Baking Their Way To The Bonus: Gender Wage Gap

A recent article summarizes an event that occurred at a Utah High School that many perceived as a forward movement, as well as brought forth controversy. Members of the young democrats club at the high school prepared a bake sale where they sold cookies that cost either 77 cents or 1 dollar depending on if you are female (who paid 77 cents) or male (who paid 1 dollar). You may question why the difference in cost, as did I. The interesting answer is that these cookies were exactly the same. The students’ goal was to raise awareness about the unequal pay of women and men in the workforce for doing the exact same job.

“Because in America, for every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes 77 cents. So we’re raising awareness for this. So boys will pay a dollar and girls only pay 77 cents,” said Kari Schott, a member of the young democrats club. An aim was to show the men how it feels to lose the 23 cents, or how it feels to be at a disadvantage solely for the reason based of your gender. “They were really mad about it. They didn’t think it was fair and I said yeah, it’s not fair. That’s why we’re doing it.” Kari says of the complaints she received of the cost difference. People, especially young people going into the workforce, are unaware of the difference is one of the problems about the gap. One of the students shows this by not standing by the statistics used by the club, and by scrolling through the comments posted in response to the article. It is evident how many grown adults refuse to believe a gap exists or provide half-hearted excuses as to why it continues to exist. One man’s comment talks about the difference of men and women in the construction field, “most women would freak if they cut their finger off, a guy would probably duct tape it and work the rest of the day before leaving work.” I find this bias as it is fair to say that the majority of all gender identities would be worried if they cut their finger off, as well as patronizing women in this way is exactly one of the reasons why some women do not firstly consider pursuing after what would be considered male-hegemonic careers.

Historically, women in the workforce have always been at a disadvantage, with no political rights until the 1920’s. The few women who did work though were at disadvantage for pay wage far less than men because men were seen as the primary wage earners and entitled to a ‘family wage’ (Aulette and Wittner 196). It was not until World War II, when a high percentage of the men had to go to war, that women were able to obtain factory jobs temporarily. Even after proving themselves and the capabilities of women in the workforce and some proving they could do jobs better than some men, women were forced out of their jobs when the men returned home due to the expectation of women was to stay at home, care for the children and cook. This led to the Equal Pay act of 1963 when women were outraged, making it illegal to pay workers differently solely on the basis of gender. Unfortunately, this act has not been revised since its enactment.

Although there has been definite improvement over the last century regarding the pay differences, there is still an overwhelming 23% difference in overall earnings of men and women. It is a highly debated argument over the reasons for this difference, primarily; the accepted reasons are the gender segregation of the labor market and discrimination. There are certain careers that many people of a general western society believe fits a specific gender role, such as women as secretaries, nurses, teachers and waitresses and men being truck drivers, construction workers, engineers and doctors. Both lists are considered gender dominated because they have over 75% of one gender as employees and the fact of the matter is, that of these jobs with the exception of nurse/doctor, men have higher weekly wages. The big question is that with all the equality movements we (try) to have today, why are women still dominating lower status and paid careers? It is exactly because we do not have (gender) equality. Society still follows a patriarchal way of life, with women, for the most part being the primary caregivers of children and it seems like child bearing is still more valued than education and career building. Many think it as odd for a woman to wait until her thirties or to never even have kids at all, but if a man waits so he can build his career or decides never to have children, it is not seen as abnormal. Many also think the president should never be a female because males are a stronger political figure. Women are forced to take lower paying jobs or part time jobs if they are single mothers and usually do not have the opportunity to attend higher education if they had children young, whereas the men do. Statistics are even worse for minority mothers who have a wage gap of 54% to white, North American male earnings (Hill, Simple truth about Wage Gap). This shows the intersection that race plays along with gender that discriminates women among the work force. So, the specific job differences are said to account for approximately 16-18% of the earned differences seen, so what about the other 5-7%, what are the reasons for this difference? The answer is discrimination. Studies have shown that replacing a male’s resume with a female’s name, has a lower likelihood of earning a response and that the likelihood decreases for women with children compared to men with children (A Compressive vie of Women in the US Economy). Women on average, with the exact same education and work experience as a male of the same job will be offered a lower salary in an interview. Why? Discrimination.

Some believe it’s the women’s choices that cause the difference and we “would have equal pay if women made the same choices” (Farrell). How is that fair wen women are pushed aside because of their gender or because they have children or because men think they cannot handle constructive criticism? Some men in company-based jobs actively seek sabotage of women working up by supportive discouragement and condensing chivalry in fear of the profession become ‘female dominated’ and would be viewed as ‘women’s work’ (Aulette and Wittner 192). It is this type of worldview that gives rise to the inequalities of women in the workforce.

