All employers are not alike. Making blanket assertions about the entire workforce on the basis of cross-employer comparisons is ingenuous. Some employers pay more, some pay less. Everybody knows Microsoft pays less than industry standard wages and salaries, and that an administrative assistant at Big Green is unlikely to take home as much on payday as he or she would at, say, a unionized giant like Boeing or United Parcel Service.
Even belonging to a union doesn't guarantee you'll make the same as someone who belongs to the same union you do, does the same job you do, but works for a different company. A riveter at a Chrysler plant can't necessarily expect the same pay as a riveter at a Saturn plant.
Feminist Shell Game
All employers are not alike. Regardless of how you feel about that, the femigogues serve no one except themselves by playing a shell game where the equal pay for equal work pea starts out under the shell of each individual employer over here, and suddenly shows up under the collective shell of all employers over there.
Telling all employers they have to pay the same wage as everyone else for the same job is a form of price control -- fixing the price of labor. We have seen what price fixing does to the economies of socialist nations.
Indeed, those of us who were old enough to be driving cars in the early 1970s during Richard Nixon's Republican Administration saw what fixing gasoline prices did -- we all got to sit in long lines at the gas station. We even make it illegal for American companies to cooperate with one another to fix prices, because it crowds out competition from smaller and new businesses. New businesses like the many owned by women.
Fixing the price of labor would not only set a dangerous precedent for the rest of our economy, but would harm the thousands of new women-owned businesses, who, because they are new and small, cannot afford to pay the high wages unionized giants do.
Our semi-free market economy recognizes this. It recognizes that all employers are not alike. Complaining because a 19-year-old woman who works as a receptionist for Nora's 3-year-old Accounting Temporary Agency makes less than a desk sergeant at the local Precinct Office ignores dozens, if not hundreds of relevant factors.
Does the young receptionist have to face belligerent and potentially dangerous "clients" on a daily basis? Our desk sergeant does. Does she have to know the law? Our desk sergeant does. Does she need a thorough knowledge of how to handle calls from suicidal patrons? Of civil emergency procedures? Conflict resolution? Dispatch? Our desk sergeant does.
Times Have Changed
Thirty years ago, our receptionist would have found it difficult if not impossible to become a desk sergeant. Even if she made it, she probably would have been paid less than her male coworkers. That was sex discrimination at its most blatant, and today, thanks to the efforts of feminists and equalitarians, it's illegal.
All other legitimate factors, like years on the job, experience, knowledge, and competence being equal, the legal pay scale is supposed to be, or ought to be, the same ... for each individual employer. If Company X pays its receptionists on the same scale regardless of sex, the fact it may pay less than Company Y pays its receptionists is irrelevant in the context of sex discrimination.
In individual cases where employers do discriminate on the basis of sex, concerned parties (feminists? the media?) should pinpoint those specific cases and expose them. The whiners who complain of some general fog of discrimination, however, who make wild assertions and glibly speak in glittering generalities about the male backlash against women, put themselves in the same rank as Adolf Hitler and his rants about "oppressive" Jews.
Legal v. Illegal Discrimination
Everywhere we turn, there is discrimination of one kind or another. Some is illegal, some is not; some we should do something about, some we can not. Most men still discriminate against fat women, most women still discriminate against men who are nerds or make less money than they do.
In response to the former, we have "fat feminists," who manage to grab the spotlight every once in a while by burning Barbie dolls in public. In response to the latter, we have Rush Limbaugh, a fat nerd who has never known what it's like to be poor. Proof, I think, that the Divine has a sense of humor.
Speaking of Rush Limbaugh, on his May 17, 1996, HBO show, "Dennis Miller Live," Miller lambasted Limbaugh as anti woman:
"No man -- no man -- is more threatened than Rush Limbaugh, who is the quintessential male anti feminist."
I don't much care for Rush, but I do care about being fair and telling the truth. Truth is, time and again Rush has affirmed he supports equal rights, equal pay for equal work, and so on. Unfortunately, he also keeps mouthing off about how feminism is for ugly women who can't get a date. Obviously, he's never attended a National Organization for Women (NOW) meeting.
Why White Knights?
Why do you think so many otherwise fair-minded men set aside all rationality and sense of fairness to support NOW's anti male, misandristic policies? Because NOW has been so successful at recruiting young, physically attractive women. And because of the women's studies programs on college campuses, where the feminist pedagogues teach the most intelligent and privileged young women in the world to believe they are, of all people, most oppressed; and where go the girls, the boys amble quickly after.
If a WonderBra bearing babe tells Chip Studmuffin she's oppressed, his little head will nod in agreement. Nod, bounce, march, protest, condemn the cadaver in Gross Anatomy of leering, if that's what it takes, anything to get her to look at him with wide eyed admiration and let him find out for himself just how much of that cleavage is for real.
So, otherwise sensible men like Dennis Miller stand erect and proudly ejaculate, "A million woman march is being planned for mid June here in LA, and I think that's a good idea; and hey, ladies, while you're all up will you get us all a beer?"
Ya gotta love this guy.
Rod Van Mechelen
Rod Van Mechelen is the author of What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues: The Male-Positive Perspective (the page now includes several articles by other authors), and the publisher of The Backlash! @ Backlash.com. He is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and served for 9-1/2 years on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council.