and worked on par with women throughout my career. I don’t know for a fact, but I expect that there were times when they outearned me and times when I did better. This was mainly a function of credentials, experience and abilities. I am certain of one instance where I replaced a women when she moved to a new company and I earned significantly less than her. That was during he recession of 2008 and was in part a timing issue. But thems the breaks so to speak.
    I do believe that the salary gap is fake news. I have yet to see good examples of men and women in the same job who earn different salaries. Much of the statistical differences are based on life choices. I find that an acceptable area to have salary differences. It would also affect a man who for instance chose to take time off for childcare.
    Macleans magazine had many indepth articles about this last month. None of their examples looked at people in the same job earning different salaries. Not one passed a reasonability test.
    Jordan Petersen has spoken on this issue as well. What I’ve seen of his talks (which is still limited) is not what I expected. He articulates many reasons why women choose to earn less than men. Rex Murphy had an article in the National Post that links to a good talk by Petersen. I was pleasantly surprised that he was not a raving lunatic when I watched it. I’d be interested in your perspective if you have a moment to look it up.
    As I said, I believe this is an important issue. But I also think there is a lot of misinformation out there on the subject. I see women with almost unlimited potential in Canada to achieve whatever they wish. If there truly are barriers then I think we should address them. But we have to know what they are fist.

  25. Holms says:

    Tim Reid
    I would say that rather than criticising all trans people, Author is criticising a subset: those trans women that act decidedly male in their violence. An important distinction I think, as that ignores all trans people that do not employ violent rhetoric.

    Darwin Harmless
    How do you know you have a feminine side? Or perhaps a better phrasing would be, why do you consider those feminine traits feminine in the first place, given that you – a male – have them? It seems that those traits, which you call feminine here, can be expressed in both male and female people and are thus not intrinsic to either.

    This sort of observation leads me to believe that there are precious few or zero personality traits that are inherent to either sex, but rather there are many that are inculcated in boys rather than girls, and others vice versa, that they eventually internalise.

    This leads me to lean quite strongly to the nurture rather than nature side, and while there may indeed be something innate within the sexes that cause some behavioural disparities between them, 1) it seems that no trait is exclusive to either, and 2) the true proportion of male and female personality types (assuming such exist) cannot currently be uncovered, as cultural mores place a rather large thumb on the scales.


    Those things you mention – height, strength, hairiness – are physiological, and are not disputed except by a tiny fringe, even amongst trans people. The concept is called sexual dimorphism:


    It becomes extremely murky when talking about personalities, behaviours, mental aptitudes and similar… it is commonly said, for example, that mathematics is not suited to women’s brains. When asked for the data for that claim (and many other similar claims), the person making that claim will usually fall back on the more established differences – the physiological – while arguing along the lines of ‘well these differences exist, it is only natural that we also think differently!’

    But this class of argument is fallacious; the claim is essentially that because A is known to exist, B also exists simply because it is somewhat related to A. The rebuttal to this is that there is copious data supporting A – as demonstrated in that wiki page – but not much beyond speculation suggesting B exists.

  26. Holms says:

    Hooray! I must have been using the wrong email address, that took many attempts to post.

    Regarding pay disparity, here’s an example:
    A BBC-China editor being paid drastically less than a man working at the same level of seniority, despite the fact that her post – China – is more onerous and requires her to be multilingual. It is further alleged that there are ‘hundreds’ of similar complaints within the BBC.

    Still fake news?

  27. jb says:

    Here is a short video from Christina Hoff Sommers of that American Enterprise Institute, who argues that the gender wage gap is a myth.

    Also, Scott Adams, the cartoonist who draws “Dilbert”, had an interesting blog post on the issue. What makes it interesting is that he invited his readers to engage in a “link war,” where people holding different positions would send him links supporting those positions, and he would read them all and try to come to a conclusion. The conclusion he came to was the the data is surprisingly one sided: the gap does exist, but it is explained almost entirely by variables other than gender.

    My own belief is that Christina and Scott are 100% correct, and that the gap is an excellent example of ideological blindness on the part of the Left — in fact exactly the same sort of ideological blindness that conservatives are often accused of on issues like climate change and evolution. Progressives like to imagine that they are the rational ones, and therefore immune to this sort of thing, but I can’t imagine any reason why this would be so.

