Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Rebuttal

Bobert? Oh, Bobert? k has something to say to you. To refresh your memory:


The sad part is that while we as a nation were working on solving workplace inequities, wages nosedived when millions of women entered the workplace quite willing to work for less. And I'm not trying to stir up a political firestorm either, it's just a fact.

Basic supply and demand... millions more willing workers at every skill level in every occupation flooding the market suppressed wages, and they've stayed suppressed.

And I hear you, too, bobert.

I understand your sense of loss, at least as well as someone like me can. The world you'd envisioned, the one that seemed promised to you, didn't come through for you.

But to me?

That lost world was intrinsically unfair to women, and to many others.

An employer willing to discriminate against women, blacks, and others is certainly ready and willing to treat white males unfairly as well. I have never ignored that fact.

Once you know them to discriminate, you have seen their true character. Even if you're a member of the only group they seem willing to employ, their character is clear; and you should understand immediately that you may not have a fair future with them.

That *two parent/one working* family many envisioned was one where the man worked outside the home, and the woman inside. Not necessarily by choice. That was never a goal I worked toward, myself.

My own goal, from my earliest memories, was to be a free and self-supporting person. That meant taking personal responsibility for my financial life, too. When women are forced by law and/or custom to depend upon someone else for their income, for their food and medicine and the roof over their head, for their children, they are not free.

They are not allowed to take true personal responsibility for their own lives. So, to add insult to injury, they are scorned as being not quite responsible people. Not quite mature and grown up.

That goal you describe as something mutually sought sounds a bit like this: Woman marries man, bears and raises his kids; man brings home bacon. Woman worked like a dog - but not for money. Therefore, she wasn't entitled to Social Security benefits when she became disabled or old; neither was she usually allowed benefits under any of the welfare programs now in place. Those were reserved for the *working* people: men.

You may not have gotten paid fairly for your work, given your background. How would you feel if you weren't even allowed to get that kind of background in the first place?

See, women did enter the military and college, but it was extremely difficult, and rare. The veteran preference, plus that 2-year college degree you got, were essentially unavailable to even well-qualified women.

I was born in 1958. My first job, 15 years later - where I had to lie about my age to get a job - was $1.25 per hour.

Four years later, I worked for the US Post Office. It was considered a decent blue-collar job. Something a man could raise a family on.

I was the first woman working my shift at that post office. Ever. My presence was deeply resented; I was told more than once, with bitter venom, that I was stealing food from a good man by taking that job. Oh, stealing the food right out of his children's mouths, I was.

It was hard to get that PO job, even though I scored extremely high on my entrance exam. See, there were a lot of military vets coming home looking for civilian work. They got a 10-point preference on the test. Affirmative Action for Veterans.

What what happened with me at the post office was this: women were now granted a point preference too. Since I scored so high to begin with, this didn't actually affect me, but the men working there assumed it did.

I bore the brunt of their anger and hatred for some time. It was really vicious, but I won't bore you with the grisly details. However: At 5' 2" and 105 pounds, I unloaded the semi-trucks, etc. at about twice the production rate of the men. After the first several months, most of my (still 100% male) coworkers felt much differently about me. By the time I quit, I'd become a sort of mascot, a welcomed and even loved co-worker. The few holdouts who still spat on the ground in front of me, etc., did it rarely, any more.

It's not that employers threw open their doors to hire women because they suddenly realized we'd be cheaper to employ than men. We had to get the right to work by filing nasty lawsuits. Ones that, I think, most of us would have greatly preferred to do without. And I really do think those lawsuits that said we should get paid the same as men when we do the same job, should be prima facie evidence that we didn't actually choose to work for less money. We took it because it was a choice between unfair employment or no employment at all.

Starvation, especially if you have dependants, is not Taking Personal Responsibility. Not at all.

To have you or your kids do without essentials because women can't work, or get paid much less for the same job, then to be told we are irresponsible for that very act of working, is not just.

