Embittered women

In the past couple of days, I’ve read more than a few articles in which liberal women express incendiary anger about Sarah Palin. I blogged yesterday about Michelle Cottle’s screed, and today read equally over-the-top material from Judith Warner (h/t The Anchoress) and Heather Malick (h/t Small Dead Animals).  In each of these articles, women complain that those who play by feminism’s rules are kicked in the teeth and that Quislings like Sarah Palin get rewarded with perks and praise.  Never mind that their feminine ideal, Hillary, got ahead the old-fashioned way, by marriage.  It was her rhetoric, not her conduct, that appealed.

I find the attitude these women express interesting, because I understand it so well.  When I worked at my first law firm, I was a horrible employee because I had all these ideas that, as a woman who paid full (and sincere) lip service to feminism’s principles, I was entitled to special treatment.  I couldn’t understand why the men who started the same year as I did were treated better and liked more — overlooking completely the fact that they worked harder, complained less, and contributed more.  I was a woman!  Didn’t “they” understand that?

Incidentally, I didn’t arrive at this self-serving, egotistical hubristic attitude on my own.  My year was the year the law firm decided to embrace diversity and hired a large group of whiny women, African-Americans and gays.*  We knew we were affirmative action hires but, instead of being grateful, we felt we were owed more than just a job.  We expected to be coddled and given opportunities notwithstanding our failure to earn them.

As the years went by, we were horrified by how obvious it was that the firm powers didn’t like us.  It never occurred to us that we were neither likable nor beneficial to the firm’s business.  Eventually, I jumped ship for a different firm where, with a clean slate, I started to learn to be a lawyer and not a feminist.  The rest of the malcontents with whom I’d worked were all fired summarily a short time later as part of a — ahem — “cost cutting” move.

Reading the articles to which I’ve linked, it’s apparent that many American women still live in the “you owe me” bubble.  Worse, since they seldom get what they feel they’re owed, they find themselves embittered — and, sadly, without even having the countervailing consolation of guns and God.


*This is not to imply that women, gays and African-Americans are whiny.  It is to say that this particular group of women, gays and African-Americans, all of whom believed they were entitled to special treatment because of their non-white male status, were in fact whiny.

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  • suek

    >>Reading the articles to which I’ve linked, it’s apparent that many American women still live in the “you owe me” bubble. Worse, since they seldom get what they feel they’re owed, they find themselves embittered>>

    As do many blacks. Same same.

  • dg

    Women are paid less than men in nearly every job (I believe that modelling and porn are two notable exceptions). Are you suggesting that it has to do with the fact that they are systematically more annoying employees with an outsized sense of entitlement than men? What stats do you have to prove this? If not, then what is your explanation for this obvious and highly quantifiable gender-based discrepancy/inequality? Let’s have a serious discussion here…

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Dg’s question is a tar baby about comparable worth. I advise my readers to ignore it.

  • dg

    “Tar baby” refers to any “sticky situation” that is only aggravated by additional contact. The only way to solve such a situation is by separation. Since when is asking for statistics and rational answers to real, quantifiable differences in pay a sticky situation? You advise your readers to remain ignorant…with all do respect and a huge amount of surprise at the lack of desire to understand reality.

  • Allen

    This whole thing has been very instructive. I admired Hillary’s campaign she showed guts and fortitude (very obvious President criteria,) and not one of these people stood up for her when she weathered similar slings and arrows.

    Along comes Gov. Palin and they do worse; they join in the attacks. I have never seen so much sexism in my life. In fact, prior to this you couldn’t have got me to believe so much still existed. Let alone from the side that’s so into women’s issues.

  • dg

    Allen, I wonder how complimentary you’d be of Hillary if she were the nominee–I suspect not very. What is instructive is that what is important is whether the candidate has breasts than what she thinks about women’s issues. The female critics think she is not a friend on their issues. And Bookworm, a like-minded female and supporter of Palin, who chooses to ignore one of the obvious female issues, highlights why those female critics might feel the way that they do. Being female and being a supporter of female issues are not the same thing. To conflate the two reveals as much sexism as anything else revealed in this year’s election.