The awareness that the teenagers of the Utah high school did was something that many high school kids do not pay attention to, which are exactly the type of people who need to notice this issue. Not many know about this movement and it needs to be noted. It is their future to change we will be able to see one in the next few years.

Aulette, Judy Root., and Judith G. Wittner. “Gender and the Global Economy.” Gendered Worlds. New York: Oxford UP, 2014. 188-94. Print.

Hill, Catherine, Dr. “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2015).” AAUW: Empowering Women Since 1881. N.p., Mar. 2015. Web. 03 Apr. 2015.

‘’Why Men Earn More’’. Warren Farrell N.d. Web. Retrieved on March, 2015.

United States Congress Joint Economic Committee. Invest in Women, Invest in America: A Comprehensive Review of Women in the U.S. Economy. Washington, DC, December 2010.


Respect Lost Due to Lack of Cultural Knowledge?

Reviewing “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses”, âpihtawikosisân, a Métis woman from the Plains Cree speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta, provides information related to what is the establishment of cultural appropriation, concentrating in depth headdresses in native cultures (âpihtawikosisân, “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses). In the beginning of the article, it discusses which items are restricted symbols such as, those that “represent achievements earned according to specific criteria”. Throughout the article there is an explanation of certain items that are non-restricted, and free for all people to legitimately access such that they do not “mock, denigrate or perpetuate stereotypes” (âpihtawikosisân, “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses). Whether a person believes that they are entitled to be allowed to wear this type of headdress is irrelevant, and unless they “are a native male from a Plains nation who has earned a headdress, or [they] have been given permission to wear one”, it is disrespectful to do so (âpihtawikosisân, “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses). She directs her main focus on the meaning and symbol of the headdress, which are worn and belong to various Plains nations. Illustrated through beaded moccasins, native art, there are other ways that a person can admire and respect this culture appropriately, without being profane, as there are “legitimate and unrestricted items crafted and sold by aboriginal peoples” (âpihtawikosisân, “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses).

Continuing in various forms, certain emblems are restricted to only those who are a part of the heritage they arise from. A person may not belong to this certain heritage, due to the fact that they have not been given the rare entitlement by being born into it, or otherwise considered a part of this specific heritage from other exclusive means by other members on the inside, they should not bear these restricted and special aspects, as they are held exclusively for those who have earned the right to assume them (Culture in Development, “What is Cultural Heritage”). People, who are not part of the culture, fail to participate in the rights to practice it; therefore have no justified reason to appropriate and respect these restricted emblems. For example, a person who is not of South-Asian descent, specifically from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, or Sri Lanka, should not wear the forehead decoration of a bindi. It holds great religious meaning as well as cultural significance, and is more than just an aesthetic seen upon others in these countries who refuse to understand the true entitlement of this forehead piece (Aran, “Take That Dot Off Your Forehead and Stop Trying to Make Bindis Happen”).

It is clear in this article that it is disrespectful to appropriate restricted symbols of any culture if the person doing so is not part of the culture, or has not earned proper permission to bear it. This constitutes cultural appropriation, and it is improper and acts as an obstacle for respecting the culture (âpihtawikosisân, “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses). This article brings forward thought-provoking ideals that go against the common misconception that bearing these sacred items is a form of appreciation for the religion and culture itself. There are other means to do so, without being offensive and disrespectful to the specific culture. The act of appropriating something, is harmful when the source community is a minority group that has been oppressed or exploited in other instances, such as the ways, historically, Indigenous peoples and native groups in North America have been, due to settler colonialism (Tolmie, March 9 2015). Therefore, it is important to understand the importance of the symbol of the headdress in the Plains native cultures. An example of this is when European colonizers had located what is now Canada, the inhabitants and indigenous peoples of the land were abused, killed, and stripped of their customs, forcing them into assimilation, through means of the Residential Institution Schools, that had the policy and vision of removing young First Nations children from the influence of their families and culture to assimilate them into the dominant Anglo-Christian and Catholic culture (Indigenous Foundations, “The Residential School System”).

In today’s day and age, these same sacred objects which hold great significance, are treated as mere aesthetics and accessories by not only members of the same dominant culture that once affronted them, but other people whom similarly may not have the proper education on the historical meaning behind these objects. Furthermore, if members who are a part of the culture are sometimes restricted to bear these emblems, such as women in Native Plains culture who rarely earn the right to bear the headdress, or few men in South-Asian culture who can not wear bindis in the decorative fashion, there should be no justification that the limitation goes further than stand against those who are associated with the culture these emblems come from. If otherwise, stereotypes are crated and members of the culture are dehumanized such that these symbols are seen as representative of an image of “authentic” members of those who practice it. Dehumanizing creates the conditions of these people, adding to the negative possibilities leading towards racism, violence, and other harm. As Cornell West famously stated, “Justice is what love looks like in public”, the publicity of these symbols brought by those who do not have the right to bear them is wrongful, and the people have a lack of knowledge. There are clear boundaries that cultures have put forth that should not be crossed by those outside of it nor those who do not seek interest in the culture.