To be blamed for ruining the economic lives of everyone around us for doing so isn't just, either.

I truly do sympathize with you for your sense of loss. That ideal of a one working parent golden age is lamented by many. However: I also believe that what was lost was a position of superiority that was unearned, unmerited, and undeserved. In other words, the loss of something that didn't belong to those people in the first place.

So while I feel for you and others as individuals, I feel no sympathy for that group of society as a whole. I never stole food out of their mouths. They did steal it out of mine.

And I feel a powerful sense of gladness at the sight of young women today, going into the workplace with the firm - not quite accurate, but firm - belief that by working just as hard as a man they can get just as good a job, and get paid the same amount that the man does.

Even though those same young women have absolutely no idea what women like me went through to get them there.

I hope you have daughters or granddaughters or nieces, so that you can be happy for them, instead of sorry at losing what was not really so right after all.



Judge Well Ye Wolves said...

Gosh darn those (white people, indentured servants, black people, irish, german, slavic, polish, WWII DP's, female, asians, russians, indo-pak) coming here and ruining a perfectly good thing. Signed, Bent Reed, Iroquois Nation.
I do not mean to make light of your feelings, Bobert, but the message of the last two hundred years is clear. Get better at what you do, personally and collectively. If you do not, you will be replaced. My grandparents, in the 30's and 40's concurrently worked at jobs, raised chickens to sell, and ran a small grocery store. Not to get rich, not to live the American dream- merely to survive. They had to get good at what they did. They were, when they started out, the "low-priced" people you say depress wages so much. I also remember my grandfather being upset later in life because people from the south (black and white) were getting jobs up north, accepting lower wages. He was using the same language you use about women entering the workforce. He wasn't a racist or disliked Southerners, but he understood street economics as well as anyone.

Anonymous said...

Your (k's) remarks about social security are wrong. Social Security has always maintained a provision for married women who did not work so that they would receive benefits on the death of their husbands commensurate with the husbands' benefits -- until their own deaths. The re-vivified Equal Rights Amendment would, if ever passed, do away with that provision as it is clearly a gender-conscious piece of the law that specifically calls out for the protection of non-working wives.

However much your own personal story might be compelling -- the facts are still useful for the debate.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually enter into these arguments, it's for the market place to decide how to handle this. Unfortunately it's not allowed to. Since it's all about quotas in any large to middling sized work place "getting better" doesn't wash, unless getting better means starting your own business and staying away from government jobs which are "minority" havens.

I've been watching Euro demographics for years and was writing about the "Islamicizing" of Europe way before it was fashionable (the first article I wrote about this was in 1989). The society we have now in the west is largely unsustainable and is about to be supplanted by those who makes Bobert's notions of gender relations seem quaint in comparison. It's ironic that several generations of "gender equalization" always lead to a thousand, or more, years of woman as slaves. Your Sistas' of the future will revere your freedoms but if they understand, which likely they won't, will curse your short sighted and self centered "victories".

At the end of the day men will always dominate. You might have convinced white western males of your elevated place, but they will disappear soon, a fate which we deserve in my mind, and be replaced with something entirely different and not at all willing to feel guilt or shame about your enslavement. Good luck.

Chris Rywalt said...

Anon sez:
Social Security has always maintained a provision for married women who did not work so that they would receive benefits on the death of their husbands commensurate with the husbands' benefits -- until their own deaths.

Did you read what K wrote? "...she wasn't entitled to Social Security benefits when she became disabled or old..." (Emphasis mine.)

Married "non-working" women were (and are, I imagine) eligible for Social Security on the death or disability or retirement of their husbands. A woman who is a homemaker or a housewife or whatever who becomes disabled or reaches retirement age gets nothing, and back in the "golden" 1950s wasn't eligible for anything else, either.

Although that wasn't exactly gender specific, and still isn't. If I became disabled, I'm not sure I'd be eligible for much of anything, either, as a stay-at-home dad. Although I can't be certain since I haven't looked into it and don't know much about it.