  • Gina

    Regarding the myth of unequal pay, see this Thomas Sowell video on FORA.tv.

    Unccommon Knowledge

  • Ymarsakar

    *This is not to imply that women, gays and African-Americans are whiny. It is to say that this particular group of women, gays and African-Americans, all of whom believed they were entitled to special treatment because of their non-white male status, were in fact whiny.

    You’re showing your fear of being dragged back to the fake liberal beast, Book.

  • Deana

    Hi Bookworm –

    Good post.

    I couldn’t shake the feeling while reading those articles that whoever wrote them is of, a different species. Or perhaps from a different planet. What was black is now white, what was up is now down, and what was right is now wrong.

    In sum, these women and I have nothing in common. And this is what I always have found so offensive about feminists – they believe that they and they alone have the right to define what it means to be a woman. They believe that because a person has ovaries, she must support ABC or believe XYZ.

    Well, my brain is not tied to my ovaries. What I think about war, economics, domestic policies, and so on does not hinge on my gender. But I have long since realized that these women don’t get that – they want to enslave brains to the lowest common denominator: the presence of a particular chromosome.

    Anyway, I keep thinking that at some point the left will realize that they have hit bottom. But they don’t. The claims that are being made regarding Palin are truly astonishing. But I don’t worry: in the end, I think the left’s behavior is going to wind up benefitting McCain / Palin.


  • dg

    Gina, thanks for the great link to Sowell. He is a great economist. I was waiting for someone to cite this argument about women’s childrearing responsibilities lowering hours worked and thus pay, which is a good but potentially flawed one. I don’t know if Sowell’s data is correct, however, since he didn’t cite sources on the unequal pay issue. He did say, anecotally, that women in academia received higher pay than men after controlling for childrearing impacts. However, at least in the area of academic medicine, this research paper calls his thesis into question: http://www.annals.org/cgi/reprint/141/3/238.pdf

  • Mike Devx

    The key, dg, is not pay grades or pay rates. It is about the expression of incindiery anger towards Sarah Palin by liberal/progressive feminists. You are in fact trying to lead the discussion down a completely different path…

    If you asked Governor Palin, should women receive equal pay for equal work, her response would surely be “But of course! Every individual of every sort should receive equal pay for equal work.” The catch is in the government enforcement of any such a decree, moving from “Should” to “will” as well. Then the definition of what precisely constitutes equal work gets pulled in. As always, the end result is more government and more bureaucracy with a goal, but not the reality of, actual enforcement, and yet another American collapse. Socialists, rejoice!

    But back to the incindiery anger of feminists toward Governor Palin. I certainly do remember the heady days of the 70’s, when feminism was all about granting women the FREEDOM to work if they wished, stay home if they wished, and do both if they wished. “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never never never let you forget you’re a man” may actually sound sexist these days, but it was celebratory in its time. How much has changed! Feminism is now nothing more than a code word for a specific set of leftist agenda points.

    True feminists would cheer Sarah Palin on while admitting they detest her politics and therefore would not vote for her. This incindiery anger and hatred, these attempts at total destruction, reveal modern feminism for the bitter facade it has become. A true feminist will cheer Sarah Palin on.

  • dg

    Mike, you use a lot of normative statements like “bitter” or “incendiary”, and you attribute their lack of support for Palin to her rejection of a “specific set of leftist agenda points.” But I believe that caricature of feminists who do not support Palin is inaccurate. Some conservatives strangely think that it is hypocritical to celebrate Hillary as a major candidate but not Palin, even though their ideologies are completely different; this is sexist, since the mere fact both candidates carry two X chromosomes is not reason enough to vote for them. Assuming that the majority of conservatives are not sexist, then the next question to ask is why is it surprising much less infuriating that women with left-leaning views would reject a candidate with right-leaning views? Why do you have to believe them hypocritical or bitter rather than simply different in terms of the ideology and set of facts that govern their decision? I haven’t noticed that liberal women are more harsh in their critique of Palin than men, so why are the liberal women being singled out as bitter?

