Monday, January 25, 2010

Sexism in America

Since we have a lot of female readers and bloggers, I want to bring your attention to a book entited, "Sexism in America: Alive and Well and Ruining Our Future,'' by Barbara J. Berg, Ph.D.

OK, things are obviously better for women than the days portrayed in the TV series "Mad Men'' and captured by Betty Friedan in "The Feminine Mystique.'' Those were the days when my wife could be told she wasn't getting a job because she was too cute and would flirt with the men even though she had a masters' degree.

But Barbara Berg argues that women haven't come as far as they think they have and that the cards are still stacked against them and it's hard to break the glass ceiling. In effect, she says it is still a man's world.

The book has gotten rave reviews with comments like "It will mostly likely blow your mind and change your life.''

So the women out there might want to read it and give it to their daughters to read.

Meanwhile, I'm curious what our bloggers think. Do you think women still have a long ways to go in our society?

Your thoughts?



  1. I personally take anything written by feminists about the status of women with a huge grain of salt (actually, I take almost everything I read by anyone with a huge grain of salt lol). I have zero patience for feminist theory and so would probably not be blown away if I read her book.

    Women, on the whole, are treated much more equally than they were 50 years ago. Sure, there's room for improvement, but that's the case about anything. I personally find that efforts to make sure that every woman in the workforce makes just as much (or more - equality never seems to actually be enough for a lot of feminists) are not quite as important as other social problems today (i.e. the fact that homosexuals still can't be legally married almost everywhere or the fact that there are places in the world where child prostitution is still big business).

  2. Personally, no. I think women have just as much opportunity as men, if not moreso. I mean when you consider there are grants and scholarships out there... and other benefits available to women that men can't get simply because they're men.

    I also think that opportunity is what you make of it. It all depends on your point of view. Most of the best selling authors out there are men. Am I going to bitch and moan simply because a man has more opportunity to get his book on the best sellers list than I do? Hell no...

    The only person you're competing in life with is yourself. People who constantly compare themselves, what they have and their achievements with those around them will never be happy with anything they get... even when their dreams are achieves. Someone else will always have more and that will be their focus.

    I feel sorry for women who get so wrapped up in what men have that they completely lose sight of what they've got right in front of them. Feminism shouldn't be a fight or struggle against society... it should be a state of being and way of thought. At least that's my view.

    Great topic, Sir... thanks!


  3. I can't really say it better than spirited and trueblue already did!

  4. Little Butterfly, i agree, they already said it very well.

  5. I am all over the place with this...I think of my self as a "reformed feminist". I worked full time whicle putting myself through college and raising 2 daughters with very little help from my ex-husband. We never had problems in out relationship until I made more monewy than him. All of a sudden when he saw I could pull it all off, he stopped trying altogether. I then went on to struggle working with various men in my department who all were given a higher pay and more opportunity to excel then I. In the end I burnt out trying to keep up with them (although buring through 3 men performing the same job as I continued through the years). Take it for what it is worth, I have seen the inability to not succeed as men do working harder and being paid less but in comparable positions (perhaps many times I would dare say I did far more).
    In the end I met someone that gave me the oppurtunity to be a stay at home mom / house wife and I can honestly say it is more work than I have ever put forth to ensure things are performed and taken care of to His expectation, at the same time I would not change it for the world.
    I would, having been there, and by choice...give up a career as a business woman competeing with men and being underpaid and over worked to going back to "the way things used to be" where I care for my family and although I may *still* be under appreciated at times, I totally see the outcome through my family's well being and happiness...

    Sorry if I got off topic...
    No, I have not read the book but I am definitely checking it out.

  6. I hate to disagree --

    oh -- who am I kidding -- I LOVE to disagree.

    In my field -- all the women I know start off as assistants or clerks -- men in their first job start as specialists or coordinators (2 years ahead of the women).

    I'm a manager with a staff -- but when I'm the only woman in a meeting, I'm still asked to take the notes on the meeting (which I refuse to do) -- and I still get to hear comments like, "no offense but the reason there's so much gossip is because that area is all women"

    We've come a long ways -- but we have a very long ways to go. I was hired for the same job at the same time as a male colleague of mine -- he was paid 15K more than I was (I found this out last year) I've been promoted twice -- he's still in the same job (HA!) I finally make more than him.

