I think we all agree that men and women have legitimate concerns about how they are treated by the legal system and the job market. And there are a variety of other concerns about dignity, health, safety, and government funding that get added to the mix. The result is that both men and women have baskets of concerns about how their gender is treated, and the baskets are different.

So who has a bigger basket of concerns?

In a perfect world, it shouldn't matter who has the biggest basket of issues because all of the items in each basket are worthy of our attention, including but not limited to finding out if the data really says what you think it says. But in our imperfect world, advocacy is about marketing, and packaging, and appearance. And the most powerful way to package some types of issues is by gender, especially if the statistics appear to line up that way. If you were to combine the Men's Rights issues and Women's Rights issues into one large basket, you couldn't even name it. It's hard to attract attention and resources to combat the institutionalized scourge of miscellaneous. And if you did get attention for your Miscellaneous Rights movement, how would you rank the individual issues so the most important ones get attention first?

I suppose things were clearer in the old days when you had an issue such as a women's right to vote. It was a yes/no question with clear lines of victimhood and a specific fix. It made perfect sense to view this as a gender issue. But what happens if you start seeing the world primarily through the filter of gender?

Take the question of equal pay for equal work. If you see it as a gender issue, aren't you leaving out a few dimensions that are also important? I saw an interview the other day with the woman who is the lead plaintiff for the class action suit against WalMart. Her complaint is that WalMart discriminated against her for being a woman. The thing that fascinated me is that somehow she managed to discern that the discrimination she experienced was because of her gender and not the fact that she's also obese, unattractive, and African-American. Based on the interview, she also seems to have a sketchy command of grammar. I couldn't judge her height or personality, but those are two more factors that have a big impact on career advancement.

I make this observation as a short, hair-challenged, nearsighted, unattractive, over-the-hill individual who was pushed out of two different careers (banking and the phone company) explicitly for being male and white. In my case, my bosses explained it to me directly, as in "You're our most qualified candidate for promotion, but we can't promote a white male in the foreseeable future." This happened in the context of finishing my MBA at night so I could overcome discrimination against me based on the reputation of my school. I'm not complaining. It's just context. We live in a world with so many triggers for bias that it seems simplistic to divide things along gender lines.

So I propose a simple test to determine if you, individually, are a victim of gender unfairness. If a genie gave you the chance to magically switch your gender, and become a member of the other sex, would you do it? And let's say the new you would be about the same as now on the scale of attractiveness, intelligence, ethnicity, circumstance, and health. The only real change would be gender. Do you take the offer?

If your answer is no, then maybe fairness isn't what you really want. Maybe what you want is all the advantages you have now plus the good stuff that other people have. I totally understand. I want the same thing.

I apologize to anyone who was offended by this post.
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May 19, 2011
How great it is to know that given my age and gender I should be going out and having sex every night and flirting to get my way. It really puts the degree I just earned and dignity I have for myself to shame, thanks internet commentary!

There also seems to be the logical fallacy that if you switch gender you become attractive. Hate to break it to you guys but the beautiful women you see on TV and in the magazines? Not representative of the female population. You'd more likely be average looking than super-model hot and trust me guys aren't going to fall over for you. Of course the upside is that you get male friends you stand by you and respect you for who you are and I wouldn't change that for anything.
Apr 19, 2011
I read your strip every day in the newspaper--tells my age. It is funny, sometimes ridiculously, belly-achingly so. I would never read any of this stuff people say about you, because I don't care. I saw this news story on the web about all this angst--I say, ignore them completely and keep doing what you are doing. I hope you make gobs of money, because I get a smile every day reading your stuff. So do many of my friends--we always ask each other when we catch up whether or not we've read "Dilbert" that day. I don't care that you defended yourself anonymously or otherwise; I can't imagine that you need the defense, and it seems like an incredible waste of your time, emotion and resources. There will always be some people who just don't have any sense of humor. Joke 'em if they can't take it.
Apr 16, 2011
Scott, you didn't get discriminated against because you were male and white. What happened was, you were prevented from getting any ADDITIONAL benefits from being male and white.

Let me explain. Why were you the best-qualified candidate? Because you were smarter than average. Why? Because of your childhood education, your parents' professions and education levels, the number of books in your childhood home, the toys your parents could afford, etc. On average, white people your age had more and better of these than black people. You already started out ahead.

So going to college, getting good grades, getting a job in a good company- by doing all these, you were already reaping the benefits of being a white male. Imagine if you were a black woman instead. Your parents would likely be poorer, you'd go to a worse school, and have to overcome discrimination in college admissions, job recruitment, etc.