    My own personal view is that someone who would deny abortion even in cases of rape or incest, would deny sex education classes that go beyond abstinence discussions, would emphasize an evangelical faith and literal reading of the bible (which emphasizes traditional roles for women), would probably not share the values or promote the policies sought by liberal women. Why would “true feminists” “cheer on” someone who wants to undo the gains that liberal women feel that they have achieved? I agree that they should be respectful towards her, but no more or less so than they should towards a male candidate. Somehow, I see more sexism in your and Bookworm’s comments and inferred expectations of how liberal women should act than in the actual actions of those liberal women. Help me understand where I am wrong…

  • dg

    The unequal pay issue is not an irrelevant path, by the way. Obama has made addressing this issue a part of his policies, and liberal women have for years cited this as an important issue to them. I am not sure that Palin even cares about this issue, which would be another reason why liberal women would reject her. Recall that Gwen Ifill asked Dick Cheney during the 2004 VP debate what his thoughts were on the very high HIV infection rates amongst Black American women, he said he wasn’t aware there was an issue. Some liberal women see in Palin the same lack of curiosity, knowledge and priority that they saw in Cheney. They do not share her views and doubt she has much sympathy for theirs. This is not out of bitterness but out of an accurate (potentially) understanding of her worldview. Just like Ifill’s was of Cheney.

  • Ymarsakar

    Some liberal women see in Palin the same lack of curiosity, knowledge and priority that they saw in Cheney.

    Some people just can’t wait to get all their slaves indoctrinated in the correct political speech codes, Book.

  • Ymarsakar

    True feminists would cheer Sarah Palin on while admitting they detest her politics and therefore would not vote for her.

    Or you can have a PUMA, a true believer that women’s rights are human’s rights, be able to prioritize human rights over the rights of party and politics.

  • 1Lulu

    There are some statistics that simply are repeated so often that everyone accepts them as fact. Some examples: the divorce rate is 50%. Actually it’s lower, and these statistics fail to examine serial divorcers and how they skew the data.

    Another: 7 out of 10 women have been raped. This is a gross exaggeration and does a disservice to actual victims of sexual assault.

    All of this leads me to the statement, “Women are paid less than men in nearly every job (I believe that modelling and porn are two notable exceptions).”
    Well, male and female teachers are paid identically, solely on seniority. This is true for thousands of government jobs. In the private sector, let’s see… a profit seeking boss can hire a woman who gets paid less for the same work or a man? If that were true, no one would hire men.This is capitalism after all.

  • Bill Smith

    Another point made, or alluded to above is that we’ve become significantly detached from reality. There’s an old song with the line, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

    Well, too many people, particularly agendized minorities, are incandescently aware of their rights, but seem oblivious to their responsibilities. They see people with what they themselves want, and feel — yes “feel” — that these things by right ought to be theirs, too, and that somebody has done them wrong if they are not immediately issued the perqs that, in fact, need to be earned. That is, they seem to see no connection between their own efforts — strike that — their own RESULTS, and the pay that results.

    That’s how it works. You produce, and you benefit accordingly. Any other system is economically untenable as we have seen over, and again. Is it “fair” that the new guy has to prove himself, or herself? If you’ve been taught that all things MUST be equally equal all the time for everybody, and any inequalities are prima fascia evidence that you’ve been done wrong, well, then, by all means go to court.

    Is it “fair” that the new guy has to prove himself, or herself? Hell, YES, it’s fair. Why should an employer, AND your co-workers put more effort, and resources into YOU than YOU are willing to put into the job? And, YES, you prove yourself worthy by doing MORE than the others at first.

    You can — and we have — made all kinds of laws that attempt to repeal the law of gravity, but they fail every time, and miserably. Mortgage banking crisis, Q.V. Force, or, ahem, strongly encourage banks to lend to people money that they clearly could not, can not pay back, and WHOA! somebody done them wrong.