  28. jb says:

    Oh, and as long as the issue has come up again, I’d still be interested in hearing someone explain why BIID (the compulsion to lop off body parts other than the naughty bits) is a mental disorder, while transgenderism is not.

    The thing is, the transabled are not in fact psychotic, and are perfectly capable of functioning in society. And just like the transgendered, they generally claim that once the renovations are complete they feel much better. So seriously, what makes one an disorder and the other not?

  29. M27Holts says:

    Non scientific liberals are always making things up or trumping up lies to smear scientists whose proofs are contrary to the liberals worldview. As you can see I’m reading “Galileo’s middle finger”. Good read too….

  30. DC Toronto says:

    Holms – I think those are some interesting points. I lean a little more towards the nature side of the debate. I think one of the biggest changes is the recent urbanization and industrialization of our societies. This has allowed women an easier (or maybe a more consistently repeatable) ability to live a full life without a husband (and vice versa – imagine working in the fields all day then having to come home and bake bread).
    This in turn has allowed modern people the privilege of choice in many aspects of their life. This wasn’t the case even 100 years ago. Much of our society was on a subsistence level of surviving and it was virtually impossible to raise a family without 2 dedicated parents.
    I haven’t read your second link, but I don’t think that these exceptions prove that there is an ongoing gender gap in wages. You have an example of a single employer. That this particular woman was paid less could be down to her own abilities to negotiate rather than a systemic bias. In the Jordan Petersen talk on BBC tv he cites this as one of the reason that some women are paid less than men.
    That is not societies fault. That is a difference in genders. And I would argue that it is more nature than nurture. I believe we can reverse the nurturing much easier than we can alter our natures … if it was desired by women they would have changed it by now. Not through legislation but by making it happen on an individual basis.
    I do find this an interesting debate though so I welcome your feedback.

  31. HelenaHandbasket says:

    jb. Is it important that either of these things are labelled as diseases or mental disorders? The goals of most neurologists are to
    1) Understand how brains work
    2) Help people having trouble
    Its not really that important to have a licence to point and hoot at people in the street…
    That said. Theres a very interesting talk on Apotemophilia by the inspiring Vilayanur Ramachandran (“Rama” to his students) here
    (The talk itself starts 8:30 seconds in)
    TL;DR Humans have an internal map of their bodies (the somatosensory cortex) and for most of us this gives us useful feedback on our actual bodies. But–there are a whole bunch of times this doesn’t happen (phantom limb, neglect apoptemophilia etc).
    One of the things those cases do is highlight the fact that perceptions (including self-perceptions) may seem simple to us but this is only because we are profoundly unaware of the huge complexities going on below the conscious parapet. Take vision for instance–this happens in at least 30 separate areas of the brain and damage to one of these areas can result in all sorts of weird and wonderful things like being face blind (prosopagnosia) or thinking your loved ones have been replaced with aliens (Capgras delusion). And heres the really interesting thing–almost always this stuff makes sense to the person with the condition.
    Widen that out a bit and you start to realise that the process of making sense (confabulation) is totally general in human beings–its just that most of the time our confabulations match up reasonably to one another. Somethimes that doesnt happen–and people who feel themselves to be of a different sex to the one others have identified them as being would be an interesting case. Once that is appreciated then talk of gender being “socially constructed” is not so much wrong as laughably under-determined. Of course its “socially constructed” but not in the “impressive only to french philosophers” sense of the term (e.g. its all just words). Its being constructed every second simultaneously by separate functional parts in socially distributed brains. Its frankly staggering that this matches up as well as it usually does with one another–a reminder perhaps that we focus on tiny trivial individual differences while missing the huge whopping (genetic) similarities between us.

  32. Holms says:

    Scott Adams’ verdict for claim 3 is undermined by what I just linked. At low level jobs I agree, there is unlikely to be any disparity in the pay of a man and a woman in the same job (other variables being equal), but this does not remain true at upper level jobs where pay is less rigorously defined by job title, and can baloon upwards. And before you claim that this is just a single instance, I’ll point out we’ve seen this play out elsewhere fairly famously: movie star pay.

    I’ll grant that those rarified levels of pay are not exactly common, yet they both demonstrate the same thing. When pay is not set in stone as per mid and low level jobs, when it is negotiated rather than predetermined, disparities are made possible as the implicit biases of the employer now have an entry point. Low and mid level pay being predetermined and legally limited prevents such biases, the negotiation process opens the door to them.

