Amanda Deibert’s piece on her harrowing experience as a young, female showrunner in Hollywood was, sadly, no surprise to me. She and I came up through Hollywood in the same pre-#metoo era, where rampant harassment and double standards abounded. I once had a boss where the day was not complete without some completely inappropriate comment. Personal fav, which was both sexual harrassment and racist was: “If your tits were as big as your ass, black men wouldn’t be able to resist you.” Wow!
Reader, I stayed in that job. Because it was the recession. And while he was vile, he was paying me $14/hour, which was way better than the TEN I was getting previously. Also, the yucky new boss paid me as an employee, while the old boss illegally paid me as a contractor, so I got screwed on my taxes. So yes, that was working in Hollywood to me as a 20-something woman: getting completely denigrated either spiritually or fiscally.
Is it different now? Good God I hope so… but I also fled Los Angeles for the better coast two years ago. Yeah. I said it: New York is better than Los Angeles. FIGHT ME!
But I digress.
#Metoo isn’t called #metoo for no reason: it’s because literally any time a woman talks about getting harassed or screwed over, basically all of her female friends reply with “oh yeah, me too.” Online, or in person. I’ve seen this happen countless times. Someone brings up getting randomly stalked by a dude, then it’s “oh yeah! I once had a guy follow me out of the gym,” or “right, this one time I was accosted by a rapper who saw me performing standup, and he invited me to sing on a track, and then when I didn’t want to sleep with him sent me numerous death threats!” (The last one might have been me. Okay… it was me. And apparently several other women in LA—they also filed police reports against this dude.)
Point is, most women are so exhausted from being harassed and trying not to be murdered that we just don’t have the energy to advocate for equal pay. Or at least that’s what I think lies at the heart of enduring pay inequity. It’s exhausting to fight for your own rightful wages, and there’s no one else who’s going to do it for you: women have been pushing for legislation guaranteeing equal pay in the U.S. since the 1970s, and the ERA still hasn’t passed. It probably never will. So what’s a hard-working woman to do?
I have a modest proposal. (Not eating babies, don’t worry.) Instead of endlessly trying to lift women up to equal pay, out of their 80 cents to their male counterpart’s dollar earned, let’s work to ensure men get the same treatment we’ve been subject to all these years. That’s right: everyone is getting 80 cents to the dollar! A low tide sinks all ships!
This is Brünnhilde Feminism. We live in an unjust world, so let’s just burn this mother right down to the ground and start fresh, shall we?
What’s my dystopian vision for gender equity look like? I’m glad you asked. Here’s a few delightful examples:
- Being golf buddies or having the “boys club” at work will no longer lead to a gender divide in promotions and unfair hiring practices. Instead, no one will have any friends! Friends aren’t allowed. And we all die cold and alone. FUN!
- Instead of being offered pay raises for doing more work, everyone will get offered extremely lame and inappropriate compensation. “Sorry bro, we don’t have room in the budget. But I could spot you at the gym. Dudes love lifting weights, right?”
- In terms of leadership, rather than respecting one gender as innately better leaders or natural “knowers,” we’ll respect no one! Anarchy is the great equalizer. Sure, there won’t be a female president or female CEOs, but there won’t be male ones either!
- Sexual harrassment against women? Sexual harrassment FOR ALL! Get ready, world, it’s basically The Purge. Only instead of stabby tools being used for murder, it’s dildos being indiscriminately slapped on everyone.
Sound terrible? It is! But guess what? It’s terrible right now. And here’s the real heart of the matter: gender equality isn’t a zero sum game. If women lose, we all lose. Being in a just society benefits us all.
So let’s start doing right by all people, of all gender identities. Because you now know what the other option is, and it’s not pretty.