Chris Rywalt said...

EN sez:
You might have convinced white western males of your elevated place, but they will disappear soon, a fate which we deserve in my mind, and be replaced with something entirely different and not at all willing to feel guilt or shame about your enslavement.

This is one of the stupidest things I've read in a long time.

Anonymous said...

Well at least now you know not to read what I write. And thanks for the strong rebuttal. It makes me want to rethink my position with such rational argument.

Chris Rywalt said...

The trouble is, what you wrote is so staggeringly ignorant, so wildly wrong, it's impossible for me to coherently refute. It's like trying to argue that black people really are just as good as whites -- our disagreements are so basic, so far down the chain of reasoning, we don't even have a common ground on which to argue.

Anonymous said...

My arguments mostly have to do with Western man, which arguably would include black men in the US, although not so much in Europe.It's not a racial thing, it's a cultural thing. Western civilization, which was run by white men (primarily) has folded up its tents and left the ground to anyone who wants it. Quotas, of which I've had to deal with, are so prevalent as to make a mockery of best man/womman/whatever.

Pretty Lady said...

it's impossible for me to coherently refute.

Of course it is, Chris my dear. Refutation is not your job. It is mine.


At the end of the day men will always dominate.

EN! My darling, my dear, please dominate me! Yes, yes! Ah, oh, oooo! Wheee! Uh, uh, uh, uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh.

Whoops! Just kidding.

Hee hee hee hee hee.

Chris Rywalt said...

EN sez:
It's not a racial thing, it's a cultural thing.

I didn't misunderstand you. I just brought that up as a similarly difficult argument.

As far as PL's refutation, I am now deeply frightened.

Pretty Lady said...

You should be. Never forget that the power to Point and Laugh transcends just about any other.

Anonymous said...


Sorry, PL, I usually leave my pot-stirring stick over at Vox's.

Ok "k"....

Any employer is going to use the cheapest labor available, unless required by law to do otherwise. That is their true character. Their goal is to make money. Labor is just another resource, the cheaper the better.

We--as employees--male, female, white, black, ad nauseum, just love to label that as "unfair" to somebody, maybe a lot of somebodys, and just as soon as a female or a black is plopped into the mix, it becomes "discrimination" or "racist", or "sexist".

That's why Unions were established, as a voice for us workers, to force business to treat us well enough to survive.

Two things effectively destroyed the Unions, themselves, and a relentless assault by business owners who resented not having things their way, 100%.

With the Unions mostly eliminated, disgraced(by criminal leaders) and rendered fangless by endless lawsuits and legal gyration, we started relying on government to protect us from the typical characteristics and practices of business towards employees.

Result? Business everywhere has bought and paid for government everywhere. So we now have 12 million illegals working for less than you will(Bush belief), good jobs exported offshore, wages stagnant or falling, benefits evaporating.

Your own stated goal to be free and self-supporting person is laudable. We all want that, it's always been a common goal, but now both businees and government are working hand-in-hand to make that impossible.

The only "free" women, or men, for that matter, are the Bill and Melinda Gates in our society.

I described NO goals. I merely related personel events.

A higher education, college, has ALWAYS been available to women, but in the past it was typically for the rich and pampered, not the "ordinary"(not meant as a put-down) female as it is today. Today, there are more women going to college than men and as a result, getting higher wages then men.

Your job experiences as described, is nothing exceptional. you started off as a teenager, made crappy wages, and then ran into the oh-so-typical crap at the post office. But you worked your way through it... remarkable. Sort of a conflicting thing there tho... you bragging about becoming a "mascot"...

You did mention the 10 ten point test preference for vets. You did not mention the point preferences for women and minorities. Those do exist.

Past that point you pretty well went into soap-boxing. Nothing wrong with that... it's one of my favorite sports also.

I have no "sense of loss". Things are the way they are, period. However, had I been born with that "silver spoon" in my mouth, I may have retired a bit more comfortably, OR have been dead from a drug overdose, or some other excess the rich typically indulge themselves with.