    Next, his claim 4 agrees with the general claim, that implicit (or even explicit) bias based on sex may play a role, then claim 5 goes on to posit various alternative explanations for the disparity. However, these alternatives are not very good. #1 for example, a bias towards tall people, is indistinguishable from bias towards men due to the link between maleness and height; the remaining 6 are so highly speculative that I’m not sure why we should entertain them as possibilities given that in claim 1 he concedes that there is indeed bias against women; I would suggest that the well established source of bias is more likely than the other speculative ones comprising claim 5.

    The claim 6 verdict is undermined somewhat by the well established fact that female-linked names on a resume are known to recieve fewer job interview callbacks than an identical resume with a male name. Hence while men and women in that job will likely be paid identically, there are fewer women in that job thanks to them being disproportionately filtered out in the application process.

    And then I saw how much was left in his blog post and decided that I had done my due diligence in my reply 🙂

    As for Christina Hoff Summers, I will quite simply ignore her. She is no better than a troll, claiming to be a feminist while repeating every single anti-feminist argument verbatim. She is valued by the anti-feminists chiefly so that they can point to her and claim ‘even feminists agree with us!’

    Did you even bother reading my reply to you? I think my post merits more than an off-hand dismissal.

    DC Toronto
    I think most of the foregoing is also fairly applicable to your comment.

  33. DC Toronto says:

    holms – wrt the pay of movie stars, since this is negotiated for each job disparities are to be expected. Pay is largely dependent on success in this industry with the backend negotiated prior to the start of filming.
    Further, an actress is free to walk away if their negotiations are not satisfactory. It is not a bias against females if they willingly conclude negotiations without receiving maximum salary. That is on the individual and their representatives.

  34. Holms says:

    DC Toronto
    You’re forgetting that negotiations are usually handled by agents, and the pay of the other actors is not advertised. This is why news and reporting surrounding showbiz will use language along the lines of ‘it is rumoured he/she was paid X amount for their role in…’ Notable examples only came to light when Sony data was compromised and released; only then could actor compensation be compared.

    As far as I can see, this can only be explained by a (probably implicit) bias causing agents to settle for less while still believing that they pushed for the best possible. They most likely don’t notice that they are settling for less or that they are negotiating less ardently for their female stars.

  35. DC Toronto, I take your points as valid and am leaving the rest of this discussion to our able table mates at the C&B. Just one small request before I duck out: Could we please ashcan the term “Fake News”. It was invented, apparently, by that egregious troll who currently occupies the White House and it is invalid.

    We have opinions, we have facts, and we have honest journalists trying to present them.
    While fake news does exist – for example the absurd story that Clinton was running a pedophile club in the basement of a pizza parlor that doesn’t have a basement – it doesn’t do anybody any favors to throw the term around for subjects under legitimate discussion. When you use it it just makes you sound like a Trump voter. If you must use the term, please save it for the times when you discover news made up from the whole cloth by a Russian hacker to confuse American voters.

  36. M27Holts says:

    @holms – Of course I read your response. My reply was in general and not flippantly aimed at you. Of course I was not expanding my argument to brain differences between the sexes as that subject is a lot more complex than physical dimorphism. Mind u my wife definitely thinks a lot differently than me!

  37. Laripu says:

    If someone changes their apparent gender, they shouldn’t get upset if a confused person innocently gets a pronoun wrong. On the other hand, people shouldn’t purposefully try piss off a trans person out of a negative emotions against the whole idea.

    It reminds me that some people are currently getting upset about Bruno Mars engaging in ‘cultural appropriation’ because he’s not black. They’d better stop eating any pizza made by a non-Italian. The flip side is that they’d be even more upset if the rest of the country didn’t adequately appreciate black culture. With appreciation comes imitation, cross-fertilization, advance. American music, white and black, owes everything to mutual cultural appropriation.