Promoting you instead of some minority in your department would have just continued your cycle of privilege. That minority on the other hand, would have been compensated for some of the discrimination in their past.

You're a smart guy, Scott. Don't let your own unique situation be your blind spot.

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 9, 2011
Perhaps you were being unusually gullible when the HR people told you that you were losing out because you are a white male. Back when you were in the workforce, that was a common thing to say to a white man, because they didn't want to hurt your feelings by saying you weren't good enough, and someone lower on the social scale (gender or race) ranked higher than you.
Apr 5, 2011
I'm not offended, but one thing to consider:

I like being a woman. I wouldn't change that. But if I got the offer to trade gender TREATMENT: eg, I would no longer be treated like a woman, I would be treated EXACTLY like a man, and ONLY like a man, I'd take that. In a heartbeat.
Apr 5, 2011
I wouldn't want to change. White haired slightly over weight middleaged men ar distinguished. The same woman would be considered something else.

On the other hand I was just told that even though I told a female coworker that a report was done and then sent an email saying it was done, it's my fault that she didn't hear me or read her email and now she is behind. And another woman who was there agreed it was my fault. Maybe change wouldn't be so bad....
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 5, 2011
This is a great post indeed.
Being international (I do not live in USA) I can see things under other perspective, I know USA is very well know for the abuse that some people make of things that were created with a legitimate and honorable and pure goal. Like the right to demand (taking someone to court or something like that I mean) someone that is inflicting injustice on you, but as funny as it sounds, to people in the international arena seems like some abusive people is able to demand everyone just for the sake of watching at them on some way they just dislike, or for sneezing near them, or whatever, that is just not the right thing to do.

And the gender discrimination is another example of this, I am very sure this concept and whatever laws were created with pure and noble goal to defend people from horrible discrimination in the past, and now there is abusive use of that concept and laws and people just want to use something noble for a selfish purpose.

I am not saying everyone is like that in USA, since I have several friends and work mates over there and admire lots of people over there, but, there are some that just abuse whatever noble concept was created by noble people in some time of you history.

Apr 4, 2011
You should sign off with "I apologize to anyone who wasn't offended by this post." Since I wasn't offended, I felt left out of the outrage, and I demand an apology.
Apr 4, 2011
The test you mention reminds me of something I read recently... I forget where.
Very similar premise, although race was the topic at the time, and it was about measuring relative social progression rather than trying to determine an absolute level of fairness or equality.

Pretend it's 1900. Would you rather be an attractive, tall black person, or a big fat acne-ridden white person?
Now, how about 2011?

The original was better written than my paraphrasing, and used "man" rather than "person", but I think you get the point.
Apr 3, 2011
Great post Scott. I really mean that.

There is a related issue, and that concerns those who take advantage of a clearly identifiable group. Hucksters convinces group members that they will eternally be discriminated against, and then get paid big bucks to "promote" their interests. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton come to mind.

This leads to two approaches to righting perceived discrimination: the first approach looks to remove obstacles based on said prejudice, and then let the chips fall where they may based on each individual's drive, desire and abilities. This is called, "equal opportunity."

The second iapproach involves perpetuating the belief that discrimination is ongoing and severe, or at least the belief that it not only still exists, but is a significant impediment to every one of that group's individual's success. Then, the hucksters demand that other people who are not in that group give their money to those who are in that group, to make up for the eternal unfairness that the latter group is somehow responsible for.

This latter approach leads to a new type of slavery. Members of the affected group must continue to fail in order to convince those in power that the free money should continue; at the same time, they become beholden to those who arrange for the money to keep coming to them. This is called, "equality of outcome."

I recall, many years ago, seeing a tape of Jesse Jackson talking to a group of high school students, warning them against the hidden prejudice of well-intentioned teachers. He said words to the effect that blacks should watch out for teachers who say, "Oh, those poor little black kids. They just aren't smart enough to do the work, so we have to make allowances for them." Reverend Jackson went on to say that if black kids can excel in sports, they can excel in academics, so they shouldn't let themselves make excuses and buy in to this well-intentioned but ultimately harmful prejudice.

My, how his attitude has changed over the years.

In the old days, everyone was looking for their million-dollar idea. Now, they're looking for their million-dollar lawsuit. And one of the easiest and most lucrative of those is to claim you've been discriminated against.

The old saw that women earn less than men in the same job is one aspect of a class's permanent victimhood, ignoring individual differences between women (and non-women). It implies that everyone in every job should be paid exactly the same as anyone else in the same job. The truth isn't that there's some big capitalist conspiracy to keep women underpaid; the truth is that women are generally willing to work for less. If you owned a business, would you hire only women because they were cheaper so you could gain an economic expense advantage on your competition? Probably not, but that's the logical conclusion to the belief that women are just as valuable but are paid less.