The millions of women who entered the labor force during and after WW2 did suppress wages, of that there is no doubt. That business's took advantage of the larger labor force is undeniable. To indicate that I am blaming women for "ruining the ecomonic lives of everyone" is low, very low.

It is primarily corporate America that has done that. They have estimated just how little we can survive on without rebellion. They have no interest in seeing us prosper. They are interested only in power and wealth... their own.

But now, those very corporations are going offshore to use people who will be content with even less. So the powers that be are now depending on TV as entertainiment and as a propaganda machine to keep us inline, even as we sink ever closer to being a third-world society.

The elite in this nation--and others--have decided that it will be their children to be our next leaders, their children only to be the next generation of the rich and powerful. Not us, not our children.

And they have engineered the system--our government and our schools--to guarantee this.

And.. worst of all... they have skillfully turned us against ourselves, man against woman, black against white.

So don't toss any more barbs at me... We're in the same sinking boat.

Anonymous said...


With apologies to PL -

I seemed to have killed the 'harlot' thread over there. Hypocritical assholes won't even argue the point, because they can't without lying.

EP seems to have a special place in his heart for you. Why he does is beyond me, since he sees you as all that is unholy wrapped up into a tempting, home-destroying, pantheistic Babylonian Queen of Whores. Or, as they say in Bensonhurst, "hoowahs." I am unclear why he feels this way, except that you are one of the few female voices that disagree with the chorus. Nate, well he pretty much hates everything North of the Mason-Dixon line. Still, while he is completely convinced he is right about everything, you will notice he did allow for God's grace in his arguments, buried though it was in invective.

Pretty Lady said...

I am crestfallen. Here I thought I'd killed the 'harlot' thread, with my suggestion that the fact of forgiveness literally obviates the sin. But I allow that this may merely be because I had already been written off as a lunatic, and not from any devastating reasoning on my part.

EP has a special place in his heart for me because I remind him of his aunt Polly, of course.

Nate and I are getting along famously since I told him what I thought of him. Or at least, I'm getting a belly laugh out of him; he may well still be festering in impotent resentment, but that is his lookout. That cockroach comment had me rolling on the floor.

Anonymous said...

When fretting about the offshoring of jobs, it might be useful to consider that the people taking the jobs are, well, people. They are also little guys doing the best they can, just like we are.

I think that it's futile to try to build a wall around one country in the world today, and try to make our country successful independent of others. It might work for a little while. But if laws are too difficult for people (or companies), they will circumvent them. If it is very expensive to do business in one country, many companies will give up or decamp.

The only hope for long-term peace and prosperity in the United States, I believe, is to work toward creating long-term peace and prosperity in most places. I think there will always be some background level of strife and economic chaos in the world, because thet's how people are.

But resisting the forces of globalization is like resisting the tide. Good luck.

Change is inevitable. If we accept that, maybe we can direct it in some small ways. World Bank-style economic initiatives have not spread much peace or prosperity, to say the least. Whereas, corporate outsourcing of factory-type jobs to poorer regions of the world has created some jobs and helped some people out. It's created a lot of problems as well.

Industrialization created a lot of upheaval in the U.S., too. I think these things have to happen; but maybe the world can learn from the experiences of the older industrialized nations, to shorten the time of turmoil and chaos for newly industrializing nations?

Improved health care without improved education or economic opportunities has wreaked havoc on subsistence-level families worldwide, creating an unsustainable population boom. If those of us in rich countries wish our children to be as comfortable as we are, I think we need to consider the victims of this population boom and rapid industrialization as our brothers and sisters on the planet, not as the competition.

I am not suggesting that we throw a lot of money at USAID (which is a farm and corporate subsidy that undermines food independence and small farmers in other countries). I am mostly suggesting that considering the poor of the world, and even the corporations offshoring jobs, as "the problem," will not improve our situation.