  38. DC Toronto says:

    holm – I understand about agents and I mentioned representation in my post (that is their agent, lawyer, publicist etc). But I think you’ve forgotten that all of those people work at the behest of the actor and under their direction. the ultimate decision rests with the individual.
    Show business is very much a results oriented business. Does anyone complain if a male real estate agent earns more than a female agent by selling more homes? Why a complaint if a male actor sells more movies?
    DH – point taken re “fake news”. But it does seem to fit when all news organizations seem to conspire to report a gender wage gap with no analysis. The real fact is that when men/women do THE SAME WORK, they are generally paid the same in this day and age. It takes some serious searching to find examples where they do not. So despite the odious origins of the term (at least recently), sometimes it is appropriate.
    A point on the origins. Anyone familiar with Mary Tyler Moore will likely remember her recent passing. There was an interesting clip shown from her TV show where Lou Grant (the newsroom boss) is asked by the owner of the TV station to make the news more exciting. He tells his boss that they don’t report fake news. That was in the ’70’s. It’s always good to remember that most of our current discussions are not new. Just new to us.

  39. jb says:

    Just FYI, as I remember it, the term “Fake News” was not invented by Trump. It was instead invented (or at least popularized) by the mainstream media to describe dubious stories (e.g., the Pizzagate thing) that were considered to be helpful to Trump. It backfired though, as Trump almost immediately appropriated the term, and has since hammered on it to the point where he now owns it. (Say what you will about Trump, he does have certain talents).

    This is just my recollection of course, but still, take a look, for example, at this link, which I took from the earliest incarnation of the Fake News entry in Wikipedia (January 17, 2017, which is rather recent). The focus is decidedly on pro-Trump stories.

  40. Holms says:

    Well then I’m left wondering who the “Non scientific liberals” are that keep on “making things up or trumping up lies” in this thread; I’m sure you can see how I might think that was aimed at me, given that I was the only one to address you immedicately before that response of yours.

    Completely agree on both.

    DC Toronto
    Yes the star gets final, but they also trust the agent as a professional contract negotiator to work in their interests to obtain the best deal they consider achievable. And again, the fact that the negotiations are undertaken without knowing what the other stars obtains rather hampers the ability of the star and agent both to know whether the men and women of equal billing are also recieving equal pay.

    What if the movies bringing in greater or lesser sales for a female lead is due in part to a public attitude that women are generally less able to headline an action movie? This would have the obvious consequence of studios being reluctant to cast a woman as lead in the next big action flick, which would fuel the public attitude some more, which would hamper ticket sales, which (etc.).

    Anyway, the point is that when salaries become more negotiable at the top of a field, that negotiation process permits the possibility of biases playing a role in the outcome.

  41. DC Toronto says:

    Holmes – What if it is that the public is less accepting of female action stars? So what? You may wish to watch movies that you don’t enjoy but don’t ask me to do the same.
    It is a poor example. Let it be. The gender gap is a non issue. If you are truly upset maybe you should offer a few dollars to the poor actress who is so hard done by

  42. Some Dude says:

    @DC Toronto: I really appreciate that you take a reasonable approach to the “gender pay gap” issue.

    I think it’s presented by the media as if a man and a woman who do exactly the same job are paid different wages, and we know for sure that is not true (or at least not true in 99% of the cases). If it were true, then companies would be full of women, so that they would save money on salaries.

    I think it is a very complex issue, and the famous 77¢ to a dollar that is said in the US comes from an oversimplification. That’s a simple arithmetic mean (adding up all of women’s salaries and dividing that into the number of women, then repeating the process for men), which doesn’t take into account many important factors such as profession, working hours per week, age and so on. Anyone who knows a tiny bit about statistics will tell you that an arithmetic mean, if not accompanied by a thorough analysis, is just worthless and very misleading (as the result is really affected by anomalous values).

    I know that there is still work to do regarding differences between men and women, and I am sure that there is still discrimination against women on different issues. That’s why I really would appreciate if people stopped making problems up that distract all of us from solving the real problems women nowadays have to deal with.

    p.d.: I really like engaging on this type of discussion, I would like to know about anyone’s thoughts on this. Cheers

  43. Holms says:

    DC Toronto
    I am not telling you ‘you need to like female leads in action movies!’, rather, that was one example were bias has a potential entry point. One example amongst several I might add, any of which have the potential to result in reduced pay for female actors. Note that women recieving less pay is not in dispute, it is a matter of fact that it occurs, I am just speculating as to the possible causes.

    And note that this was only a side point to a more general discussion of higher pay jobs showing disparities, thanks to them being negotiable and based on intangibles such as fame within the profession, and again bear in mind that this too has some concrete examples. Again, it is more of a discussion of the how and why, rather than whether it occurs- it does.