    Some of our problems as women we bring on ourselves -- women are less likely to apply for jobs unless they feel they already have the experience (men are more likely to assume that they'll learn OTJ) -- women are less likely to ask for the raise or promotion they deserve -- we are less likely to sing our own praises.

    I remember telling my mom I didn't think it was fair -- she told me "life's not fair -- go fight for what you want"

    Sexism lives -- (but it's very very sick -- and we'll kill it off soon)

  7. Okay I'm gonna play devil's advocate here and say... yes, sexism exists (but so does racism... and many other isms that are less than desirable). The thing women tend to forget, though, is that it goes both ways. Men are also discriminated against... yes, it's true!

    I know men who would prefer to stay home and be Mr. Mom (and some who do), and you wouldn't believe how they lose the respect of their families and friends. After all... they're men... men are supposed to go out and work! Not sit around on their lazy bums all day... and we women know (at least those of us who actually have been stay at home or work from home wives/mothers) that we do not spend the day just sitting on our bums and neither do these men. Taking care of the home is a full time thankless job with no benefits. So I applaud men who are willing to do it. It's not easy.

    Men are not supposed to cry... it makes them weak. But women are expected to cry.

    Men (and boys) can not have private clubs, but women (and girls) can. I'll give you an example. Here in Australia they had Boy Scouts and Girl Guides (sort of like Girl Scouts). Well there was a big to do about it and now it's called Scouts. Both girls and boys can join... yet the Girl Guides is still all girls. If men have their own clubs, it suddenly becomes an issue with the feminists... they turn it into this big thing and suddenly they're allowed in. But it's okay for women to have their own clubs.

    I think that the reason men have a tendency to underpay women in the business world is not because they don't feel women are capable. It's because many feminists don't truly believe in equality... they want women to essentially take over and "put men in their place". Honestly... do you think this attitude is going to make women's presence in the workplace a welcome thing?

    The truth is... men are feeling threatened by the feminist movement and rightly so. It's run by women who are men haters... I honestly don't blame men for their attitude toward women in the workplace as a whole. I'm not saying all women are like this, but that's the overall attitude of many women who are feminists.

    Men are instinctively warriors and hunters... it's genetics. So if you, as a woman, are going to move into a man's territory, you better adopt a warrior attitude. You have to think like a man... and fight like a man. If you can't do that, then honestly... you have no business going into that territory. In fact, many of those careers require that mentality in order to be successful... so having the "skills" sometimes isn't enough. Sfp's mom has the right idea... if you want something out of life, you better be prepared to fight for it.


  8. I started to write a long rebuttal spriited -- but I think I'll just agree to disagree.

    Thanks FD for the topic


  9. Thanks to all of you who commented for your thoughtful remarks. This is obviously a topic that stirs strong reactions among the bloggers and I always appreciate you sharing your views.

    I just wish sfp had given her rebuttal.


  10. "Men are instinctively warriors and hunters... it's genetics. So if you, as a woman, are going to move into a man's territory, you better adopt a warrior attitude. You have to think like a man... and fight like a man. If you can't do that, then honestly... you have no business going into that territory."

    I totally agree with you Spirited. I have no doubt that there are women out there who are still feeling the effects of sexism, but I also think that many women want the same things as men but are unwilling to work for it. They think it should just be handed to them. Perhaps there is still a problem with it, but I have not felt any sexism directed toward myself in the work place or elsewhere and so I can only speak from one side. I do not see sexism still prevelant in society and so I do not agree that we are still fighting for equal rights. In fact I have seen women treated better than men in the work place.

  11. OMG


    Women in this country continue to make 89 cents for every dollar earned by a man for the same job.

    Eighty - Nine - Cents

    Ask any man what "starting at the bottom" meant for them and they'll tell you about a Jr level job they did working on projects

    Ask any woman and they'll tell you they started as a receptionist or a clerk or a secretary.

    I hestitated to respond previously because -- frankly -- I work in the corporate world and some of the other commenters don't work in Corporate America.

    At my company I am THE ONLY woman in management at my location. Every Senior VP at my company (which caters to women) was male until last year.

    So I'll continue to fight the good fight -- but I'll be damned to be told there's no reason left to fight.