Not-So-Super Audi Rebutted

Monday, February 20, 2017

Business writer Suzanne Lucas efficiently demolished perhaps the most insipid bit of pandering I have ever seen in a Super Bowl ad (playable at the link). For those who want one, here's her synopsis:

[T]he text begins with a dad (apparently a dad who never once read a parenting book or listened to his own parents) who says, "What do I tell my daughter?" He then goes on to say all these horrible things about how she'll be treated poorly because of her gender. "Do I tell her that her grandpa is worth more than her grandma?" and "Do I tell her that despite her education, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets?"

Goodness, no, dad. What kind of a parent sets out to tell his child that she'll be an utter failure? Oh wait, that's not the point. The point is the pay gap. [link dropped]
The easily-digested idea of a male-female "pay gap" is constantly being used as an insult/moral cudgel against anyone with the temerity to suggest otherwise, with the ad campaign's hash-tag as Exhibit A. Obviously, I am a regressive troglodyte if I don't turn my brain off and join the bandwagon.

I won't, and to understand why, I invite the interested reader to consider some of the many lines of evidence offered by Lucas against the idea that women are universally valued less than men or that there even is a pay-gap when controlling factors -- all of which Lucas boils down to the choices many women make -- are accounted for. Here's just one:
Women prefer to not do jobs that are dangerous. In 2013, 3,635 men died in workplace accidents, compared to 950 women. Men are far more willing to take on dangerous tasks, and dangerous jobs pay more than safe jobs. [bold and link in original.]
This is one I had not heard of before. The others are similar in nature to the main factor, time off due to bearing children, I was already familiar with.

None of this is to say that women do not face real issues as women in the workplace. Rather, such pandering trivializes that whole idea, makes it easy to dismiss out of hand, and should cause people to wonder if those who spout the idea of a "pay gap" really are concerned with such issues. It is also telling how irritated many of the same people are with Donald Trump's campaign slogan of, "Make America Great Again." They both attribute too much of his win to the slogan and give his voters (I am not one of them.) too little credit for allegedly swallowing it hook, line, and sinker. "Pay gap" is just as simple, has been repeated at least as often (and has been for longer), and is just as much an empty vessel to fill with whatever suppositions one wants.

There is nothing inherently wrong with using a memorable phrase or slogan -- so long as facts warrant doing so. Otherwise, expect to harm your cause in the eyes of your most able potential allies, and to attract an unthinking mob. That certain movements apparently cultivate mobs on purpose conversely speaks volumes.

-- CAV

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