According to a Daily Dish reader, women have all the luck: they get to "party all through [their] twenties," and then "have a family and be a mom and have a full-time career as well."
The Daily Dish chose to lend its megaphone yesterday to a man with a lengthy response to an earlier post about gender disparity in publishing. His story: he relocated for a job, leaving behind a great relationship, and now he works long hours that leave little time for dating. It actually sounds like a scenario many women could relate to, especially since it's still less common for men to follow their girlfriends in a move than vice versa. But that's not how Job Guy (he's anonymous) sees it. Instead, he writes,
I get sick and tired of women who want to treat the workplace as somehow separate from other parts of life. There seems to be an attitude of: "I'm going to party all through my twenties while I'm young and hot, then have a family and be a mom and have a full-time career as well, and I'm owed a dollar for every dollar anyone else makes, regardless of the priorities each of us has set up until this point in our lives." That ain't life.
The argument that women essentially choose the pay gap by electing to spend more time with family isn't a new one, but it's a little strange that Job Guy makes it, given that he could so easily be an advocate for better work-life balance. He says that on his "path towards a high-earning career," he has "felt more emotional pain than in the rest of my life combined." But is this a critique of the demands of corporate America? No, Job Guy is mad about feminism. He writes, "while women have a lot of avenues to address potential earnings gaps, men like me have no means to seek recompense for the emotional toll taken out on us by the expected focus on our careers." And:
That's how I, as a man born in the mid-eighties - long after the high-water mark of sexual discrimination - perceive much of what passes for feminism these days. It's an excuse that women have that men don't. I'm forced into a box (the "earn lots of money" box) just as much as a woman is (the "have a family" box), but women are given tons of sympathy for the things they miss out on.
Essentially, what Job Guy is agitating for isn't any sort of change to the current system ("one day I'll be on the winning end of this equation"), but the right to complain. Which actually seems to be a pretty hot topic now that we're in a mancession. Irina Aleskander of the New York Observer profiled an all-male support group for laid-off executives yesterday, quoting its founder Paul Anovick thus:
Men have a more difficult time speaking about unemployment [...] It's a challenging, humiliating experience, and they said they wouldn't be comfortable speaking with women in the room. In my experience, this is not something women struggle with. They can just get together for the first time and really put it out there, talk about their feelings and what they're going through. Men would never be able to do that. Even when it's only men, they have difficulties.
Choire Sicha of The Awl asks, "Don't you feel bad, women?" And, you know, kinda — the expectation that men be stoic, emotionless breadwinners is bad for everybody, and I'll be the first to defend men's right to bitch. But bitch about your actual problems, please. Bitch about an economic system that requires "70-80 hour workweeks" for comfortable living (and while you're at it, remember those whose standard of "comfort" is way lower than yours). Bitch about rigid gender roles that continue to define men by their jobs and only their jobs, even as more of them choose to be stay-at-home dads. Go ahead, even bitch about the girl you left behind and the job that made you do it. But don't fucking bitch about feminism.
Because feminism isn't about giving women an excuse to complain when their plans of effortlessly combining partying, motherhood, and career don't work out (show me a woman who actually think this will be her life, and I'll show you someone who has a lot of money and a lot of Xanax). And it's not about getting "tons of sympathy" (which any mom who struggles to hold down a job and take care of her kids would probably find laughable). Instead, it's about fighting for subsidized childcare, flexible work hours, maternity and paternity leave, laws to protect parents from job discrimination, and lots of other governmental and corporate reforms that would enable people to have the combination of life and career that Job Guy seems to want. Job Guy, in the war on corporate inflexibility and restrictive gender roles, feminists are your friends. But not if you talk shit about us.
Update: The Daily Dish has published reader responses to Job Guy's comments, the first of which also argues that feminism is actually on Job Guy's side.
"What Passes For Feminism These Days" [Daily Dish]
The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit Needs A Hankie [New York Observer]
Men "Also" Take "Job Breakups" "Harder" Than Women! [The Awl]