There are a lot of other factors involved, such as maternity leave, less desire for many women to advance in a career, less women staying in the job market their entire potential working lives, and so on. But give a politician a chance to buy some women's votes, and you'll see them attempting to convince women that they're put upon by the evil, male-dominated society who just wants to keep them barefoot and pregnant.

There comes a time when you have to look to yourself first, and not try to give yourself a bunch of excuses as to why you aren't successful. In Scott's post, he was clearly discriminated against in two jobs. Did he sit down and whine and call a white Jesse Jackson-like advocate, promise him votes and campaign contributions, and then demand that he be hired as a low-level manager in the Phone Company?

No. He got off his butt and used his talents, drive and belief in himself to become a millionaire. There's no reason why anyone reading this can't do the same. The biggest thing holding you back from success is you, and the sooner you wean yourself from the teat of government, the sooner you'll get the success you deserve.

And if anyone was offended by this post, get over it. Quit whining and go do something productive.
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 3, 2011
I don not think I would change. I rather enjoy being able to read a map and know where I am and how to get to where I am going. Plus I know the thermostat has more settings that too hot and too l cold.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 3, 2011
I think she would have a good case if obese, unattractive males with poor grammar are much more likely to get promotions. And having been in various WalMart stores I can't outright dismiss that as a possibility based on my personal experience.

I'm guessing that WalMart HR pays a lot of attention to racial issues so that they can at least maintain plausible deniability in the face of an eventual claims of racism so being discriminated against for being African-American (to a degree sufficient to win a law suit) seems unlikely.
Apr 2, 2011
"I apologize to anyone who was offended by this post."

Seriously? Offend the whiny little !$%*!$%* Hopefully they'll identify themselves in the comments so we can all ridicule them mercilessly. Never apologize for an honest opinion, lest we start calling you "dhimmi".
Apr 2, 2011
As a thought experiment, the Genie of Gender Fairness strikes me as binarian thinking. From a system point of view, you might consider the whole system as unsustainable because of a lose-lose situation (e.g. women like to marry upwards and complain that there are not enough good men available, men consider today's divorce rate and decide to stay unmarried). Or if the other side is "winning" indeed, you still might have moral reservations about the way the "winning is done.

From a practical point of view, I imagine the Genie of Gender Fairness would work like this:

Women: Yes, I'd like to switch my gender and become a man.
Genie of Gender Fairness: Poor you, it must be really hard to be a woman. Sorry, actually I can't do much about your gender, but let's see what I can do about the unfairness you were complaining about.

Men: Yes, I'd like to switch my gender and become a woman.
Genie of Gender Fairness: Wish granted - from now on everybody shall call you a p u s s y. (just in case the word is "p|u|s|s|y")
-9 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 2, 2011
"In a perfect world, it shouldn't matter who has the biggest basket of issues because all of the items in each basket are worthy of our attention, including but not limited to finding out if the data really says what you think it says."

In the real world people are still buy the junk science behind the "pay gap myth", coddling women like children about every perceived injustice and telling men to man up when they have similar concerns.

Scott, Thanks for supporting the status quo and insulting my intelligence. Engineers should dump this guy, he's an intellectual lightweight.
Apr 2, 2011
You see, women like signupforcamp actually think that things would be easier as a man! It's so ridiculous. She sees her own privilege as a lack thereof. Thanks, feminism, for convincing women they are victims when they are actually the protected, privileged class.
Apr 2, 2011
Women's privilege and white knighting:


Meanwhile guys go to prison for growing weed.
Apr 1, 2011
The 80 cents to the dollar thing, while accurate, isn't as much discrimination as people think. 1) Women choose jobs that are less dangerous and also pay less. 2) Women choose the "mommy track" after giving birth, and often work less hours for less pay. 3) Women are less likely to want to make sacrifices for their career.

-8 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 1, 2011
I would change to become a woman because I would get:

1) longer life
2) better health
3) better education
4) more safety
5) more friends
6) more freedom to express myself
7) less demands to perform
8) less demands of sacrifice
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 1, 2011
<b>IMHO, to not make any effort to make the world a better place/a more just place is plain cynical and really really lazy.</b>
Your assumption here is that government interference in private business has made the world a better place. I contend that it has not. I also believe that companies who hire inferior folks simply based on gender, race, etc. will eventually fail. The company that hires better brighter folks regardless of their gender, race, etc. will succeed. If you just give it time, these things will work out.
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