  44. M27Holts says:

    @holms. I am not particularly including anybody on here to Lilly livered liberals. Just proposing that a lot of emotive subjectivity completely refuses to accept scientific facts that contradict their liberal world view. Mass media anti-science garbage controls the zeitgeist. And that is amplified by the 21st century big-brother internet tribe. The more people that believe the lie the truer it becomes! And the more preposterous the lie the more likely it will be swallowed by the sheeples!

  45. Holms says:

    The same could be said of the right.

  46. DC Toronto says:

    Holmes. I disagree. The difference in pay is not a gender issue. The difference in pay is related to the profits generated by the movie. So unless I watch female leads in action movies they will never earn the same as their male counterparts.

    Fame is not an intangible. It can be derived from past movie success and is a good measure of future success.

    You’ve also ignored the fact that some actresses make more than actors on the same film. I am sure that wahlburgs co star was paid more than some of the male actors on the set.

    One of the main drivers of the disparity for negotiated salaries is the fact that women tend to be more agreeable than men. They do not negotiate as hard. I believe that is more nature than nurture.

    I am finally reading Dawkins The Selfish Gene. He talks at length about the way a gene for helping your relatives survive will perpetuate itself. And the fact that women are more certain than men that their offspring carry 50% of their genes. Women have evolved to be more nurturing and less argumentative. That hinders them in negotiations from a compensation perspective. They are happy to get an agreement however men are more concerned about compensation.

    That is life. Any actress who doesn’t like the compensation offered is welcome to reject the offer. I’m not sure why it is a gender issue if some choose to be paid less.

  47. DC Toronto, it’s not the same thing but on a related note, some symphonies have started holding blind auditions for new performers after they realized that women were being kept from certain positions, such has cellist, because it was widely believed that they couldn’t be the equal of a man on the instrument. The discovery that the choice would often be a woman came as a surprise.
    My first wife failed first year law school, and I’m convinced it was simply bias on the part of the professors, who started the term aiming lame jokes at her like “I thought you would say a tort was a desert. Ha ha.” The male students who passed were no brighter, and certainly not nearly as hard working.
    So part of the wage disparity has been the systematic exclusion of women from the higher paying professions. That has largely been corrected now, but it still exists. The glass ceiling is another reality.

  48. M27Holts says:

    @DH. I’m no expert of Cello virtuosity but could it be that the physical dimorphism of hand span give the average male cellist an advantage? I certainly know more about guitar virtuosity and I think that the larger hands of men give them more range if the dexterity is similar. I know some women are considered virtuoso but not in the music I listen to. Is that due to misogyny?

  49. M27Holts “Is that due to misogyny?” Only if you attribute the difference to physical dimorphism. If you are judging solely on the sound of the music, and perceive a difference, that’s legitimate. But if you know whether the musician is male or female the difference could be a subjective bias, as was proven by the symphonies when they held blind auditions.
    Until then, women were considered too small and weak, both physically and emotionally, to really perform on the cello. Individual differences are far more important than gender, but bias is hard to fight.

    There are many reasons why a woman might not be a virtuoso in the kind of music you listen to. Just one might be a lack of encouragement, support, and training. Another might be cultural influences that determine what people like.

    I’m not going to argue that all women can do everything just as well as any man, no more than I would argue that any man can be a great basketball player regardless of his height. I am going to argue that some women can do anything as well as some men. To exclude women from a discipline, especially an area of STEM, on the basis of gender is simply patriarchy bias.

  50. M27Holts says:

    Agreed @DH. Mind u we live in improving times. When I went to secondary school gender specific curriculums were followed. These are now consigned to historical curiosity! IF only religion could also be labelled as such!

  51. M27Holts, amen to that. In my days, at least in elementary school, the boys and girls lined up separately to come in after recess. I have no idea why.
    I think that’s also gone now, along with the fucking bible reading over the PA system every morning and the Lord’s Prayer in the classroom. So things are improving, if a bit too slowly for my taste.

  52. DC Toronto says:

    DH. Interesting point about the blind auditions. Should the woman’s pay be the same as the mans? What if they sell fewer tickets because people don’t want to come out for female cello players?

    Probably an unlikely scenario. But other genres could be different. Heavy Metal is likely more gender specific.
    Then again those highbrows can be quite rigid in their views. 🙂

  53. HaggisForBrains says:

    Talking of lady cellists, have a listen to Jacqueline du Pré, sadly lost to MS at age 42.

