I Write Letters

Dear Time:

Does the news that "unmarried, childless women under 30 who live in cities" and work full-time jobs have slightly higher salaries "than those of the guys in their peer group" really warrant the headline "Workplace Salaries: At Last, Women on Top"?

Leaving aside your crass, thinly veiled sexual reference, I fail utterly to see how a very small cohort of working women making more than their male peers justifies the assertion that women are, at last, "on top."

Especially when said toppery has been achieved in large part due to the collapse of male-dominated industries or because of the institutional racism that disproportionately derails the lives of young men of color:
[James Chung of Reach Advisors, who has spent more than a year analyzing data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey] also claims that, as far as women's pay is concerned, not all cities are created equal. Having pulled data on 2,000 communities and cross-referenced the demographic information with the wage-gap figures, he found that the cities where women earned more than men had at least one of three characteristics. Some, like New York City or Los Angeles, had primary local industries that were knowledge-based. Others were manufacturing towns whose industries had shrunk, especially smaller ones like Erie, Pa., or Terre Haute, Ind. Still others, like Miami or Monroe, La., had a majority minority population. (Hispanic and black women are twice as likely to graduate from college as their male peers.)
Not to take away from the individual personal accomplishments of any women, but, despite our reputation to the contrary, I don't know many feminist/womanist women who are anxious to celebrate women's successes that are built on economic clusterfucktastrophes and/or pervasive inequality.

And, given the number of caveats behind your misleading "on top" headline, a more cynical person than I, ahem, might suggest there is a deliberate mischaracterization of the sort usually found in the middle of a backlash against women's progress, to justify policies that bolster the male privilege such mendacity asserts no longer exists.

Just sayin'.


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