    Yes. Somebody did. Nobody taught them simple, kitchen table economics. Everybody, it seems, taught people that they had this “right” to that mortgage, which is, in fact, the right to MY MONEY without the realistic ability to pay it back. Even the notion that they should pay it back is often subtly portrayed as somehow oppressive. You have a right to other peoples’ money? Not on my planet.

    I have NOT wandered off point. When engaged in discussions like this in person with allegedly educated young people, after I’ve been told what their rights are, I ask them who gets to come tell THEM that THEY “owe” somebody else something? Who gets to come blame YOU for THEIR lack of success, I ask? Who has the “right” to YOUR money?

    I am usually met with a blank stare. It’s an unknown concept to them. They have these rights, they get to receive, and “the government,” or “Business” owes them. Period. No thought, no concept that every single one of those businesses got started by — almost always — one or two people who took huge RISKS, and created an entity that now — in the absence of any economic education — seems always to have existed, like a river, or rain. Just open your mouth, and let your rain fall in.

    I was a leader on a youth mission trip once for a week building houses for people. I’d given one bright young high school girl the task of measuring the length of the space where a long board needed to go, cutting a board to that length, and then nailing it in place.

    She cut it a foot too short. Common mistake if you’re not used to using rulers, and cutting things. It is also common if you’ve never really been held accountable for what YOU actually DO; your actual results.

    Well, you’d have thought…I don’t know what, but she was furious when I pointed out the simple, and obvious fact that she herself had measured it, and cut it, and it was a foot too short. I wasn’t mad. We were there to teach kids, not just save wood.

    But she was educated in a school culture that “empowers” kids, where too often “there are no right or wrong answers,” so she could not grasp the simple reality, and the FINALITY that that particular board was too short, and the responsibility was hers alone.

    It wasn’t FAIR, that the board was too short, you see. It wasn’t her fault. It was this, it was that… Boys had more experience with tools — actually, no, in this group, but, hey — and on, and on.

    How did the boys — for the sake of argument — GET that experience that is now so unfair? By cutting boards too short, that’s how, and having it pointed out to them, too. Is that unfair? Or is that how you learn?

    dg, please don’t bother. The freakin’ board was too freakin’ short (engage your sense of metaphor here), and your college senior seminar logic will not change that simple fact. Save it. SOMEBODY had to cut the board to the correct length.

  • pmw2cc

    “The unequal pay issue is not an irrelevant path, by the way.”

    It is not irrelevant, it’s a hobgoblin summoned to keep people in a constant state of agitation and thus willing to support whatever policy is offered to make the hobgoblin go away.

    “Women are paid less than men in nearly every job”

    If a man & a woman work at the same job, with the same responsibilities, the same hours, and have the same qualifications and the man is paid more then she can sue her employer under the 1964 & 1965 Civil Rights Acts. Such suits are regularly made and sometimes they win and sometimes they lose, but the important thing is that an effective legal remedy already exists for unequal pay for equal work.

    The complaint about “women getting paid less than men” is not about being paid less for the same job it’s a complaint about women, on average, getting paid less than men for different work. It is true that women are paid less on average (2005 Labor statistics show full-time pay for women averages 81% of men’s pay) although the de facto case for proof of discrimination falls apart when you consider that men differ from women in career choices, education, job choices, hours worked, & continuous years of employment. This logical gap from a clear difference in labor markets that can easily explain the pay differential to a case for sexism can only be crossed by generating a comparable worth calculation that is “proving” that “women’s” jobs are underpaid. This proof is divorced from modern economic theory and instead harkens back to discredited “labor theory of value” rationales in that is supposes there is an independent method for evaluating the value of a job in order to determine how much people “should” be paid. The method is fundamentally flawed in that it fails to recognize market forces working to determine pay levels and replaces it with a pseudo-objective evaluation that ends up being driven purely on the politics and prejudices of the evaluators. For some discussion on this see (http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2007/06/comeback-for-comparable-worth.html, http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007168, http://www.hoover.org/publications/ednext/3347411.html, http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/ComparableWorth.html, http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/reg16n3e.html)

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