Today, I dated a feminist.
On our date, she explained her experience of being sexually discriminated against at her workplace. Her boss, a man, only gives attention and promotions to the young, attractive 20-year-olds. She also had a slice of his favor, but once she gained a little weight, the boss ignored her, neglected to promote her and has left her to pick up everyone else’s slack.
At first, feminism’s plight appears so blatantly obvious that it’s embarrassing to even admit that you’re an anti-feminist. How can anyone argue that discrimination against women “just ain’t what it used to be,” when it’s clearly so omnipresent?
(Ah, see how my mind just unconsciously straw-manned itself? As an anti-feminist, I don’t deny that there’s discrimination against women. Everyone, no matter your race, sex or creed, experiences discrimination. I deny the historical narrative that we live in a society in which men hold power and where women are excluded from it).
Once my “do-not-offend-female-at-all-costs” drive settled down, I realized that there’s something wrong here.
Specifically, it was with the way she angled the issue. Taking her word as true that the discrimination is due to the sexual attractiveness of a few women over the rest, her grievance appears to stray slightly from the original feminist narrative of patriarchy. She was being pushed aside in favor of men; she was losing out to other women.
Still, the boss is male. His wiener is calling the shots. Patriarchy ’twould appear to reign.
But doesn’t this situation impeccably mirror the kerfuffle rising over affirmative action? Essentially, it’s the same problem — some employees are favored over others for reasons other than their qualifications for the job. On one hand, it’s the hiring of minorities who might not be qualified instead of a worker who is qualified, solely on the grounds of promoting “diversity,” which makes the company appear more attractive by appearing to be more humane; on the other hand, it’s the hiring/promotion of attractive workers over unattractive workers, once again in order to improve the image of the company. Or possibly earning a sexual favor.
(I could be accused of trivializing the intentions of affirmative action, which believes it is restoring historical imbalances and oppressed groups, by equating them to sexual favors. But I’m just expressing doubt that corporations and bureaucracies are capable of humanistic benevolence — it would be more driven to improve it’s image than actually help people)
So what is the problem? Feminists promote one form of discrimination (in the case of affirmative action), while condemning the other (sexually attractive female workers over the rest), even though both are basically the same. Some workers have superficial advantages over others, instead of advantages based on their skills.
It’s certainly unfair that some female workers can utilize their sexual fertility in order to gain advantage over others. But while some women have an advantage over other women in the company for their sexuality, there absolutely no men — unless the boss is bisexual — who could have the same sexual advantage as these few women.
Do men hold a trump card that beats the young, sexually attractive female worker? A feminist might point out that it’s a man who’s boss and calling the shots, so of course men have more power than women! But the boss is only one man — what about the rest of the men in the company?
Now my girlfriend’s problem illustrates not how her whole sex is oppressed by men, but that an exclusive few sexually attractive women hold an unfair advantage over the rest of the other women … and hold an advantage over all but one man, he being the boss. Only a minority of women are empowered, but that still outnumbers the number of men who are empowered.
When it’s just sexually attractive female workers who receive the promotions, isn’t that a better illustration of how males are pushed aside in favor of women in the workplace? While some women are hurt by a discriminating male boss, we can be sure that virtually every other male is also losing out. A female worker, if she loses weight and wears makeup, has a possible opportunity to be promoted without relying on skill — but no man has that opportunity to be promoted. He must always rely on his skill.
This isn’t an example of how women are discriminated in the workplace; it’s an example of how men are discriminated in the workplace.
Sexual favors; they’re a big problem for women in the workplace. But they’re an even bigger problem for men.