Some Quick Thoughts on International Women’s Day, The Big Bang Theory (the show, not the concept), & Pay EquityPosted: March 8, 2017
As a man who has lived his entire life surrounded by strong and independent women who own who they are and have often shown their superiority, much less their equality, I love the fact that the world celebrates International Women’s Day every year, and I hate the fact that we have to. I mean, the Equal Rights Amendment has been around since we were kids, right? Almost all of my best teachers from nursery through university were women. Most of the best bosses and managers I’ve ever had ever since I started working at age 14 have been women. A great deal of my favourite characters and role-models from television, movies, and books, have been women. Authors and actors, directors and doctors, I have never once thought that their work could possibly be less good just because they don’t have a penis because a penis has nothing to do with doing good work. Women in the workplace and women in business leadership roles have been normal to me for the entirety of my existence, and I have never once in my personal career met with the occasion that I was forced to question someone’s capabilities based on their gender – Stupid decisions are gender neutral.
Yet, here we are, in 2017, still in the position where females are not paid in parity with their male counter-parts, and are for some reason still considered as ‘less than’ in the workplace and society – “Of course they’re capable of taking on executive roles in our organizations, but compensate them similarly? Surely, you jest!” Because why would providing equal pay for equal work be a thing? It seriously drives me a little bonkers because there is so little sense in the way that it works right now, and there is absolutely no justification for that mentality.
Which brings me to a news story from last week that at first I celebrated, but then found myself really bothered by as the day progressed. I don’t know if you watch The Big Bang Theory on CBS, but surely you’ve heard about it at this point as it has been on for about a decade and is one of the most successful shows in the history of television, and despite what you or the critics may think about it, it is consistently one of the most viewed shows on the small screen and therefore brings in bucket-loads of advertising dollars for the network and the producers. Last week, there was a feel-good news story about how the four male leads of the show took pay-cuts so that their lead female co-stars could get raises up to an equal salary, which makes perfect sense since the girls on that show are just as funny (or not, depending on your taste) and important to the story as any of the guys, and definitely more-so in the case of Mayim Bialik’s “Amy” who at this point is the main driving force for pretty much all of Jim Parson’s “Sheldon’s” character development.
Nice story, right? Co-workers looking out for each other, sticking it to The Man so that everybody can be treated equally? But then I thought about it. Not to take anything away from what the guys of The Big Bang Theory did because it was a marvelous gesture to give up some of their admittedly ridiculous salaries so that their female friends could have equal pay, but you know what? No. The fact that they felt like they had to is a real and serious problem, and instead of celebrating the kind gesture those men made, we should be raging about the fact that they were put into a position where they felt like they had to make it. I mean, seriously – Watch the show and tell me that there’s any reason why the seven lead characters should have been making different salaries in the first place, regardless of their genders? They’re all lead characters – it’s an ensemble show – so should they all be paid as leads? It’s 2017 – Why the hell is this still a thing?
For the people who know me or have read my blog before, you were probably expecting a couple of bad and/or inappropriate jokes to be thrown in here, but you know what? I don’t find this funny at all and this isn’t a laughing matter to me. The struggle for equal rights for women has been around since before I was born, so seriously, what the fuck, society? I love International Women’s Day and everything it stands for, but I really hope that by the time my days on this planet are over that it is no longer something we need to note or celebrate because we’ll be too equal to care. That’s my wish, and if there is one thing I know, wishes can come true. Let’s all work a little harder for this one, though, because the reality of the situation as it stands just doesn’t make any sense and is frankly unacceptable. We all do the same work in the same ways and with the same outcomes, so why the hell aren’t we paid that way?