Whereas seeing the poor of the world as people who are trying to get by; and seeing corporations as big, powerful entities trying to grow; I think those are realistic viewpoints. Only by understanding others - even the "enemy" - can you move beyond the status quo.

Previous rich-nation efforts at improving the condition of the global poor have not been very effective. But I don't think this means we ought to give up or say it can't be done. I think it means we need to ask lots of questions and listen humbly to the answers, wherever they come from.


Chris Rywalt said...

Crom suggests:
[Pretty Lady is] all that is unholy wrapped up into a tempting, home-destroying, pantheistic Babylonian Queen of Whores.

That sounds about right, actually. It's why I like her.

Chris Rywalt said...

Hey, Beck, didn't anyone tell you this is the Internet? You're not supposed to be rational and reasonable here!

Anonymous said...

Beck, you rock!

Where is this babylonian whore business going on? Sounds like fun!

Pretty Lady said...

Yes, she DOES rock, doesn't she.

I offer my sincere apologies; it does appear that we were being cliquish. The horror! You would never want to be in a clique with these people. Pretty Lady has ever struggled with Low Tastes.

Anonymous said...


I guess my point, "you are one of the few female voices that disagree with the chorus" got totally eclipsed by the whole Babylonian whore-queen thing.

This is the part I never understood. If you are indeed guilty of Cyber-Adultery Most Vile, why do they not condemn Vox for his sin and elevate SB to saintly status? Rather, they want to stone the woman from Samaria and ignore the other Guilty Party.

I enjoy hanging out at Vox's since the people there are spirited and bigoted, yet many of them possess an above-average intelligence that is rare at many political blogs, and will offer real argument on just about anything. Well-reasoned, and thoughtful argument rather than the usual "Well if you feel that way you must be a Nazi/commie/pinko/idiot/Republican/Democrat/moron etc. Most of them will offer sound logic, and no matter your stance, you will find someone who will fight with you.

There is a wide cast of characters there, the place is certainly not an echo chamber. From our gracious hostess here to the occasional acid wit of Bane, Vox's is like the diner you always wanted to find, where the food is good and the conversations lively. If you can stand to hear opposing argument on just about everything, it's a interesting place to hang.

Pretty Lady said...

why do they not condemn Vox for his sin and elevate SB to saintly status? Rather, they want to stone the woman from Samaria and ignore the other Guilty Party.

Good heavens, Crom, I am certain that everyone has forgotten about that piece of malicious slander except you and SB, who will only attain beatitude when she is assumpted into Heaven and can thus no longer sully her image by opening her mouth. Not even wilful bigots are that entirely blind to character.

No, the garbage I get, apart from SB's transparent malice, is in my opinion entirely due to the fact that I am female, not avowedly anti feminist, and have some unconventional notions on spirituality that intelligent people find baffling and stupid people find threatening. Most of them are far more courteous to me than I would expect them to be.

Anonymous said...

Gee, and I thought you never listened to me.

Desert Cat said...

EP's strident objections are amusing given the degree to which Catholicism has mixed with Roman paganism and other indigenous beliefs over the centuries.

Anonymous said...

My Northern Irish family is Catholic, and our branch here in America is Protestant. This has provided some lively arguments betimes, but in the end blood still is thicker than dogma, at least in Clan Crom.

The US branch of my family were nominally Catholic until my great-grandfather got into a spirited debate with His Excellency Michael Augustine Corrigan, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York and told him to shove one of the spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral up his fookin' arse.

After that, we were suddenly Protestant.

I do not have any animosity against the Catholic Church, and even dated a few Catholic girls in my younger years. Even if I were inclined to convert to Catholicism which I am not, I would be the first Crom stateside to do so, and that distinction is one I would rather not have.

k said...

Bobert, thanks for getting back to me on this. I'm slow - very slow - but I was interested in what you'd say.

I'll be back to you soon. Just...slow, I am.

Chris Rywalt said...

It may be too late for some of you, but for everyone else, here's the word: Fat Catholic school girls. That is all.