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This week, Time Magazine offends, informs me.
Naughty:”Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin” by Belinda Luscombe, a piece about girl-on-girl hate in the case of Sarah Palin. Yes, B, you are pretty clever when you detail the schoolyard-level hate a woman can exact on another woman: “No matter how seemingly benign, every attribute becomes an affront: the hair, the voice, the husband, the moose-shooting, the glasses, the big family, the making rape victims pay for their own rape test kits.”
Good line, Ms. Luscombe. However, the three-point argument that follows—-that women hate Palin because (1) “she’s too pretty,” (2) “she’s too confident,” and (3) “she could embarrass us”—-is less cute. Sure, one out of three ain’t bad, but couldn’t you have replaced the first two with “she doesn’t support women’s rights” and “seriously, she really does not support women’s rights, like, at all”?
Note to Luscombe: Sarah Palin’s uncanny resemblance to Tina Fey does not reduce all the women who won’t vote for her to Mean Girls. So while I appreciate your tongue-in-cheek approach, Senior Editor of Time, I wish you were joking in a different way when you write, “we could just do what we always do and just vote in some guy. It’s worked so well for us in the past.” All sarcasm aside, I’d much rather vote for “some guy” whose policies support women than “some woman” whose support can be boiled down to a hastily paraphrased Starbucks coffee cup.
Nice: “If Women Were More Like Men: Why Females Earn Less,” by John Cloud, who covers a new way to tackle the wage gap. Writes Cloud:
In previous studies, academics have looked at variables like years of education and the effects of outside forces such as nondiscrimination policies. But gender was always the constant. What if it didn’t have to be? What if you could construct an experiment in which a random sample of adults unexpectedly changes sexes before work one day? Kristen Schilt, a sociologist at the University of Chicago and Matthew Wiswall, an economist at New York University, couldn’t quite pull off that study. But they have come up with the first systematic analysis of the experiences of transgender people in the labor force.
The study, published in the Berkeley Electronic Press’ Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, found that when transgender individuals transitioned while already in the workforce, “newly minted women were punished, and newly minted men got a little bump-up in pay.” Men who became women earned 32% less; women who became men earned 1.5% more. Cloud’s piece lends some much-needed insight into an old story (the wage gap between men and women); establishes new ground on an as-yet-unreported one (the wage gap between transgender men and women); and avoids tired gender stereotypes in the process. Just so Luscombe doesn’t accuse me of being jealous of her confidence: While Luscombe does score high on style points, her all-girls’-schoolyard analysis could take some pointers from other parts of the magazine.