Sexist Stereotypes About Working Women Wear Us Out

While Paul Thompson's Ask Men column about why women make bad bosses (we're emotional, territorial with other women, hold grudges and it's a man's world) reads like an unsatirical satire of what men think, Penelope Trunk's "women don't really have problems in the workforce" tome is just ridiculously stupid.

Her lede doesn't help:

I have said about ten million times that there is no more glass ceiling, there is no more salary gap between men and women, and there is no reason to keep bitching about sexual harassment because it's merely a legal issue, not a men-are-evil issue.

While Trunk links, it isn't to outside data sets that back up her analysis — it's to her own work, in which she encourages women not to report sexual harassment because it's better to deal with it yourself; the wage gap only exists for mothers and not single women (despite my childless — and many women's childless — experience to the contrary, including Lily Ledbetter's); and there's not glass ceiling because women don't really want to be in charge. Oh, ok, well, since Trunk apparently always got paid fairly when she was childless — as far as she knows, and I'd bet Ledbetter (who only found out 30 years into her career that she made less than her colleagues) might have something to suggest to her about that — and doesn't want to run a company, apparently everyone should stop worrying about it.

But she has some suggestions about what we do want!

Women need to be compensated at a higher rate than men if they are to give up their personal lives in order to work.

Uh, what? Oh, right. Because women, of course, have to give up their extensive personal lives (read: sole responsibility for child care and household duties) in order to work, or else get paid by companies to work. Can we maybe just start with getting paid equally even when we don't have homes and kids? Pretty please?

Maybe not:

This makes genetic sense. The men had to think the kids were fine when they left the cave to hunt. Or else they wouldn't leave and no one would have eaten. The women had to think the kids always needed more attention. Otherwise, the women would say, "This is good enough" and then the kids would starve or get eaten by lions.

God knows you need a vagina to change a diaper or chase down a 5-year-old.

The other problem is that we aren't getting your rocks off enough.

People who have orgasms do better at work: they earn more, they hang out with higher powered people, they are better at public speaking, and they walk with a more confident gait, which, of course, inspires confidence.

Ah, now if I can return us all to college statistics, please repeat after me: Correlation does not equal causality. Maybe people who earn more (which is highly correlated with educational achievement, which Trunk has found evidence is connected to increased oral sex) have more orgasms, rather than orgasmic people earn more. Educated people hang out with educated people, by and large, and wealthy people with wealthy people, and so and and so forth. But Trunk thinks that getting yourself off more will increase your career advancement, because that sounds better — because it's sure as hell not because she proved it.

Also, as far as Trunk is concerned, we're all just soooo boring.

The problem is that the boys are having all the fun. Women are doing better than men in school but school is not what makes kids successful at work. What actually prepares you for life is athletics, aiming high, breaking rules, playing video games. Girls should do those things more.

Yes, goodness knows women don't play sports, attempt to "aim high" (by doing better in school, perhaps?) or break rules or play video games. Screw grades, ladies! You don't need 'em anyway.

I guess I just prefer my sexist tropes written by a man.

Why Women Can't Be Bosses [AskMen.com]
New gender gaps for the new millennium [Brazen Careerist]

Earlier: Is Cunnilingus Another Benefit To Increased Earning Power?