    Then again, there is the famous quote attributed to Sir Thomas Beecham, “Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands and all you can do is scratch it.” This was not refering to du Pré.

  54. Haggis, there’s a great movie based on the life of Jaqueline Du Pre, “Hilary and Jackie”. I really enjoyed the movie, but then I have no dog in the fight when it comes to a connection to the characters. Others seem to be less enthusiastic.

    When I read this, it strikes me that making a realistic movie about a real person is not something most relatives and friends of that person appreciate. One line in the movie really stays with me. When Jacky’s health is deteriorating and she is facing certain death of the most horrible kind, she makes a very up front play for a night in bed with her sister’s husband. When the sister objects there’s a very emotional scene in which Jacky’s pain and suffering is laid bare. The climax of the scene is when Jackie sobs at her sister, “It’s just a fuck.” Whereupon the sister and her husband give in to her wishes and let her have her mercy sex.

    For me, that scene showed compassion and empathy on the part of the sister and husband. It’s the way people who love somebody should see a request for sex under those circumstances. Like the film’s director, I found it very moving.
    But yes, what a tragedy. What a loss.

  55. Holms says:

    CD Toronto
    “The difference in pay is not a gender issue. The difference in pay is related to the profits generated by the movie.”

    Which can be swayed by the perception that a woman makes for a bad lead, much like other workplace hiring disparities can be influenced by public perception of women being bad at X work. And, the incidents I mentioned were cases of roughly equal billing; a female lead being paid more than a male support – and a male lead being paid more than a female support – is obviously not an issue. And fame is intangible, in that it can not be measured directly but can only be arrived at by measuring proxies for fame, eg. ticket sales.

    “One of the main drivers of the disparity for negotiated salaries is the fact that women tend to be more agreeable than men. They do not negotiate as hard.”

    We went over that before. Negotiations are undertaken by agents who get the best they think they can get away with – which is obviously open to influence about any implicit bias regarding the sexes. An agent that unconcsiously believes men warrant more compensation will not push as hard for a woman as for a man. And of course this is done without knowing what the other stars are recieving, making it impossible for an agent representing a woman to hold out for what the male co-lead is getting, and impossible for the female star to ‘choose to be paid less.’

    “Women have evolved to be more nurturing and less argumentative.”

    This claim has simply not been established at all.

    “I’m no expert of Cello virtuosity but could it be that the physical dimorphism of hand span give the average male cellist an advantage?”

    The comment you are responding to already answered that! Upon holding blind auditions and hence judged on music alone, they discovered that their choice was a woman “often,” which I think throws some water on the sexual dimorphism angle.

    Darwin Harmless
    My school must have been more progressive than I realised – it *only* had separate drinking taps!

  56. DC Toronto says:

    Holmes. Game is really just another word for sales. At least in most cases. I can’t think of an instance where they don’t go together.

    If you disagree then I would say the salary disparity is unrelated to fame or who has top billing- it is directly related to expected sales (and often actual sales when pay is determined by a % of sales). Either way you are suggesting that studios earn less by hiring women and paying the same rate (in situations where the woman sells fewer movies).

    The issue of negotiations were definitely not settled. You suggest it is not the woman’s responsibility to drive negotiatons as she wishes. That is a cop out and takes responsibility out of the woman’s hands. There are studies to confirm the differences in negotiating styles but I don’t have a link at this time. Watch Jordan Petersens interview on BBC for a primer in this. as for agents. They know what’s up in the industry. If a female star was underpaid then other agents would be pitching their services. Anything less would be a vast Hollywood agent conspiracy – which I assume you are not claiming- are you?

    DH. Interesting point as usual. I’ll look for the movie.

  57. DC Toronto says:

    Edit. First word should read “Fame”

  58. M27Holts says:

    We still had religious assemblies at high school (1976-1981). We used to sing the wrong words to the hymns and fart loudly during prayers….That’s schoolboys for you! Maybe the girls fart just as loudly in today’s school assemblies….

  59. HaggisForBrains says:

    DH – thanks for the review of the movie, which I missed. I might keep an eye out for it, but having watched my own wife die 5 years ago, I think it would be too hard for me to watch. I’m inclined to agree with your assessment of the mercy sex, but clearly a very difficult situation to deal with. It is not for us to judge others in a situation we have never had to face.


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