    Works Cited

Aran, Isha. “Take That Dot Off Your Forehead and Quit Trying to Make Bindis Happen.” Jezebel. N.p., 16 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
“What Is Cultural Heritage.” – Culture in Development. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
âpihtawikosisân. “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses.” âpihtawikosisân. N.p., 10 Feb. 2012. Web. 06 Mar. 2015.
“The Residential School System.” Indigenous Foundations. University of British Columbia, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

Film Review: “The Way He Looks”

The humble and engaging film, “The Way He Looks” is one that leaves the audience with a new perspective and awareness towards each character. Ghilherme Lobo (Leonardo) has appeared in films such as Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho (2010) and Má Adolescência that is announced to release in 2016. This film is the classic modern love story with a twist everyone will enjoy and be infatuated by. Leonardo is a blind teenager seeking independence and in hope of love, as he struggles through high school humiliated. His friendship with Giovanna played by Tess Amorim allows Leonardo to see what she sees; understanding that their friendship is uncommon but the bond they share between the two of them is remarkable. The movie is simply about blind love. Leonardo becomes friends with a new student and instantly falls in love with Gabriel, unknowing at this point what Gabriel’s feelings are towards him. This film is unordinary as it features a queer love coming of age story, having a wonderful way of displaying what teenagers go through dealing with these emotions and experiences in their daily life. Leo does not want his disability to prevent others form treating him differently and unusual. The film is portrayed with extreme care and tenderness, along with a sense of insight on Leo that once the first kiss happens it has the viewers at surprise yet entirely waiting on the special moment. Ribeiro demonstrates how young love sparks into an inspirational and developing time in ones life. Ghilherme Lobo who plays Leo possesses strength and courage of Fabio Audi who play’s Gabriel is creatively shown as this typical love story out folds. During the final scenes in Leo’s bedroom are a romantic portrayal of average everyday young couple first experiences together; anxious, nervous, yet eager. Gabriel doesn’t hold back as he mentions the fact he remembers their first kiss, and is interested in experiencing a more serious connection with that person. As Leo begins to comprehend that Gabriel is speaking about himself it initiates the two not holding back, quickly expressing their feelings out loud. This film is a romance about seeking love, expressing it in the most sophisticated yet sensational experience.

The most alluring scene that stands out in my mind is when Leo was searching for Gabriel and he stumbles upon him swimming and flirting with Katrina. This strikes to Leo’s head making him jealous and hurt, forcing him to calm himself by walking away. Soon after, Giovanna is surprised and approaches Leo as he then reveals his new feelings towards Gabriel. Giovanna reacts by saying “she never knew Leo like that” leaving her to walk away. Giovanna then finds Leo once again, sits down and hugs him. This scene strikes as one of the most important because it is when Leo has the courage to come out to his best friend. Having this new information makes Giovanna and Leo’s friendship stronger than it was ever before.

Leo has a challenge of being blind and he is unable to participate in some everyday activities such as shaving which can be seen as Hegemony Masculinity. Being a man and having a social norm of masculinity set by society, a common daily job is to shave, but he is incapable to complete this task without his father’s guidance. Leo never expressed his sexual attraction towards anyone prior to Gabriel. Continuously through out the film Leo was teased about different judgments others had towards his disability, but Sex-Role Learning can be seen as one of the tormenters, intimidate Leo as they yell out slangs suggesting that he should be walking Giovanna home as the male figure would be seen to do instead of him needing her help to get home. Assuming that Leo might have been into her, Giovanna did not consider him as possibly homosexual until he came out to her while camping, which can be seen as Compulsory Heterosexuality. This film illustrates Homophobia from Leo’s classmates regularly calling out names and bullying, using the phrase “Is that your new boyfriend”. Leo’s frustration and tolerance towards his peers came to an end as he clutched Gabriel’s hand in response to the intimidators, which in turn silenced them.

The festival taken place on the weekends were excellent experience for everyone who went, as it was a chance to see movies that would not be regularly broadcasted in the big screen or advertised on television. Students wouldn’t regularly attend movies like this so for this festival to take place it allowed a new sense of knowledge and appreciation through recommendation of this course. The Grand Theatre and Downtown Kingston has a wonderful layout and the location of the festival made it more enjoyable for the students. I think this festival will hopefully encourage students to respect and value the culture and social aspects we currently live in. Overall the festival had a great turn out and was well organized, it was a very good success.